Long gone are the days of shirred, polyester valances that just cheapen your home and make it look old and dated. Nowadays, window valances are modern, tailored, and on par with the rest of the design in a room.

So let’s take a look at some modern valance ideas and what’s really possible with this particular style of window treatment.


Tailored Valances Over Woven Wood Shades

Woven wood shades (like bamboo shades) are popular in window fashions, but did you know that a modern valance can become the crown that finishes off the overall look?

Most people assume that a valance blocks a window, but that’s because it isn’t hung high enough. By hanging a valance at the proper height, it creates the illusion of a taller ceiling and frames the window beautifully.

So, go ahead –

Let your (outside-mounted) valance flirt with the ceiling line, while the shade underneath takes care of the need for privacy.

Also make sure that the valance is a snug, tailored fit. A few inches of extra width goes a long way with a window valance, there’s no need for a valance to go beyond the width it really needs.

The style pictured here is our Emily tab top valance, by the way.


Valances Layered Under Custom Draperies

Window treatment trends are all about finding new and unique ways to layer fabrics. Valance styles that are hung under a pair of drapes are bound to stay trendy for long simply because of the unique way that they’re layered as the overall window covering.


Pinch pleated linen drapes in ivory are hung over a striped London valance with red beaded trim.


This rod pocket valance seems to hide under a flat panel drapery that’s swept off to one side. This window was part of two corner windows, by the way. The drapes were hung as mirror images to each other.


Faux Flat Roman Shades with Grosgrain Trim

When you think of valances, you probably don’t think about them looking anything like this.

That’s because this valance is a faux shade, or simply put, a valance that’s made to look like a flat Roman shade. These valances are great on a budget, yet the difference between faux shades and Roman shades visually is barely noticeable.

These faux shades are flat, so they’re a great opportunity to center and display an oversized, modern fabric pattern.

Grosgrain ribbon is also popular as an extra accent. Here, the valance was trimmed with a dark gray grosgrain to create a contrast,. The grosgrain also coordinated well with the gray scrolls in the face fabric.


Another example of a faux shade. This one used an off-white check pattern and was finished off with tan grosgrain ribbon. The idea was to recreate a modern farmhouse window. You can find more faux shades like this in our shop.


Inside-Mounted Valances

As you can probably tell from the faux shades above, inside-mounted window treatments are trendy now. That’s because the trimwork around windows is becoming more and more common in homes. After all, who wouldn’t love beautifully trimmed windows with their clean, white lines?

But that doesn’t mean that valances can’t be used. There are two ways to go about this:

  • hang outside-mounted valances higher up on the window, closer to the ceiling (which is the way they’re supposed to be hung anyway), or
  • treat each window section separately with an inside-mounted valance for each.


Inside-mounted London valance in blue stripes on a small kitchen window.


Flat, Shaped Valances

Next, consider flat valance styles. As I mentioned, flat valances are a great opportunity to display an oversized fabric pattern. This gorgeous bird print would’ve gotten lost if we had used it for an excessively gathered swag treatment.

So, we used it to create our Carolina valance instead.


Valances with Beaded Trim

Scalloped Valance Custom

Flat, scalloped valances usually are decorated with acrylic bead trim at the bottom hem. This puts a greater focus on the intricately sewn details at the bottom of the valance, and what better way to draw attention to a window than to have crystal beads danging from fabric?



Red Beaded Trim Valance

A double-layered, double-lined linen toile valance with 3-inch beaded trim in red.


Valances with Inverted Box Pleats

Spa Blue Valance in Bathroom

Instead of haphazardly bunching up fabric and hoping for the best, modern valance require a tailored, deliberate look. The aim is to create clean lines and keep fabric sections flat.

This is when a dated balloon valance can all of a sudden become a modern balloon valance with deep inverted box pleats, as shown in the bathroom corner windows above.


Every detail counts, and the balloon valance wouldn’t be tailored if it wasn’t finished off with at least a half pleat on the sides (as  shown in the gold dupioni silk valance here).


You’ve seen the London valance before. Here it is again, in another white kitchen. This time, a masculine black and gold plaid was used for contrast. It was much needed, everything else in the kitchen was snow white.



Dictionary of Curtain Words

Inverted box pleats can be used to create board-mounted, flat valances. The inserts for the pleats are usually made with a contrasting fabric.


Valances That Follow Fabric Design Trends

Hopefully I’ve shown you some inspiring ideas for modern valances. Part of your decision will be to choose a tailored, modern style. You’ve seen that modern valance patterns lean more towards flat sections and less towards gathering.

The other part of your decision will be the fabric.

So let’s talk a bit about current fabric trends.


Don’t be afraid to mix patterns and textures. Find embroidered floral cotton or silk fabrics, then pair them with solid linens or solid slubbed cottons. 



Ikats are still popular and it looks like they aren’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future. If anything, ikat patterns are becoming bigger and more colorful every year.


Colorful Cuff Top Valance

Oversized floral patterns are also in now. Think spa, aqua, sky blue basecloths with bold red and green flowers printed on them.


Geometric patterns have always been and will continue to be modern. Here, we’ve also seen a shift towards bold colors.

Like the valances that were featured in this post? Check them out in our custom department.

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