You'll Love These Smart, Chic Ideas for Window Valances

Looking for window valance ideas? From fabric swags to wooden cornice boxes, we’ve got you (and your windows) covered.

DIY Cornice Box

DIY Cornice Box

Merriam-Webster defines window valances as “a short piece of cloth or a wooden or metal frame that is placed across the top of a window for decoration.” These small-but-mighty window treatments are a great way to add style and dimension to your decor.

Window valance ideas can run the gamut from Roman-shade style toppers to window scarves, and also include more architectural options like cornices, which are wooden or metal boxes, sometimes covered with fabric. They can be used alone for a simple look in a room where privacy isn’t an issue, or with other window treatments like blinds, sheers or curtains.

What’s Your Style?

While they’re typically thought of as a traditional window treatment, window valances can also have a modern or contemporary vibe. For instance, a modern valance could be a clean-lined fabric panel done in a Scandinavian-style graphic floral or a glossy, bright yellow wooden cornice, unadorned except for the sunny color.

Traditional valances are typically more ornate, with an abundance of fabric in swags or gathers. Cornices have arched or scalloped edges and are typically covered with fabric and trim. Think English Country or Louis X – ornate, often floral or tapestry, and deeply colored.

Country valances are similar to traditional, and can be made from floral, check or striped fabric. A wooden cornice might have a rail at the top for dishware display.

Combine With Curtains … or Not

Valances and curtains are often used together to create a more formal look. Lighter drapes appear more finished with the addition of a window scarf draped over the rod. Heavier drapes can handle the visual weight of a cornice. While the valance can match the drapes, often they’re done in a contrasting fabric for more visual interest. Think stripes topping floral fabric or, in a little boy’s room, a Star Wars valance over simple curtains.

When using a valance alone, there are many ways to dress it up. Ruching fabric along a wide rod looks feminine without being overdone. Hanging patterned fabric in scallops from decorative hooks works well in kitchens, bathrooms and kids’ rooms. A woven bamboo topper is simple and textural.

Easy DIY and No-Sew Valances

While it may sound intimidating to make a valance or cornice box, there are many tutorials and no-sew options out there. This lets you customize your look and, if you go for less expensive fabric, can also save you money. Here are a couple of options:

For a quick, easy no-sew topper, drape a window scarf over a curtain rod. Use a premade window scarf, or buy scarves or fabric you like and use that. When using fabric, be sure to “hem” the ends with fabric adhesive for a finished look.

Valances – whether fabric, wood or even metal – give a room a polished look. You might use them together with curtains or by themselves, but when you’re considering window treatment options, be sure to keep these classic finishes in mind.

Valance How-To 01:49

A DIY Kits how-to on making a decorative window valance.
Keep Reading

Next Up

7 Window Treatment Trends and Styles

Find new ideas on how to dress up windows for all budgets and styles.

11+ Window Treatment Ideas For Spring

A new season is the perfect time to dress up your windows with clever upgrades of curtains, shades, blinds and more. 

5 Arched Window Treatments That Are Sure to Please

Browse beautiful arch window treatments, from curtains to shades.

No-Sew Window Treatments

Thrift stores, flea markets, white sales and remnant bins are great places to look for ideas for inexpensive window treatments that don't require any sewing. Here are a few ideas.

Ideas for Beautiful and Affordable Window Treatments

If you’ve spent hours filling your “Window Treatment Ideas” board on Pinterest and you’re still not sure what you want, don’t worry. These simple tips will help you find the right window treatments for every room in the house. 

You'll Love These Ideas for Beautiful Outdoor Curtains

Dress up a porch or patio with outdoor curtains, shades or blinds – they look striking and keep the sun (and neighbors) out of view, too.

You'll Love These Easy Curtain and Blind Solutions for Bay Windows

Bay windows are one of the most beloved window types – until it’s time to find window treatments. We simplify the process.

DIY Backyard Fire Pit Ideas + All the Accessories You’ll Need

Give your backyard s'more love and add a cozy fire pit. 

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Discover Made + Remade

See the latest DIY projects, catch up on trends and meet more cool people who love to create.

Make It. Fix It. Learn It. Find It.