Gold valances and swags are typically chosen for traditional rooms. It’s common to see them in staple areas of the home like the living room, den, formal dining, or master suite.
But at the same time, it can be difficult to find the right valance. Most commonly, these window treatments are seen in the form of elaborate swags. Usually a generous amount of fabric is used by the custom workroom to create volume and deep pleating on each swag. Another way to make these window treatments luxurious is to use elaborate decorations such as tassel fringe or banding.
In this post, I’d like to show you some of the options that are available when it comes to selecting your next window valance in a gold color.
Balloon Valances in Gold
The words “gold” and “balloon valance” tend to go together. That’s because both are seen in traditional window treatments and both imply the idea of luxury. Gold by itself is a rich color, while a balloon valance uses a lot of fabric, which translates into a heavy, luxurious valance. The following two examples embody how these two ideas come together.
In this window treatment, three separate fabrics were used that were color-matched to a subtle light gold color. You can tell that the balloon valance was made in a solid gold silk, while the swag valance and drapery were made using a scroll and diamond check fabric, respectively. Because these three fabrics have the same color, it’s easy for each of the three window treatments to get lost in all the heavy fabric that’s on the window.
As a solution, dark gold banding was used on the swag and jabots to be able to tell the window treatments apart. Fringe on the swag and balloon valance also helps in this regard. FYI: A swag is the half-circled section of the valance that falls in the center. A jabot is the long piece on each side that falls down in zig-zag fashion.
Very similar to the example above, here too we see an ultra-gathered balloon valance that was layered under a pair of draperies and swags. This window treatment also dressed a double French door like the one we saw above. The difference here mainly lies in the fabrics. Here, the swag and draperies used a traditional damask fabric in old gold, while the balloon valance used a silk fabric in solid dark gold.
Tassel fringe was used on each of the swags and jabots, as well as the bottom hem of the balloon valance to outline each piece of the window treatments. And finally, each drapery was pulled off to the side using a large tassel tieback.
This kitchen boasts a triple window over its sink. It can be a great feature, but in a traditional country kitchen with almond cabinets like this one, leaving the window bare could be a harsh design aspect. If you add to that the sharp lines of granite and backsplash, it becomes imperative to find a way to soften up the space and make it cozy.
That’s why this triple window was a great opportunity. Here, three balloon valances in a warm gold color were used to break up the sharp lines seen around it by the heavy wood and stone materials. The valance was deliberately gathered, allowing for more fabric to be used. This made the softening effect of the fabric to the room even more pronounced.
In this large balloon valance, a dark gold faux silk was used with a pattern of embroidery in red and orange. Although the pattern itself is a bit more modern, the style of the traditional balloon valance still remains. TIP: To create a lot of volume on a balloon valance and give it a lustrous sheen, select silk or faux silk fabrics and make sure to have it lined and interlined.
Here’s a similar example of a gathered balloon valance. It was installed on a double wide window in a craftsman-style family room. The fabric used was also a faux silk in dark gold, but the embroidery on this fabric featured small-scale scrolls.
Did you know there’s a way to modernize a balloon valance? Instead of gathering it at the rod pocket, inverted box pleats can be added. By doing this, the valance still retains its signature amount of fabric. Yet, by losing the ruffled look at the top, the rod pocket is now sleek and clean.
In this example, two bathroom windows above a bathtub were dressed using a balloon valance in an amber gold fabric. To add interest, buttons were sewn over the inverted pleats.
Another example of the inverted box pleat valance. A dupioni silk fabric in a light gold color was used. Notice how the crunchy texture of the silk allows each pouf to project out from the wall, giving the valance its needed volume and depth.
London Valances in Gold
Not all valances need to be in a dark gold. Here, a London valance was created using a silk fabric in a wide ivory and sandy gold stripe. I can’t stress enough – a balloon or London valance requires a lot of fabric. And this valance is a prime example of what that is supposed to look like.
A simple London valance was created using an embroidered faux silk in a vibrant gold. This valance was hung on a rod pocket using a continental rod.
Gold is coming back in color. That’s why some of the custom valances you see in this post surprisingly look modernized. It’s not uncommon to see brass finishes combined with an updated Hollywood glam look in a room. That’s where I envision this valance. It’s an eclectic enigma. On one hand, its gold tassels allow it to fit into a traditional dining room, but on the other hand, its inverted box pleats and lattice design fabric give it a sleek, modern look.
Obviously, where you choose to put a valance like this is entirely up to you. Just know that a gold-colored valance can fit many spaces nowadays.
Up close: the London valance with pleats.
Traditional Swags in Gold
Let’s be honest. This is the go-to style that homeowners like the most when they think of a room that’s traditionally gold in color. You just can’t beat a rich swag that’s combined with cascading jabots. And this window is a perfect example of that style. A traditional dining room needed a way to dress its extra wide window without obstructing the view. Luckily, the window also had transoms, making it easy to achieve this feat.
A rich swag and jabot valance was combined with wide draperies here. The designer kept it simple by using a muted gold color for the solid fabric. To outline each of the custom swags and jabots, a dark brown tassel fringe was used.
When it comes to finding a solution for unusually shaped windows, custom window treatments always have a solution. For this odd window that appears to be a dormer window that was built into a sloping roof, a custom swag was created. Double wide draperies were pulled back to each side of the window using tassel tiebacks. Besides the obvious “wow” factor here being the specific custom fit, this window treatment goes beyond just dressing a window.
Typically, guest bedrooms like these are limited in space because of the low ceilings. Their dormer windows are one of the few remaining opportunities to add height to a room that desperately needs it. So, to use an inside-mounted shade or a valance that sits on the window frame would lower the ceiling even further. I always tell my clients to install a window treatment as high as they can.
But for rooms like this, I encourage this even more insistently.
You may wonder what a standard swag valance is supposed to look like. After some of the examples here, hopefully, you have noticed that there are variations of this popular style. But if there were a way to show you a textbook picture, it would be this one. A swag valance on a standard (about 34- to 40-inch) window typically has one pleated swag that runs along the entire width.
It also has long cascading jabots to frame each side of the window. Typically, if you go custom you’ll notice that your swag valance will be board-mounted. That’s because the swags look better when mounted on a board. This gives them a nice waterfall effect on top rather than having to look at a noticeable line of thread from the rod pocket.
Not all swags are created equal, and so not all swags require jabots. In this board-mounted swag in dark gold, the emphasis is on small bells that protrude out in between each swag. Opting for a bell on each side of the window rather than a jabot is a way to simplify this style of window treatment. In this case, the drapery would take over the task of framing the window on each side instead of the jabots.
Check out more ideas for living room window treatments.
Other Unique Valances in Gold
I can’t talk about traditional window treatments in gold without mentioning a fabric window cornice. A cornice is a uniquely shaped valance that’s first created using a wooden box template, then covered in a thick layer of batting that’s then covered by your chosen home decor fabric. I know that there are many shaped valances that are (incorrectly) marketed as cornices.
This is not it.
A true fabric cornice is heavy because of its wooden composition. You can, however, mimic this cornice effect by using a continental rod (but that’s another separate blog post to write). Now that we got that out of our way, I wanted to give you an example of a window cornice in gold. Here, a single cornice was made to order for a large bay window in a master bedroom. It was kept short, but the long acrylic crystal bead trim sufficiently compensated for some of the lost length in the valance.
Notice the whimsical scalloped shape of the bottom hem. The bottom shape of a fabric cornice is a great way to get creative. That’s the beauty of a fabric cornice.
I’ve probably accustomed you to thinking that all swags are pleated. Not so. Swags can also be flat sections, as evident in this example. Here, we still see the traditional look of a window valance by using a gold colored fabric and the bells that are typically placed in between swags. However, this window treatment has been modernized a bit.
First, the swags are flattened out rather than being pleated or gathered.
Second, the bottom hem of the valance and leading edge of the draperies were adorned using wide banding in brown rather than elaborate tassel fringe. By making these two choices, the window treatment is simplified, giving it a clean, sleek look.
So, we can conclude that introducing flat sections to a valance will modernize it. Here, the valance was kept simple by having a generally flat design. Two simple bells were added to give it a subtle depth. A single wide drapery frames each side of the window. TIP: This window is a typical, standard sized window of about 40 inches. Yet, it appears much wider. Two things were done here to create this illusion.
First, the valance was installed closer to the ceiling with its bottom hem barely covering the top of the window.
Second, the draperies were installed further out from the edge of the window. By using draperies of just a single width (about 50 inches), a window that’s only 40 inches wide can be made into the illusion of a window that’s as wide as 60 to 70 inches.
I wanted to share this custom valance as an alternative to all the traditional swags you’ve seen in this post so far. Here, a master bedroom needed some heavy design aspect to offset the dark wood paneling that was used on the lower part of the walls. The custom valances in a gold and spa blue color were the perfect way to lighten up this dark wood part of the room.
The style used was a straight pinch pleat valance, which by itself is too much of a lightweight with all the overpowering furniture and wood details in the room. To give it a bit of weight, long tassel fringe was used on the bottom hem, while each of the pinch pleats was adorned using buttons.
In case you’re wondering what a pinch pleat is, this valance might be a better visual explanation. In this example, three pinch pleats were used on each side of the valance while the middle section was left flat.
The style was custom-designed to work on both single windows and oversized patio doors that lead to a beautiful balcony.
Of course, it’s a great idea to mix and match patterns and textures. Not every window treatment needs to be made in the same fabric. And not all window treatments lead to a view to a street or backyard. In this example, a dining room needed to dress its interior French door and its sidelights. The window valance made used a dark gold fabric that mimicked a grass cloth stripe.
It was left deliberately short to be able to open and close the French door of this busy area of the home. The draperies used a rich paisley fabric in dark gold and brown. This turned out to be a great complementary fabric to the one used in the window valance. Now you’ve seen plenty of examples of how gold can be used in a window valance.
Hopefully, this post will inspire you to add this beautiful color to your home soon as well.