What are Window Valances?
Window valances are also called window top treatments. They are a simple, understated way to add a dab of sophistication to your windows.
Valances can be used alone but are often hung over windows where curtains and drapes have been installed to better frame the windows. They are often installed over kitchen sinks or in other areas where floor space may be limited or blocked; they can be used to hide architectural flaws and windows placed at different heights; when using blinds, shades, and shutters, valances are often used to soften the windows or to tie in the fabrics of corresponding furniture such as couches and recliners.
Valances can be manufactured with any type of fabric, but most are made of jacquard, silk, faux silk, poly/cotton, linen, satin, velvet and polyester. Many are lined with an extra piece of fabric sewn on the back to prevent the solar radiation from damaging the fabric.
There are 2 main forms of Window Valances: Swags and Tails, and Window Pelmets.
Swags and Tails
Swags and Tails curtains consist of 2 parts: the swag, which is the "loop" part at the top (that hangs down in a "U" shape) while the "tail" is the part that hangs at the side of the windows.
Swags and Tails are generally used over another set of curtains in order to create a luxurious and elegant look, and look best when they are in proportion with the window. As a general guide, the swags should be around one-sixth the length of the window, while the tails should be between one-third and two-thirds the length of the curtains.
Swags & Tails are the ultimate style indulgence. The graceful drape and gather of Swags & Tails creates the ultimate opulent look, giving your whole room an ambiance of prestige and elegance.
They have the added benefit of reducing the light coming in and concealing the Curtain & Blind headings & hardware underneath. They can also help further insulate your windows by adding a barrier at the top to prevent air flow, stopping the warm air which has risen to the top of the room from going over and transferring through the window.
Window Pelmets and Valance
A pelmet (also called a "cornice board") is a framework placed above a window, used to conceal curtain fixtures. These can be used decoratively (to hide the curtain rod) and help insulate the window by preventing convection currents. It is similar in appearance to a valance, which performs the same function but is made of fabric. A pelmet can be made of plywood, and may be painted, or fabric covered.