|Valances give a soft
finish to a window treatment and, depending on the choice of headings and trims
used, are suitable for all types of room. A valance is a gathered or pleated
pelmet which is hung from the front edge of the pelmet board. It conceals the
track and curtain heading.
If there is dead wall space above the
window, the pelmet board can be placed above the window frame to make the
window appear taller and therefore more elegant. This will also allow more
light into the room.
Arched-shaped valances look attractive on tall
windows. As the deepest part of the valance falls over the curtain stack-back
area, there should be no extra loss of light. For wide windows such as patio
windows, the lower edge of the valance can be serpentined. This has the effect
of softening the horizontal line of the window and adds extra interest to the
Valances offer a splendid opportunity to use the hand-sewn
headings that do not draw back and so are often considered unsuitable for
curtains. Gathered and smocked headings give a light pretty look, while French-
and goblet-pleated headings give a smart tailored appearance.
of the pleats can be trimmed with knotted rope or button tufts. The design of
the heading and the hem of the valance can be further defined with narrow
contrast binding which is most effective, especially on arched and serpentined
hem lines. An alternative treatment for the hem is a fringe. Bullion fringe
will add visual weight to the hem line, while a block fringe has a lighter
appearance and a fan edging creates a soft, subtle finish.
detailing is an opportunity to use a plain fabric for the window treatment and
to incorporate the colours within the room in the fringe.
For a design
variation, sew gathered or box-pleated valances onto a flat yoke.
an elegant finish, valances can be hung from curved or scallop-shaped pelmet
boards which give the curtain treatment an interesting three-dimensional look.
The proportions of a valance are vital to the
success of the design. In a room with a low ceiling the finished length of a
valance should be 1/6 th of the curtain length. However, in a room with a high
ceiling, the finished length of a valance should be 1/5 th of the curtain
length. A valance that is too short will look unbalanced in relation to the
size of the window.
|For an arched or
serpentined valance, the shortest point should be no less than 1/6th of the
curtain length. For tall windows the shortest point can be up to 1/6th of the
For a soft serpentined shape, the difference between the
longest and shortest points can be 10-15cm (4-6in). For a dramatic arched
valance, the sides can be twice the length of the centre point.
box-pleated and gathered valances which are attached to flat yokes at the top,
the yokes should be 1/4 to 1/3 of the total finished length of the valance.
The pelmet board from which the curtains and
valance is hung, is cut from planed timber 19-22mm (1in) thick. It should be
either painted or covered in lining or curtain fabric.
If possible the
pelmet boards should be placed up to the coving or cornice in order to heighten
the window treatment and to avoid an unattractive gap between the top of the
valance and the coving.
Check that the proposed depth of the valance
will cover the soffit or architrave at the top of the window and adjust the
height of the pelmet board down if necessary.
Pelmet boards are usually
13-15cm (5-6in) wide with the track set 5-8cm (2-3m) back from the front edge
of the board to allow the curtains free movement behind the valance. Pelmet
boards can be up to 25cm (10in) wide in order to enable the curtains to clear
radiators, for example, but if they are any wider they will look heavy and
The pelmet board is secured to the wall using angle
brackets, just like a shelf. For pelmet boards over 170cm (67in) in length, a
centre bracket is required. This will prevent the wood from bowing and support
the weight of the curtains and the valance.
The curtain track is then
fitted to the underside of the pelmet board. If necessary use plastic or wood
spacers between track and board to create a gap for angle brackets to be
There are two methods of attaching valances to a
pelmet board. Netting staples (into which the valance hooks can be placed) can
be fixed every 10cm (4in) along the front edge of the board. Alternatively the
teasel hook side of a strip of Velcro can be attached to the front edge of the
board with a staple gun, and the opposite side of the Velcro strip can he sewn
onto the valance heading. (Some heading tapes have a brushed surface that will
adhere directly onto the teasel side of the Velcro). This method ensures that
the valance is taut against the front edge of board to give a clean finish.
A curved or scallop-shaped pelmet board is a simple and effective way
of enhancing the design of a valance, as on pages 102-5. Also see
serpentine-shaped pelmet boards, pages 123-4. These pelmet boards can be cut
from either planed timber or medium density fibreboard. The depth of the curve
should be proportionate to the height of the window, for example, 25-30cm
(10-12in) deep for an average window and up to 35cm (14in) deep for tall
windows. As the pelmet board is quite deep in the centre it is a useful device
to enable full length curtains to he hung in front of a deep radiator.