If your home has wide windows, don’t leave them bare. There are quite a few options available when it comes to window treatments. Finding valances for wide windows is quite simple, actually.
What’s Considered a Wide Window?
The idea of standard window widths is a myth, so we like to look at windows as single, double, triple, and everything in between. For most homeowners, a wide window is typically two single windows put together, spanning about 70 inches or more.
Some people also consider windows that are about 50, 52 or 54 inches across to be wide, as these somehow always seem just a bit too wide to fit the standard store-bought valances.
What Are the Best Valances for Wide Windows?
There is no single answer here since there are so many options out there. Just know that basically any valance you see on a single window can be adapted for a wide window as well. But how exactly can this be done?
Multiple Gathered Valances
If you’re going the storebought route and have a low budget to work with, then simply using a few gathered valances and gathering them on a curtain rod in multiples might work for your window. These valances are the most basic form of valance available.
A gathered valance above a kitchen sink.
Even though the picture above shows a single gathered valance on a single width window, you could just as easily put up two or three of these valances on a much wider window.
Wondering how much these valances are supposed to gather?
It depends on the fabric. Many store-bought valances are made with thin, flimsy fabrics. Real home decor fabrics, on the other hand, are typically 54 inches on a roll. So when shopping, look for valances that are roughly 50 inches wide (when laid flat). While a 50-inch valance isn’t a guarantee that the manufacturer actually used a home decor fabric instead of the thin, flimsy kind, it’s still a good sign.
Now back to the topic of how much these valances are supposed to be gathered. Notice how the black and white valance above was only 96 inches wide but was able to fit a 40-inch window. That’s because it used a medium-weight home decor fabric and sturdy lining in the back.
If the valance is made using a home decor fabric and good lining, you can use the following table as a resource to help you shop. It’s based on a 2.0x to 2.5x gather multiple and assumes that each valance is 50 inches wide. Of course, you could apply the math to any valance size.
|Number of Valances
|Total Width of Valances
|18″ to 23″
|50″ flat 20″ to 25″ gathered
|38″ to 48″
|100″ flat 40″ to 50″ gathered
|58″ to 73″
|150″ flat 60″ to 75″ gathered
|78″ to 98″
|200″ flat 80″ to 100″ gathered
You may have a bit more leniency as far as the window width is concerned, but it’s a good reference point. If your window width is in between two sizes, the trick is to use a continental rod with a return. In this case, four valances could still work on a window that’s 75 inches wide. You can read more about continental rods and return measurements in this post.
If the valance isn’t made with a home decor fabric and isn’t lined, a multiple of 2.0x to 2.5x won’t be enough to gather it. You may be disappointed to find that even if you buy 5 of these valances and even if put together they’re 250 inches wide, they will barely be able to gather sufficiently to fit a 70-inch window.
Be careful with those.
They may seem like a good deal at first, but it may take quite a few of them to cover your wide window. Before I move on to other valance styles, I want to mention the length. You may see flat valances like these sold as 15 inches long. We don’t recommend valances this short in our workroom unless absolutely necessary. Ideally, you’ll want those valances to be about 17 to 20 inches long so that you can install them well above the window. That way, the bottom hem barely covers the top of your window frame.
Since home decor fabrics are manufactured about 54 inches wide, flat valances aren’t necessarily the best option for wide valances. We get around this issue by breaking up the valance into sections and adding a few extra sections in between.
This flat swag valance in red was over 90 inches wide, so it was impossible to sew it from a continuous piece of fabric without introducing a seam. We used a trumpet in the center and wrapped it around the white drapery pole. Take a look at our arched trumpet valance below. It’s another great example of adding trumpets on wide valances. The client’s window was 76 inches wide. The window valance was 79 inches wide and 23 inches long.
But sometimes the same kind of window can have a different need, like the one below.
Here, we had a 70-inch window and the valance was 96 inches wide. But why would the 76-inch window have a 79-inch valance and the 70-inch window have 96-inch valance? It all comes to what the window needs. A room that gets plenty of light may need just a valance that’s a few inches wider than the window.
On the other hand, a room that gets very little natural light needs to keep as much of it. By using draperies together with a valance, the illusion of a much wider window can be created, without blocking the much-needed natural light.
Custom Valances For Wide Windows
If you choose the option of having a valance custom-made for a wide window, the options are endless. Take a look at some of these examples below for inspiration.
A pinch-pleated burlap valance with a checkered header as an added decorations. The bedroom had low ceilings, so the valance had to be slightly shorter than usual.
For a formal dining room window treatment, a classic swag valance with its signature cascades on each side is a great choice. For the best fit, make sure to ask for the valance to be mounted on a board.
The style can also be adapted to be a bit more modern, using flat swags and taking out the cascades. When speaking with your workroom, make sure to ask for a Kingston valance with flat swags if you like this style. Ask for it to be board-mounted. Speaking of board-mounted valances, they aren’t limited to factory-made curtain rods or hardware. Since the workroom cuts the wood for the board as well, your valance can be made to work on virtually any window.
Board-mounted balloon valance on a wide bay window above a kitchen sink.
Board-mounted swags in blue were made for a bay window in a formal dining room.
Board-mounted valances can be made for corner windows like this one, too.
Don’t just dress your windows with valances. This 70-inch sliding glass door was dressed with our Bellamy valance. Even though the entire door was 70 inches wide, the valance was 106 inches wide. We did this to make the door appear wider and to allow more light into the room.
Valances for Extra Wide Windows
If you have extra windows and are finding it difficult to find a valance that’s wide enough or to stay on budget, then you’ll need to look at your window differently. Look at your window as having multiple window sections. It isn’t unusual for a 70-inch window to be made of two single window sections, or for a 108-inch window to be made of three single window sections.
When you look at your window as individual sections, you can then consider two or three smaller valances instead of one extra wide window. These valances then mounted as an inside mount.
Inside mounted valances are installed as a board-mount, or simply by using tension curtain rods if the valance has a rod pocket. Take a look at the valance examples below and think about how you could use multiple valances for an extra wide window.
A faux shade valance in brown and blue, installed as an inside mount.
Relaxed Roman balloon valance.