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Curtain Valance

This is short curtain at the top of a window, usually a deep frill of fabric framing the window and hiding the curtain track or rod and usually has a gathered or pleated heading.

It can be in the same fabric or contrasting, it can be embellished using trimmings, braid, ribbon and tassels.

They are usually hung on a double rod or track which holds the valance and the curtain, or triple if you also require undercurtains.

These allow for the correct clearances between the curtains when they are installed.

Some types are: Stagecoach, balloon shaped, box pleated, rod pocket, board mounted, shirred, kick pleated, French pleated and as many more as you can think of. A few are profiled below.

It is used in formal dining and living areas, and for bedrooms.

It is often confused with a pelmet. This is a fixed panel that covers the window track or rod system.

Curtain Valance with a French Pleated Heading

Types of Valance

Austrian Valance

This is the same as an Austrian Shade except much shorter. It has vertical rows of shirring and horizontal gathers which produce soft scallops at the bottom of the curtain valance. It can be trimmed with a fringe for added decoration. This style of valance suits a light, soft fabric and doesn’t require lining.

Balloon Valance

This is also the same as a Balloon Shade but much shorter. It has a pleated top and the fabric then puffs out below that, providing the appearance of bellowing balloons. They are often use to enhance a simple curtain rod.
Balloon valance with an inverted pleat heading.

Balloon valance with an inverted pleat heading.

French Pleated Valance

These are made with a french pleat heading tape, this pulls the fabric in to form a triple pleat, and are shorter than curtains. Example – The photograph top right.

About the Author – Lee Brown

Lee Brown is the co founder of, she has worked in the Interior Design Industry for over 23 years, specializing in commercial, hospitality, high end architectural homes and retail design. Over the past 13 years Lee and Chris Brown have been collating their wealth of design knowledge to provide free interior decorating education to the world. Make sure you register for your free ecourse today. Free Curtain Design eCourse