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story.lead_photo.caption A valance placed above a drapery makes a formal statement in this sitting area. (Design Recipes via TNS)

From formal to flat, casual to swag, valances come in all shapes and sizes. Valances you may ask, are they still in vogue? The answer is, did they really go out of style? Home décor covers a wide spectrum, and one’s personal style and taste certainly plays an important role. Window coverings in general, whether traditional drapery, shades, blinds and yes valances can make an appropriate statement depending on your home and personal style.

VALANCES: IN OR OUT?

Valances, for many, is a must in order to help finish a space. The so-called “icing on the cake.” Valances in most instances need to be custom made by a workroom or custom drapery maker in order to ensure a tailored look, custom to a home. The cost can be substantial depending on the level of custom fabric selected and the cost incurred to have the custom valance made. Cost will also vary depending on the width of the window and number of windows in which you wish to install valances. So, are valances in or out? The answer is yes and no. While many still enjoy a formal lifestyle, many have opted for more relaxed home décor. Valances tend to be mostly seen in more formal settings such as living room and dining areas or master bedrooms. Those looking for a more relaxed or casually decorated home may find valances too formal for their lifestyle.

In this living space, valances are used to add color and pattern. (Design Recipes via TNS)
In this living space, valances are used to add color and pattern. (Design Recipes via TNS)

THE POPULARITY OF VALANCES

Decades ago, formal dining rooms and living rooms exclusively reserved for formal gatherings or the “occasional” guest gathering were common. The rooms that were rarely touched or used and would sit styled at the ready for an impromptu visitor where tea could be hosted or that formal dinner party. Do people still entertain this way? The answer is certainly. To what extent could depend on the area of the country, the size of the house, and someone’s personal inclination to entertain. Formal rooms lend themselves to formal décor and this is where the valance can take center stage.

DECORATIVE OR FUNCTIONAL?

While there are various types and styles of valance, most are decorative as opposed to functional. Most valances are used in conjunction with traditional drapery in which they are used in order to add an enhanced sense of “window dressing” to a window.

STYLES OF VALANCES

There are various valance styles. Common styles include Roman shade, Tie-Up, Lined, Balloon and Flat.

Valance swags are paired with traditional blinds. (Design Recipes via TNS)
Valance swags are paired with traditional blinds. (Design Recipes via TNS)

HOW TO CHOOSE A VALANCE STYLE?

Have a tall window? Want to ensure that your valance enhances as opposed to overwhelms? Some tips include:

  • ◼️ Choose a style that enhances the space.
  • ◼️ Choose a style that does not obstruct a view.
  • ◼️ Consider selecting a fabric that can add a color or pattern into a space.

WHERE TO HANG VALANCES?

Nearly any space can be enhanced by a valance. Some common areas where valances are used include living and dining rooms as well as master bedrooms.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York, is a television host and interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York, Boston and Washington.

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