What Are Valances?
If we were to go by the textbook understanding of what valances are, we can take inspiration from the definition of valance from Merriam-Webster which gives the meaning of a valance as “a short drapery or wood or metal frame used as a decorative heading to conceal the top of curtains and fixtures.”
This definition, however, only scratches at the surface the significance of valances in today’s notion of style and fashion with respect to curtains and draperies. The definition almost gives the impression that valances are similar to pelmets based on their functionality and design. However, they are so much more than just that. Valances come with different fabric, designs, styles, and advantages. Aside from not only hiding the hardware above the curtains, they have transitioned to becoming fashionable accessories that complement the look and style of the room.
How Many Types Of Valances Exist?
Valances have been subject to innovation and evolution over time to such an extent that it is impossible to provide a finite number of styles of valances. There are more than a hundred different styles of valances in the market. This makes it both difficult and yet, more rewarding to find the right type of valance for a home or room. Scouring through all these styles can be cumbersome and time consuming.
In order to make it easier, it might be beneficial to narrow it down to the most popular styles and the main styles of valances. If we were to divide the different styles of valances broadly, it would constitute of the rod mounted and the board mounted styles. Under these categories, we can find pleats, shirring, swags etc. Under these sub types, there are various designs and fabric to choose from.
Once the choice is made between rod mounted and board mounted styles, the next task is to choose between the sub-types and then to choose between the various designs, fabric and colours is the final step. This process of choosing by elimination can be absolutely essential in choosing the right type of valance for your rooms and home.
What Are Some Of The Popular Types Of Valance Styles?
- Rod-Mounted Valances – In simple terms, rod-mounted valances are short drapes that are suspended from a curtain rod over the window. The valance can be hung in one of two ways. It can either be hung from the window frame or the wall. It solely depends on where the rod is decided to be mounted. Once the rod is mounted, the next step is to either hang with hooks or swag the drapes onto the rods. Rod-mounted valances are the conventional and traditional approach to treating windows with valances.
- The best part of rod-mounted valances is that they create the image of higher ceiling that it actually is. This mostly happens when the rod is mounted onto the wall. Given that they are suspended from the rod which is high and close to the ceiling. Moreover, a sense of formality is developed with these types of valances.
- Board-Mounted Valances – In direct contrast to valances that are mounted by curtain rods, board-mounted valances involve the attachment of fabric to a board and is installed over the window. It gives a sense of class and polished looks to rooms. You might notice these types of valances being widely used in hotels and restaurants to give that classy look. It is similar to board-mounted valances in the sense that swags and shirring work on them as well. Additionally, pleats and jabots work well with board-mounted valances. A lined and hemmed valance attaches to the board with staples.
It is also crucial to remember that the drapes must not be so heavy as to cause the board to weaken, hang due to the overburdening weight. There is also a chance that the board can fall off.
- Swag valances – Swag valances are comprised of drapes that form an arc. The arc extends to the entire width of the window with the fabric running over it. Using a rod-mounted valance style with swag valances make it easier to install as compared to board style. Moreover, it might cover up parts of the board. If the intention is to expose the board this might not be the right style for you. Swag valances provide a royal look that spark conversations during parties and gatherings.
- Ascot valances – These valances are by far one of the most unique window treatments today. The valances are fabric that is designed in a triangular fashion that has beaded fringes or tassels. A valance can have multiple ascot points. The number of ascot points is dictated by the width of the window.
- Scalloped valances – The bottom edges of these valances display a series of semicircles that lie flatly over the window. They can be board-mounted or rod-mounted based on your preference. They have a lot of flair and usually come in silk or satin. They are considered to be extremely decorative valances that can add a lot of colour to a room.
Does The Weight Of The Fabric Matter?
What is very crucial to valances is the weight of the fabric. Since the fabric is usually fashioned into drapes, they impose a decent amount of bulk on top of a rod or a board. If the fabric gets too bulky for the road or board, it can cause the valance to sag, get lopsided and even fall. It is important to know what style can handle how much weight. For instance, it is recommended that when implementing the balloon style, lighter fabric such as cotton or silk can be used. Swags and jabots are much more useful for heavier fabric. This is because of the weight distribution that the arc-like shape of swag valances. Pleats on the other hand, work best with fabrics that are not light but are also not on the heavier side. Lastly, shirring works well with lighter fabric.
Valances are investments that can go far and wide in enhancing the look of a home. It just might be the polished look that you are looking for to set your home apart from others. Rod-mounted valances are the easiest to use and install. They are also relatively less expensive. If you aren’t sure about using valances, it might be useful to experiment with a rod-mounted valance.