Window valances can be a beautiful addition to your home, but it’s easy to make a mistake with this window treatment if the wrong design choice is made. One of those is the choice of a fabric. In this post, we’ll talk about what kinds of color combination most of the clients and interior designers request at our workroom.

We’ll share what has worked through the years, and what hasn’t.


Don’t Match the Color of the Window Treatment to Your Wall

Many people like to play it safe. Beige wall, solid beige valance – check! You can certainly do it this way, but by getting too matchy with your wall color, your room can end up being bland and the window may not even stand out with its beautiful wooden frame and view to the outside.

For those of you who just can’t let go of the safety net known as the color beige, here are a few tips to help you overcome this fear. Many interior designers like to match the exact fabric pattern to a busy wallpaper, but they most often do that in less frequently used guest bedrooms or small powder rooms.

With wallpaper, a little goes a long way, so wallpapers are often reserved for less frequently used or smaller rooms. Take a look at the example below. Imagine just how much better this faux shade valance could’ve framed the window had it been made in another fabric.


Blue and White Window Treatments Bedroom Here’s another example of a similar fabric. Notice how the white in the valance fabric pops against this greige wall color.



Go Two Shades Lighter or Darker with the Fabric

If you go one shade lighter or darker than your wall color, you’ll create some depth. Emphasis on “some.”

But what we suggest is to go even one more shade further. Many people know that their window treatment will look richer and have more depth if they do this, but they tend to do just enough to play it safe. But did you know that your wall color won’t be the same everywhere? Depending on how natural and artificial light hit each wall in the room, your room in reality will look like it was painted with multiple DIFFERENT paint colors (even though you painted it from the same paint bucket).

So then when your window treatment is just a little bit lighter or just a little bit darker than the wall, no one will notice. Go back to the paint chip you used to paint your walls. Most of those have several colors, ranging from lighter to darker. Which of those colors did you use to paint your room?

Find it, skip the colors that are immediately touching it, and then take a look at what’s left on the paint chip. Go beyond that to neighboring paint chips you find at the store, too. All those colors are good contenders for the color of a valance.


Look For All the Colors in the Room, Then Throw In a Contrasting Color

Try this method – it helps most of my clients. It’s a simple three-step process. You’ll have to create a three-column spreadsheet for this.

First, look around the room and take inventory of all the colors in it. Don’t forget to take account of decorating or furniture pieces that are planned for your design, but not yet in the room.

Second, using the paint chip method from above, think about what the most similar colors are that will still be distinguishable enough from each other to create depth.

Third, once you have a rough idea of what the color palette in the room will be, introduce one contrast or accent color. This color has to be vibrant, but you’ll use it sparingly in a few places in the room. In this case, this would be one of the colors in your valances.

Paint manufacturers have to get creative with the colors since there are so many on the market. What you call those colors is irrelevant, as long as you know what they represent to you. Here’s a sample spreadsheet that looks like something I’d put together. Yours may look like this, or it may be entirely different.

Wall Paint Color Neighboring Color Possible Contrast/Accent Color
pale sage medium sage, light forest green maize, dark mandarin
medium chocolate brown dark stone, dark tan white, crimson

To give you a visual representation of how this process works, take a look at some fabric, fringe, and paint chip ideas we’ve put together in the past. We’ve done this using the same concept from above.




And here is how this method works out when used in a room.


The light vanilla walls were repeated in the fabric of the box pleat valance seen here, but notice how the fabric was much lighter than the wall (light yellow, almost white). The red in the valance was the accent color.


The natural stone backsplash was also the base background of the fabric used. But notice how the fabric print has colors that are slightly darker, but still within the context of the tan in the stone tile. Blue was selected as the accent color in the fabric and was drawn from the dark gray in some of the tiles in the backsplash.


A window in an all-white kitchen was covered by a faux shade valance. You don’t always have to have a contrasting color on the fabric, but notice how the fabric was visibly darker than the walls to create depth in the room.

Next, check out these ideas of valances for extra wide windows.

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