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Living room Valances Ideas & Tips


Living rooms are where families spend pretty much all of their ‘we time’ – and it’s also where we host our guests, chatting our hearts out on the latest news and life updates. So, we tend to dress our living rooms with extra love, hoping to relay our taste vividly and create an ambiance that is warm and inviting. And designing the living room window treatments with some pizzazz is an inevitable step towards that goal. So, if you’re looking for smart living room valance ideas as part of this exciting project, have your heart’s fill with this blog. 

Order custom valances from Spiffy Spools online to spice up your decor right from your home. With over 3000 fabrics and a dozen styles, you can design valances easily to suit your specific style and preferences.


Living Room Valances – Your Style Statement 


Living room Valance ideas


Valances are pure decor accessories meant to contribute aesthetically to the space. As stationary window coverings that dress the top fourth of the window, valances provide a surface to bring in the play of colors and shapes. Also, being made of fabric, they lend an organic touch that helps immensely to soften the space.

Valances can be used to coordinate all the varied window treatments in the house with a single golden thread. In an open-plan living room where windows of various zones have been dressed in different treatments, valances made of the same fabric can foster cohesiveness. Your living room will appear better coordinated with the kitchen and dining area with this trick.

Valances testify to how far you can go to decorate your home and how seriously invested you are in its details. Although from a broader perspective, valances fall into a maximalist approach to design, they may fulfill a minimalist’s mandate too, especially when used as standalone window dressing. 

All the above said though, just because valances often have a pure decor intention, it doesn’t mean they are limited to that role. Sometimes, they help you cover up the architectural flaws of your windows or walls. And when placed strategically and designed wisely, they can virtually elongate the space. If these design prospects of valances excite you, dive in to find out how to decorate your living room with suitably designed valances!


Identify your Design Preference

The first and immediate step to take when shopping for living room valances is to define their role in your window decor. Do you intend to use your valances as decorative toppings to other window dressings or to stand alone making a statement on their own? This decision highly hinges on your design preferences within the maximalist-minimalist spectrum.




Blue Patterned Valance


Since living rooms don’t need a strict privacy guard, some would prefer to leave their windows undressed. Minimalists do this intentionally to avoid introducing elements that don’t ultimately fulfill a function. But if you’re not such a puritan of a minimalist, and feel that leaving your windows bare may give the impression that they were sadly forgotten, you can dress the living room windows with valances. 

Besides, valances don’t take a fortune like other window treatments, so they are a perfect solution for those who have financial constraints, even if temporary. You can still reserve the option to add functional window dressings below the valances if you wish to later.

When using valances as standalone treatments, you just need to ensure that they match or complement the current palette and decor style of the living space. And since valances occupy very little optical space, you may design them in bold colors and patterns and they’ll not overpower the scheme.




Valance with Curtains in Living Room


The second option is to use valances as overtreatments on curtains, shades or blinds. Here they take on a more maximalist role. They complement the bottom layer by concealing its hardware and topping it with a decorative element. Let’s see how these combinations can be worked out.

Curtains and valances: Curtains and drapes have had the longest partnership with valances and are the most maximalist in appeal. They make the room feel dressy and opulent with fabric ripples and decorative elements. The key to achieving good looks when layering curtains with valances is in getting the right mix of colors, patterns, and heading styles. For top tips and ideas from our drapery stylists, read our blog post on how to layer curtains with valances

Roman shades and valances: If you’re looking for a sleeker treatment, fabric roman shades for living rooms that dress the window from frame to frame are ideal. Valances make up for their minimalistic structure and complement them beautifully with their fabric finish. Again, the key to getting this combination to work well is in choosing the right style of valances that complements the palette and style of the shades. 

Blinds and valances: Industrial blinds and shades are a more modern window solution as compared to curtains and roman shades. The downside to this treatment is that its ability to host color and pattern is nowhere near the first two fabric alternatives. Hence, when combining valances with industrially produced blinds/shades, their main function would be to compensate for the blinds’ oversimple, rigorously function-limited presence with an aesthetically rich and hyggelig element. Valances add a textile element into the mix and make up for the second layer’s austerity with its own softness, texture, and color. 

Regardless of which combination of layering you undertake when using valances as an overtreatment, you just need to make sure they sync with the second layer as much as with the overall decor of the space. If not, they will come across as an afterthought that interrupts the existing flow instead of an elevated designer-style addition.




Define the Nature of your Living Space


Pole Mounted Valance in Casual Living Room


A big chunk of your design decisions for the living room will depend on the purpose designated to it. Will you use your living room only for entertaining guests and hosting your annual Christmas party? Or, will you use it as the major hangout space on a day-to-day basis for your family? Simply put, is it a formal living room or a casual living room? Or, does your living room don both hats with equal ease? Many decisions you make regarding the palette, fabric, and style of the valance will depend on this aspect. 

If it’s a formal living room, a tailored, board-mounted valance is more apt because of its crisp details and staunch structure. Dress it up in neutral colors, plush fabrics like velvet or silk, and elevating patterns or rich textures for a high-end appeal. 

A casual living room, on the other hand, may look more comfortable and cozy with pole-mounted pleated or gathered valances in fabrics like cottons or linens. 

No matter which fabric you choose, the structure of the valance is made crisper only if it is lined. Hence, Spiffy Spools’ valances come with privacy lining by default with the exception of sheer fabrics. And you may want to factor in this aspect when considering how your windows look from the other side. If your valances drop below the window trim, note that they’ll appear white on their rear side.




Sync with Decor Style




Another aspect that will have a loud and clear influence on your living room valance choice is your overall decor style. Whether you’re following a particular style or a mix of various styles, it is important that your living room valance is on the same page as the rest of the decor elements.

If your decor style leans towards the traditional maximalist style, go for swags or valances with curvy shapes, rich traditional patterns, and color-heavy palettes. Intricacy is the bottom line.

Whereas, if modern minimalism is what mostly defines your personal aesthetic vision, go for valances featuring flat surfaces with minimal pleating, flat bottoms, minimal details, textured fabrics, and solid neutral hues.

Also, within this overarching aspect, comes another design decision regarding the hallmark traits of your design style. So for example, if your home is designed in the farmhouse style, linen valances feel right for the space while velvet and silk are out of the question. Similarly, a gingham valance seems like a member of the fold in a country-styled home but a foreigner in a contemporary-styled living room.


Strike a Balance Between Plains & Patterns


Patterned Valance in Living Rooms


Not just your decor style, but also other design elements of the living room will have a say in the fabric choice. One such aspect that needs keen consideration is the balance between solids and patterns. 

No matter how much you love one over the other, it’s the harmonious blend of both that can make your living space feel warm, inviting, and thoughtfully designed. Solids interspersed with a moderate amount of well-coordinated patterns can elevate your living room to a whole new level.

So, if your living room is looking monotone and sterile because of too many solid-colored surfaces, a small punch of patterns can save the day, and valances provide the perfect opportunity for that. You can count on their small optical space so that the patterns won’t overwhelm the eye. But, for the same reason, be careful with the layout and the scale of the motifs when you make the fabric choice. If the motifs are too large or too sparse for the surface they’ll cover, they’ll be cut off abruptly. 

If your living room decor has taken the opposite direction of being pattern-heavy, you may want to offset its busy look with a solid-colored valance. Especially, if your window is on a wall-papered backdrop, you don’t want the valance to vie with it. Let the valance echo its accent hues to underscore the elegance of both the wallpaper and the valance.

Another factor worth consideration is the visual impact of solids and patterns. Solids generally lay demure and self-effacing, except if they are bold, saturated, and high-contrast. Patterns, on the other hand, are quick to call attention, no matter what palette they feature. 

Patterned valances can visually elongate the space as they make the eye gravitate upward. If your living room has low ceilings, small windows, or scanty space, pick a pattern that will draw attention effortlessly.  

But if you’re on the fence regarding patterns, try to bring in textures. They are not as compelling as patterns but still do much better than smooth polished surfaces. They also make your living room feel more comfortable and soothing.

If you’ve chosen solid-colored fabrics, don’t be disappointed yet. By placing the valance above the window and choosing a compelling tone, you can create the illusion of a taller window and draw the eye upward.

Once you’ve decided whether you should go for solid, pattern, or texture, you can decide on the fabric selection. 

If you want an ultra-formal appeal, go for the squishy velvet which looks luxe and classy. Or, go for dazzling silk without any fear of sun damage because the valances are going to be well out of reach of the sun’s glaring rays. 

The casual living room, on the other hand, looks for cotton, linen, or their blends, to complete its warm homey vibe. You may want to avoid the loose-woven linen, though, as it is too casual for a space that’s meant to entertain guests.

Once you’ve picked the right fabric, decide on a style of valance that will make the most of it and highlight its essence. If you have chosen a solid or textured fabric, go for styles that have stylish folds or pleats or an eye-catching structure like a Pole Mounted Inverted Box Pleat Valance or Board Mounted Pinch Pleat Scalloped Valance. These traits will help add an element of visual interest and let the valance speak for itself over and above the fabric.

Whereas, if you’ve selected a patterned fabric, go for styles that give it a flat surface for a distortionless presentation. Pole Mounted Flat Panel Valances and Board Mounted Scalloped Valances are good examples. Here, the style of the valance supports the visually compelling characteristic of the fabric.


Don’t Miss the Little Details


Valances with Trims


Since valances are all about walking that extra mile, they deserve an extra mile in their design too. While a valance is complete in itself with its fabric, a touch of accessorizing is always welcome. So, don’t miss out on adding trims to your living room valance and making its custom-made trait even more evident.

Valances garnished tastefully with trimmings like tassels and fringes are ideal for a formal living room. The dressed-up looks of the window will sync well with its state-of-the-art furniture and luxe chandelier.

Casual living rooms can air their easygoing vibe with pompoms or ribbon-trimmed valances. Go for multi-colored trims to add fun to the whimsy, if you like to add a kaleidoscopic twist to the design without going too far with it.

The trims also help to highlight the shape of the valances and are especially helpful if the fabric is not an attention-seeker by itself. If you have curtains or roman shades beneath, make sure that they either don the same trims or echo the colors of the trims so that the valance syncs with them beautifully. 

You can also add the same trimmings to your upholstered chairs, tufted coffee tables, side tablecloths, and so on. This not only creates a sense of continuity in the space but also relays the amount of forethought that went into the design process. Neither a run-of-the-mill design nor an eleventh-hour arrangement could have achieved that well-put-together look.

Another detail that you can work into the space with careful planning is the coordination of various fabric accessories. Order throw pillows or get your cushions upholstered with the same fabric to give off the designer look you’re so keen to achieve.


Ensure an Up-to-Date Touch


Valance in Living Rooms


While valances are back in fashion, they have shed their 1960s overplay in their latest version. So, when you design them, keep all the variables in mind but be picky and stingy at incorporating them. The four elements that can make the valance especially catchy are the pattern, style, trims, and hardware. Make sure that if you go heavy with one or two of these, you tone down the rest.

So, for example, if you’ve chosen a bold damask or floral pattern, go for simple construction styles with flat frontage. Or, if you choose a style that features gorgeous pleats and swirls, go for a simpler fabric that is either solid-colored or has a continuous layout of diminutive motifs.

Similarly, if you’ve finalized a patterned fabric, then avoid adding trims. Or, if you’ll hang the valances on medallion hardware, then go for neutral or muted tones that can help highlight those jewels.

Taking all the elements to a full-on dressy look can make your valances look dated. Having too much going on with such a delicate piece can also make it a spoilsport for the rest of the design. But, drawing on the high-low principle, you can easily create a modern valance for your living room that adds a classic detail to the space in a fresh way. 


Be Accurate with Measurements


Patterned Valance


Finally, when you’ve got all the visual aspects of the valance designed as per your ideas, it’s time to decide its exact dimensions. 

The length of the valance is partly determined by where you will position it on the window/wall. You may have decided to mount your valance a few inches above the window sill to make your window look taller. Or perhaps to place it directly above the frame to ensure more coverage. 

Taking into account the point of installation, the minimum drop of the valance should be 1/4th plus 1 inch of the total height measured from the point of installation of the valance to the window sill. 

For example, if the total length from the top of your valance to the window sill is 48 inches, then ideally the length of your valance should be (¼ of 48 + 1) inches, which is 13 inches. 

And then depending on your personal preferences, you can design it an inch or two longer or shorter than this starting length. 

If you’ve chosen a valance style with a scalloped or swaging bottom, make sure you are measuring the length of the deepest point of the drop. This will ensure that your valances do not end up being shorter than the required length. 

If there are curtains underneath, avoid lengthening or shortening the valances so much that they start looking disproportionate in conjunction with the length of the drapes.

As regards the width, the finished width of various styles of valances will be different. For example, you’d need to factor in extra width for a grommet top valance to allow the fabric to gather into nice pleats, whereas styles such pinch pleated valances or any of our board mounted valances do not need any such consideration. 

To be able to specify the correct width based on style chosen, we recommend following the detailed measurement guidance offered on our valance shopping pages.  

But regardless of the style chosen, valances should always be a few inches wider than the window. With pole-mounted valances, factor in the additional space required for the finials. If you’re hanging curtains underneath, make sure that the valance will be wide enough to accommodate their stacking room on both sides. Or if you have blinds or shades underneath, account for the space occupied by their headrail.


Order Custom Valances from Spiffy Spools


Custom Window Treatments from Spiffy Spools


Whether you intend to zhuzh up your living space with an exquisite decor accessory or to add a decorative topping to current window treatments, valances fit the bill. We hope that this blog has enlightened you sufficiently to design your living room valances with confidence. Browse our fabric collections and blogs on bedroom valances, bathroom valances, and kitchen valances for more inspiration and enlightenment. And shop your favorite living room custom valances today from Spiffy Spools!


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