A decorative length of fabric attached to a frame to hide mechanisms and for decorative purposes. In interiors, valances are used in three main ways:

Window valance

A valance is usually a simply designed and executed pelmet. Not to be confused with drapery, which covers the more complex pelmets that are designed for reception rooms and grander windows. The valance fabric is usually fitted to a pelmet board above the window, which also holds the curtain fittings. However, in its simplest form, a perfectly good window valance can be made by simply draping a piece of fabric over a couple of hooks.

* As decorative features, and in principle, valances can be made of any complementary, matching, or contrasting textiles, of any length and with any amount of trimmings.

* For cottagey or at least cottage style windows valances should be simple – flat, gathered or softly draped with some opportunity for detail, but nothing excessive.For larger and more important bedroom windows the scale and opulence designed into the pelmet reflect, and be comfortable within, the overall furnishings style. Whilst simplicity is often best, valances at their most complex can require the greatest cutting and tailoring skills.

 Bed valance

A skirt that covers the base of the bed, the mattress, the frame or the divan. The bed valance can be made to reach the floor or to hang short, its intended purpose is to cover the bed’s sub frame, be it the structure of a metal frame or a divan, with design detail coming second.

* All divan bases need to be covered as they are extremely unattractive- where there are drawers valances need to be made so that the drawers can be accessed easily.

*  Full frame beds, with ends and side rails made of metal or wood, are often complete in themselves; however, if the workings do show, then a valance a few inches long or down to the floor makes the whole thing more attractive. Short or two-thirds length valances allow the floor beneath the bed to show and this can keep the room feeling more spacious than when floor length skirts are fitted.

* Of course if you want to store things like children’s toys, occasional beds or out of season clothes under a frame bed, a valance will cover it all very nicely.

* Bed valances can be made of heavy or light weight fabric, upholstered or loose, patterned or plain, full or flat, simple or elaborate – frilled, gathered, pleated, made to hang straight with corner pleats, in upholstered panels or may be no more elaborate than a sheet laid over the base.

Sofa and chair valance

Around the lower edge  to cover the legs or feet, either where these are  ugly or where the softness of a skirt adds something to the design,or re-balances the shape.


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