Pinch pleats, or French pleats as they’re sometimes called, are a classy way to dress the header of a drapery or valance. In this post, I’d like to share with you ideas for this particular style. First, I’ll show you some custom valance styles using pinch pleats. Scroll down if you’re interested in draperies as they will also be covered.
Not all valances need to hang from a rod pocket. If you’d like a fancy way to hang valances, then consider a pinch pleat. Take a look at some stylish valances that were created using this popular pleat style.
There’s plenty of luxury in this master bedroom. It also means that almost everything in this room is opulent. With the heavy wood paneling and furniture, a window needed to compete somehow without making the room busy.
A spa and gold patterned fabric was chosen for the valance. Each of the French pleats was finished with a button. The straight bottom hem was adorned with heavy tassel fringe, so the valance doesn’t look too simple. Usually, pinch pleats have metal hooks in the back that allow a window treatment to be installed on drapery rings.
Not so in this case. The pinch pleats on the valance were decorative only, while the valance was installed on a wooden board that hides behind it.
Here’s another idea with a board-mounted valance with pinch pleats. This valance was also installed in a master bedroom. Even though the fabric is a solid-colored taupe, it gives off a silky sheen that introduces a rich gold under the lights.
Unlike in the previous example, this style of valance only used three pinch pleats on each side, while the center section was left flat.
The softly arching shape of the valance was recreated on the wide balcony door as well.
The pleats on this valance are also decorative only since it was also installed as a board-mount. The striped fabric by itself is neutral and otherwise a safe choice. However, a deep indigo blue was introduced to the trim to add a pop of color. Notice how the twist cord trim was looped around each of the pleats as a custom detail.
Not all pinch pleated valances are board-mounted. In fact, most window treatments with pinch pleats are installed on a drapery pole using rings. It’s common to pair a wooden drapery pole with a 1 3/8-inch diameter with matching 2-inch drapery rings, as was done in this custom example.
Here, we see a vibrantly colored valance with six pinch pleats on a narrow bathroom window. This is a custom valance from our workroom.
Fabrics, of course, can be mixed and matched when it comes to creating custom valances. In this example, we see the same pinch pleat valance style that was used to dress the bathroom window above. Only this time, a playful paisley in pink and green was accentuated by a wide band of linen in a vibrant green color.
Pinch pleats often go hand-in-hand with luscious draperies. It’s a popular choice. Not only do pinch pleats add a much-needed detail to an otherwise plain panel of fabric, but they are also practical.
Rather than tugging away aimlessly at a tall drapery with a rod pocket, a pinch pleat allows a drapery to be pulled effortlessly.
Let’s face it, using a lot of fabric and sewing it into a rectangular shape can be boring, but that’s exactly what a drapery is. Unless a fun fabric is chosen, or another focal element is added elsewhere in the room, draperies can be quite uninspiring. Adding a pleat to a drapery is a great way to spruce it up a bit.
With this white fabric with a subtle texture, the pinch pleats added just enough detail to make the window interesting.
Take this living room, for example. The patio door was left alone to keep the beautiful view to the deck. The side windows, however, needed to block out some of the sun. Here, each of the single windows was dressed by a double wide drapery that was pulled to the side. Each drapery is replete with pinch pleats that add some sophistication to the room.
Not only that, but pleated draperies expose the carved wood drapery pole, which wouldn’t have been possible if rod pocket draperies were chosen instead.
Pinch-pleated draperies are a popular choice for formal dining rooms. Here, a taffeta silk fabric with wide stripes in powder blue and light green was chosen. Silks add a crispness to draperies, allowing them to drape beautiful while playing with the natural light that comes through the window.
Notice also how a similar fabric was used to upholster the traditional Chippendale chairs.
Here’s another view. Did I mention I love the silver-brushed curtain hardware and the blue trim that were added to the leading edge of each drapery?
Gold and spa is another popular color choice for draperies in dining rooms. In this formal space, an oversized scroll pattern was chosen to frame a double wide window.
At first glance, it may appear that these pinch pleated draperies were installed on a traverse rod. After all, the drapery rings aren’t visible.
Actually, the draperies were installed on drapery rings, but the rings chosen were smaller to match the thing curtain rod. The fabric effectively hides the rings behind it.
Here is another example using smaller rings to hang pinch pleated draperies. A sunny plaid fabric was chosen deliberately for a modern home office. The office was designed in a monochromatic color scheme, with white, gray, and black stripes. The draperies provided just enough color to brighten up the space.
Yellow is a great choice for drapery fabrics. When this color is chosen, the yellow color is amplified as sunlight hits the fabric, essentially filling the room with warmth and cheerfulness. Read this post if you’d like more window treatment ideas for your living room.
Silk draperies are a sign of luxury. In this master bathroom, they were used to create the space around a freestanding tub cozier. Since the draperies were installed on the bottom window of double-stacked windows, they were effectively used as cafe-curtains that just so happen to continue to the floor. Check out more window treatment ideas around luxurious bath tubs.
In the next few examples, we’ll take a look at some pinch pleat draperies that have been accessorized with unique details.
The longer a drapery gets, the more detail it needs to break up the monotony of a heavy fabric that seems to go on forever. A simple way to break up the heaviness of a single fabric is to add a valance to the top of a drapery. A straight valance is the most commonly used style. It may or may not be made using the same fabric as the drapery.
In this case, the fabric for the valance was a bit brighter. Tassel fringe in ivory was added to the bottom hem of the valance to draw the eye up and visually separate the valance from the dark drapery below.
Here’s the same idea. Although, the aqua blue and light golden brown color palette was kept more consistent in this example.
Single swags are also commonly attached to the top of a pinch pleat drapery to add some formality to this type of window treatment. Silk fabric in an antique gold is a fool-proof fabric choice, as is seen in this formal dining room.
The same swag and drapery combo, up close. This window treatment was continued on in the living room of the same home. This style of valance on a custom drapery is called the bustle swag.
Buttons are also commonly added to the base of a pinch pleat. It gives the drapery a feminine touch with a French sophistication. In this example, a silk fabric in gray and light gold stripes was used to create a pair of pinch pleat draperies that boldly puddles on the floor. Color-coordinated tassel fringe was added to the leading edge of each drapery.
Button detail, up close. Notice the sheer curtains used as a layer below that also have pinch pleats. I especially love the wooden drapery pole that has been carved out to include the stylish bow detail.
A similar example of using buttons with pinch pleat draperies. This dining room receives a lot of light and also appears to need privacy since it’s so close to the street. Woven shades were added under the draperies to solve this problem.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to pinch pleat drapes and valances and I hope that I have convinced you of that in today’s post. Pinch pleats are sophisticated on their own, and any window treatment with pinch pleats needs only a few details here and there to make it stand out and look luxurious.