Curtain Valances - Styles and Uses
Curtain valances cover the top of the curtains and hide unsightly tracks or fixtures. Curtain pelmets are a stiff, fixed cover which runs out from the wall and across the top of the curtains while valances are single short panels which attach to the curtain pole or track in the same way as the main drapes. They go across the top of the window for decoration and consist of one single piece of material or panel which stays in place whether the main curtains are open or closed. Usually curtains and valances are bought together as a matching set but it can be worth experimenting contrasting materials, colors and styles to create a unique look.
There are different styles of curtain valances. Panel valances are plain, short panels which attach to the curtain pole. Panels can be gathered or shirred for decoration. Shirred panels are where the material is gathered in parallel rows. The bottom hem doesn't have to be straight; it can either be longer in the middle or shorter to make the bottom curved. One alternative to curtain valances or pelmets is swag. This is where a panel is draped across the curtain rod so it dips in the middle and the ends are pleated or gathered so they fall in folds down the sides. Box valances go around the top area of the window - ie comes out from the wall, across the top of the window and back towards the wall the other side to create a box shape.
There is a type of curtain track with a clip on valance track which comes out in front of the main track. The valance attaches to the valance track and hides the track holding the curtain on the wall. Another method of attaching valances is to use medallion holdbacks or curtain tiebacks which screw onto the wall and two curtain rods can be fitted to them, one for the valance and one for the main curtain.