Made-to-Measure Window Valances, Swags & Scarfs

A cherry on top makes everything better, and when it comes to windows, valances and swags are often the ‘cherries’ that complete the picture. When done right, valances and swags can be just the detail that makes the design – the pièce de résistance of your window decor.

So whether you want to add to the opulence of your window treatments, spruce up a bare window, or bring in a bold pattern in moderation, our made-to-measure, custom valances will fit the bill. 

Crowning Windows with Custom Valances: A Balance of Form & Function

Valances made their debut in the Baroque period, a time of artistic exuberance and ornate architecture, and can rightfully be called the children of the golden era of all-out maximalism. Over the years, however, valances have evolved to learn the language of different decor styles - from chic minimal to rustic country - to seamlessly blend into any decor scene.

So, if you are looking for an excuse to infuse warmth in a stark room, splash colours in a space gone monochrome, or simply indulge in your love for bold patterns without going overboard – valances are your god-sent gift, no matter what your aesthetic. Since valances do not take up too much visual space, they allow you to add just the right bit of oomph to your decor – all while maintaining an air of refinement. 

But while you might be considering valances to be just ornamental additions to your windows, they - in fact - have a lot more to offer. Allow us to eulogise their multifaceted charm and the practical benefits that extend beyond mere aesthetics:

ELONGATE SHORT WINDOWS: If your windows are disproportionately short and visually shrinking your space, consider mounting valances a few inches above the window frame. Let the valance’s bottom hem just cover the top window trim, masking the true, short height of the window behind it, while creating the illusion of a longer window. 

PREVENT LIGHT LEAKS: Valances cover the top portion of the window frame, sealing any light leaks from the top. This is an added advantage if you use them in your bedroom where complete room darkening is desirable.

HIDE HARDWARE: Window treatments often come with various brackets, rods, and mechanisms that may not always be show-worthy. By installing valances as an overtreatment, you can effectively hide these fixtures, creating a cleaner and more streamlined appearance for your windows. 

MASK UNEVEN WINDOW HEIGHTS: Windows placed side by side but starting at different height levels is a faux pas one simply cannot ignore and hardly ever afford to correct. Trust window valances for an easy fix! Strategically mounting valances at the same height above the windows can effectively conceal uneven window height levels by creating a consistent visual line across the windows. This helps maintain the overall symmetry of the room, enhancing its visual harmony.

Mounting Options: Your Space, Your Choice

At The White Window, clients are offered a choice between two mounting options for valances - board-mounted and pole-mounted valances - allowing you the flexibility to choose a style that meets your preferences and existing decor. 

Board-mounted valances are more structured, rendering a tailored appeal. On the other hand, pole-mounted valances have an easy-going charm and are therefore more suitable for casual living spaces.

To help you decide the right fit for your space, let us get into the details of both styles:

Board Mounted Valances

Our board-mounted valances are mounted on 10cm deep headboards with velcro, offering a structured appearance suitable for decor styles that lean on a more tailored and formal aesthetic. They come ready to install - including the board and hardware - in the fabric of your choice. 

From elaborately pleated to minimal chic,  board-mounted valances come in a variety of styles that speak to various decor styles and settings. While our flat valance may better suit a contemporary-style home’s clean-lined decor, the Sheffield valance’s scallops and pleats speak to a traditional/transitional home’s indulgence in embellishments, and the free flow of our swag valance best relays the unabashed opulence of maximalist settings. 

Board-mounted valances can deliver varied aesthetic interests, but their architectural appeal finds more favour in formal and semi-formal spaces.  Here are the key details of our board-mounted valances:

EASY INSTALLATION & MAINTENANCE: Our board-mounted valances are attached to wooden headboards with velcro, making it easy to mount and dismount the valances with minimal effort. The ease of handling board-mounted valances also helps in maintenance/cleaning by facilitating effortless removal without the need for specialised tools or expertise.

STRUCTURED LOOK: The board base not only provides stability but also contributes to a highly structured appearance, a quality that makes our board-mounted valances particularly well-suited for formal spaces like office lounges, living rooms, or home offices, where a more polished and refined ambience is desired.

CONCEALED HARDWARE: If layered with curtains underneath, our board-mounted valances hide all drapery hardware, making them strong candidates for clients who prefer a clean look without visible metal/plastic fixtures. The overall effect contributes to the neat appearance of the window treatment.

Pole Mounted Valances

Pole-mounted custom valances, as suggested by their name, are mounted on poles – much like a traditional set of drapes. They are either stitched with a rod pocket, grommets or pinched headers on top to use with curtain rings and clips.  From relatively minimal styles like the flat panel valances to more sumptuous pleated styles like the inverted box pleat valances,  options abound catering to varied tastes and settings, though being more flowy and unstructured, they are better suited to informal rooms and settings. 

The hardware requirements for your valances depend on how you intend to hang them— whether as standalone window treatments or paired with curtains:

SINGLE POLE: When using valances as the standalone treatment in your window decor, or pairing them with roman shades or blinds, you will need single pole hardware.

DOUBLE POLE: If you are planning to use your custom pole-mounted valances as an ‘over-treatment’ with drapes, you will need a double-pole hardware set - with the front pole to mount the valance, and the second pole to accommodate your drapery as the back layer.

Much like the board-mounted style, pole-mounted valances have their own charm and benefits. They are a great addition to any casual space in the home and come in various styles - some with tailored pleats and others with dense ‘hand-gathered’ ruffles, some with straight bottom hems and others with scalloped edges, some with modern flair and others with rustic traditional beauty. Explore the potential of decorating your windows with pole-mounted valances as we lay out their key traits:

SHOW OFF THE SHOWY HARDWARE: As with curtains, so with pole-mounted valances, the hardware is a complementary accessory that works in conjunction with the valance. So you can flex another well-curated decorative element - show-worthy drapery poles with decorative finials. Their structure, colour and texture bring variety to the decor and are a discreet aesthetic opportunity. If you’d be content with bringing an artful finial into the picture, the rod pocket valances are ideal as they conceal the entire pole, leaving only the finials exposed. But, if you wish to double the charm of your space by bringing the patina of a gracefully ageing bronze drapery pole to the scene, for instance, consider a style like grommet top valance that exposes the pole at intervals. If however, you’d rather let your valance enjoy star status, and not let the hardware vie for attention, go for flat-profiled sleek finials that go easily unnoticed. Let the choice hinge on your preference to show off the pole and finials or conceal them. 

HONE IN ON THE CASUAL APPEAL: Some decor styles live and breathe in a casual laid-back flair, and pole-mounted valances bring in just the right appeal. So if you’re decorating a coastal retreat, country cottage, or loungey family room, allow pole-mounted valances to set the right mood.

POTENTIAL FOR INSIDE MOUNTING: Pole-mounted valances can be installed within the window’s recess, unlike board-mounted valances which can only be mounted outside the window. Given that valances are lightweight,  even a tension rod will suffice to hang a valance in the inside-mounted position. The only factor to be considered is that it will take away some space from the top of the window permanently. While this is not an ideal treatment for a small window, it is an efficient way to make an extremely long window look better proportioned to the room.

LIGHT-WELCOMING ALTERNATIVE TO DRAPERY: When drapery is not required in a room or does not fit with your aesthetic vision but the poles already installed can’t be left bare, the hardware can be used instead to mount valances, letting in more light than you would do with your drapes on.

How to Measure Valances

The measurement for valances is dictated by your personal preferences to some extent. How dramatic or minimalist your decor is, will also make a difference in your decision. However, beyond these subjective elements, our stylists are here with general thumb rules and simple formulas for measuring valances. Let’s walk through these:

Measuring Drop/ Height for Valances

THE 1/4th PLUS 3cm RULE:  The recommended drop (height) for valances is 1/4th plus 3cm of the total height from the installation point of the valances to the bottom window sill. Let us explain with an example - if the total height measured from the installation point of the valance to the bottom window sill is 60cm, then the ideal drop of your valance is (1/4th of 60 + 3cm) i.e. 18cm.

THE 1/6th RULE: When you are layering your valances with drapes, the drop length (vertical height) of the valances should be decided relative to the drop of your curtains.  For instance, if your curtains are 150cm long, the ideal drop for your valances will be (1/6th of 150cm) i.e. 25cm. 

MEASURING JABOTS: If ordering valances with jabots, some clients opt for dramatic jabots longer than the window itself, whilst others opt for jabots that sit a few centimetres longer than the swags. The two most common guidelines are for jabots to be either one-third of the full drapery or window length, or double the drop of swag, with room for adjustments based on how demure or dramatic you’d like your valance to be.

Before we move on to measuring widths, note that while these rules to decide the ‘drop’ act as a solid starting point, you’re allowed the flexibility and freedom to adjust the valance drop based on your personal preference.

Measuring Width for Valances

To order your custom valances from The White Window, you’d need to specify the ‘finished’ stitched width of your valance, and this can vary based on the style of valance you’ve chosen. 

But before we get into that nitty-gritty, we’d like to start with a simple recommendation that valances should ideally extend beyond the window frame by at least a few centimetres. This creates a more sumptuous appeal and also makes the window look larger. Further, if your valances are overtreatments for curtains or shades, factor in the width of your curtains/shades when deciding the width of the valances. This is because the headrail of the shade or the pole of the drapery, as the case may be, should ideally be concealed behind the valance. So, the valance should be wide enough to overlap the hardware of the window treatment beneath it. 

Now on to the measurement method based on the style of the valance:

FLAT-FRONTAGE & PINCH-PLEATED VALANCES: If you’ve chosen a valance such as the flat panel valance or scalloped valance that has a flat frontage without any pleats, or a style with pre-sewn pleats such as the inverted box pleat valance, the width measurement is simple. It’s the width of your window or drapery pole, plus a few centimetres for extra coverage. 

So, for example, if your window width (or the drapery pole length in case you’re mounting valances on top of your drapery) is 100cm, your valance’s width should be minimum 110cm, allowing the valance to extend 5cm on either side beyond the window trim/drapery pole. Based on personal preferences, many clients extend more than 5cm, though we do not recommend extending more than 15cm on either side.

HAND-GATHERED VALANCE: If you’ve chosen a style of pole-mounted valance wherein the fabric is ‘hand-gathered’ into pleats on the pole, such as the grommet top valance or rod pocket valance, its fullness levels have to be factored into the calculation. ‘Fullness’ refers to the extra width needed to gather and form the pleats.  More width translates to deeper or denser pleats and lower width likewise results in shallower or sparser pleats. We explain it in detail below:

Let’s say, your window is 90cms wide and so, the desired mounted width of the valance is 100cms. Your valance can be stitched with fabric twice as wide, that is, 200cms (100x2) to get dense pleats. Or, if you like your valance to don a more streamlined look, consider going down to 1.5 times the width of the valance, and order a valance of width 150cms (100x1.5). 

How to Style Valances

The White Window is all about perfection, and so are our clients. To help every draper and shopper make the best of our customization options, our stylists present you with tips and tricks learnt over years of experience in a two-minute read. Let’s get started:

SIZE MATTERS: CHOOSE SCALE OF PATTERNS WISELY - While valances allow you the opportunity to bring in bold patterns in a restrained manner, tread carefully while selecting the scale of the motifs. Large-scale patterns may get cut off at awkward lengths on the relatively smaller surface of the valances. Therefore, we advise considering the size of patterns carefully and ensuring the valance can accommodate the chosen pattern in a visually attractive manner. The pattern repeat information in our fabric descriptions can help you determine a pattern’s scale, and order accordingly.

PLEATED V/S FLAT: PICK A STYLE THAT COMPLEMENTS THE FABRIC -  The continuous surface of flat-frontage valances makes them well-suited for use with patterned fabrics. Since there are no pleats or ruffles, patterns get their space to truly shine on the plain continuous surface. In this style of valance, the fabric is meant to be the star.

Pleated styles of valances, on the other hand, are relatively better suited for plain fabrics. In lack of patterns, the contours of pleated and ruffled valances add an element of visual interest. In this type of valance, it is the structure of the valance that adds depth and dynamism to the space. The valance style is the hero here and the fabric acts as the perfect stage for its act.

Fabrics with minuscule patterns are versatile with both flat and pleated styles of valances. Whether the valance is flat or pleated will make little to no difference to small-scaled patterns whereas larger and scattered patterns can get visually distorted on pleated valances.

SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE: SYNC WITH HOME DECOR STYLE - Your valances should relay the decor style of your home with their motifs, palette, and material composition. For instance, if your home brims with modern decor elements, our board-mounted flat valance with a geometric pattern and a neutral palette can answer the call. In a country home, our pleated valances with petite florals and soft pastel palettes will be found befitting. Likewise, in traditional homes, board-mounted scalloped valances with damasks or swag valances in rich colours would win the deal. 

OBJET D’ART: EMBELLISH WITH TRIMS - Valances are themselves considered to be primarily decorative elements, and trimmings serve as the dainty details that help you make the most of this decorative opportunity.  And while we offer an extensive collection of ornate tassel trims found hanging on the swags and pleated valances of traditional homes, we go much beyond. Our collection features ribbon trims for embellishing plain fabrics in minimalist decor that could use a little something, just that bit of je ne sais quoi, without going over the top. Similarly, in a gender-neutral nursery, you can employ our pom pom trims to subtly relay the gender of your tiny one - blue for a boy and bright pink for a girl. For a teenager's room, explore the youthfulness that fringe-trimmed valances bring without compromising on maturity. It's the ideal recipe for their transitional age and living space that evolves with the individual. So many possibilities and over 200 trims - give your creativity free reign and wings!

HEROES SHINE: USE AS STANDALONE - Valances as standalone treatments are an excellent choice for rooms that do not prioritise privacy, and thrive in a light & bright ambience. Where bare windows can lack charm and warmth, valances bring in just the right amount of oomph without overwhelming a space. So, if ever you’re feeling like a room has gone too bland, or a window too stark,  start your decor journey with valances.

A HEAVEN-MADE MATCH: PAIR WITH CURTAINS - The timeless pairing of valances and drapes has endured for centuries, offering a classic and versatile window treatment. This layered combination allows for a harmonious juxtaposition of solids and patterns, contrasting hues, and diverse styles. Especially for curtains with simpler heading styles, a decorative valance can become the missing link that draws compliments and gasps from your guests.  Beyond the visual appeal, valances serve a practical purpose too. They conceal drapery hardware and prevent light leaks from the top, enhancing both the beauty and functionality of the window treatment. 

Dress Your Windows Right with The White Window Valances 

Valances can be the finishing touch that your window decor is missing. Whatever your language, we’ll be in sync and understand your needs. Our commitment to personalisation ensures that you have the creative freedom to tailor your valances to match your individual taste and vision. From classic to contemporary, our collection has something for decor enthusiasts of every style and time, allowing you to express your style with confidence.

With that, we welcome you to explore our custom valances and hop on a shopping journey where you travel closer to perfection with every click. Choose, customise, and checkout with a satisfied smile. Happy shopping!