Window valances are fabric hangings that cover the uppermost part of a window. This type of drapery can be used to complement a full-length curtain, camouflage an existing curtain rod, or add a special touch to ordinary blinds or shades. Valances come in a variety of styles, colors, and sizes. When selecting a valance for a specific room, it's important to consider how the room is decorated as well as what type of lighting the room receives. Adding a valance to a window can freshen up a room and give it a unique look.
Free-hanging valances hang loosely on the curtain rod to create a causal look. These types of valances include swags, scarves, and tailored designs. Swag valances are typically made of lightweight, flexible materials. The fabric is loosely hung over the middle of the curtain rod and looped back around the sides. The leftover material cascades down either side of the window. The ends of the fabric may only hang a couple inches down the window, or they may reach the floor. Scarf valances are similar to swags, but the fabric is sheer. Tailored valances are generally made of thick fabric and are hemmed at the bottom. These treatments may be hung in single or double layers, and they can be matched to already existing curtains.
Some valances are manufactured with structure in mind. These include balloon valances, ascots, scalloped, and pleated designs. A balloon valance has double layers of sturdy fabric with an opening that creates a pocket. Newspaper is stuffed into the pocket to provide fullness. Ascot valances are made of a stiff fabric as well. This valance has a triangular piece of fabric that hangs from the middle of the rod. Two more triangles are formed on either end, and these may be longer or shorter than the central triangle. This creates a classic look for any room. Scalloped and pleated valances are also classic designs that can be made from any well-structured fabric. A scalloped valance has a decorative hem, while a pleated style has ribbed designs throughout the entire valance.