Bay windows and bow windows can be dressed using valances, but you’ll have to be careful about how you go about it. This mostly has to do with how much space is in between each of the windows. Some windows will have enough space for almost any type of valance, while others will be limited. Before I talk about this, understand that valances can be outside-mounted or inside-mounted.

Inside Mount and Outside Mount Window Treatment

Now back to the idea of space between the windows – Depending on the space in between each window, you may find that your valance choices can be broken up into these 3 categories.

  • No space, or minimal space up to 2 inches in between the individual windows:
    • Treat all three windows as one window with a single outside-mounted valance.
    • Treat each window separately with inside-mounted valances.
  • Space of about 3 to 6 inches in between the individual windows:
    • Each window can be dressed individually with its own outside-mounted valance, but you’ll be limited to valances and hardware that won’t take up too much space. Consider simple flat valances or faux shades. If there isn’t enough room for curtain rod finials, consider elbow connectors for the middle window.
    • You can still treat each window separately with inside-mounted valances.
  • Space of about 7 inches in between the individual windows:
    • Each window can be dressed individually with its own outside-mounted valance. You’ll notice that once you have this much space in between the windows, some more elaborate valances with a 3- to 4-inch projection can now work in the space. You may need at least 10 inches of space between the windows for valances that project 5 inches away from the wall or more.
    • You can still treat each window separately with inside-mounted valances.

Figure out where your own bay or bow windows belong from these descriptions, then keep this in mind with the examples below.


Balloon Valances

Red Stripe Bay Window Kitchen Sink ValanceWhen a single balloon valance spans across the entire bay (or bow) window, it often has inverted box pleats. This is important – by dividing the valance into narrow pleated sections, the valance can flow seamlessly across angled walls.


Some balloon valances are left a bit longer to mimic balloon shades (they’re called balloon faux shade valances). This adds height to a room and provides a bit more privacy.


When the poufs on a balloon valance are left wider, they’re often finished off with tails on each side. This then becomes a tailed balloon valance. In the breakfast area seen here, a bay window was dressed using a light blue Chinoiserie toile fabric, with matching side drapes that were one-width-and-a-half wide (about 75 inches) per each drapery.


Board-Mounted Traditional Swags with Long Jabots

Traditional swag valances can be made as a single valance if there is very little space between each of the individual windows. These valances are usually board-mounted, although you can always ask the workroom to create a rod pocket for you.


The key to this valance is to add something in between each board section to make the valance continuous. This is usually a triangle-shaped center jabot or bell.


If there’s enough space in between the windows, consider individual board-mounted valances with single swags.


Single Swag ValanceHow much space you’ll need depends on the exact spacing between the walls and their angle to each other. While you have little control over how your home was constructed, you do have control over how much the board of the valance projects. Most board-mounted valances like this one usually EACH have a projection between 3 to 4 inches, so you’ll need to make sure there’s enough room for two valances to be placed beside each other. If you’d like to use draperies under the valances, keep in mind that the valance boards may have to project at minimum 5 inches from the wall to clear the drapes below.


Sometimes the center window can be wider than the rest (here, we see a French door with sidelights in lieu of a center window). Consider a double or triple swag section or a deeply pleated single swag like in the example seen here.


This valance board had to project about 6 inches from the wall to accommodate the matching draperies.

For more traditional balloon valances and swags like the ones above, you can check out our full selection of custom valances.


Modern Faux Shades

If you’d like something more modern and sleek than swags and balloon valances, consider a faux shade. This is a simply a stationary valance that’s made to look like a shade. The style here is a flat faux Roman shade.



Grosgrain ribbon in contrasting colors is a very popular detail added to flat faux shades. Check out more faux shades like this here and shop.


The faux shade can also use more fabric to create a hobbled valance.


Measure them just wide enough to cover the sides of each window (or patio door), but hang them high enough to create the illusion of height in the room.


Relaxed Roman Valances

Another variation of the Roman shade is the relaxed Roman with its signature “smiley face” bottom shape. This style can be made as a faux shade, too, It’s perfect for bay windows since it takes up so little space.


Relaxed Roman Shade Kitchen in Ivory StripeAnother example, with each valance covering each individual glass pane. Wondering how this valance is installed? It’s a board-mounted valance, where the board was screwed into the top part of the wood part inside the window frame.


Valances on Medallions

Medallion Swag Valance in RedBeyond board-mounted valances, another solution is to hang these window treatments on medallions (knobs). Although a single valance can span across the entire bay window, it can be difficult to match up the medallion placement at the exact point where the walls meet, unless you request a custom order.


Instead, look to dress window individually if there is some space in between…


…and then dress any adjacent patio doors with inside mounted shades or faux shades to complete the look.


Tab Top Valances

Tab top valances are great for bay windows and bow windows. Even if your measurements are off by an inch or two, tab top valances can be adjusted to make up for it. And if there’s not enough room for the curtain rods, consider connecting them using an elbow connector.


Adjustable Ring Top Valances

With ring top valances, you can use the ability to slide and adjust the valance to your advantage, just like you would with a tab top valance. The idea is the same – use elbow connectors if there’s not enough room for the finials.


Colorful Cuff Top ValanceThe cuff top valance style is great for bay windows since it’s broken up into smaller, repeating scallops. It may even work as a single valance that spans across the entire bay window.


Its tails on the side take up very little room and the wave-like shape makes the valance look great when viewed from the side.


Flat Valances (with Optional Side Drapes)

Flat valances are great for bay windows. It’s also a great opportunity to center a unique fabric pattern. They often have a unique shape at the bottom, which is usually arched or scalloped.


Bay Window Luxury Window Treatment RedThey can also be anchored by draperies on each side. The draperies may be hung over, under, or even next to the valance.


Another example showing how some flat valances will easily fit underneath draperies.

Next, check out these 39 valance ideas for more inspiration.


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