Jan 11, 2012

Valances and Pelmets: Contemporary solutions

Continuing on from yesterday's theme of Classical Window Treatments, and more specifically Swags & Tail designs, today's post aims to inspire you in the use of Valances and Pelmets within very contemporary design schemes.

Princely Lodgings in Edinburgh (1840)

Both options can be useful in unifying a wall of windows within a room such as in this example (above) with this beautiful gilded detail. These are sometimes found at flea markets such as Brimfield, or smaller ones across the country and have been used as wall art or headboards in more modern design schemes.

Valance: Soft horizontal treatment made entirely of fabric mounted at the top of the draperies. Serves primarily to disguise unsightly tracks, fittings, drapery headers, hardware and rods, etc while still creating a decorative tretament. These may be pleated, shirred, gathered or with flat panels and occaisional pleating..

Pelmet (or Cornice): Firm horizontal boxlike structure, where the lower edge may be shaped, and it is mounted on the wall at the top of the draperies/window. It too sheilds the hardware and they are quite often padded, upholstered or painted and can be trimmed with any number of pass. This option tends to require much less fabric.

Celerie Kemble

Celerie Kemble / Miles Redd

Whether very structured, with added trims and swags these fixed elements are absolutely suited to the use of geometric patterns that are so much part of our design schemes today.

Tobi Fairley - Southern Living December 2011

Celerie Kemble

Details Count!

The amount of detailing in this one example is incredible. Even the underlayer of the top valance is another patterned fabric. Just beautiful.

Pinned Image

In the softer examples, the fabric can be pleated, embellished with trims or monograms, or simply pulled straight across a window opening in order to create an interesting valance for your window treatment.

Jan Showers

Jay Jeffers/

J Bilhuber


K Hoppen

House & Home

Especially in very modern condominiums or in spaces where there are wall to wall windows, sometimes are only alternative to window dressing is to create a valance..

and why not try it solo, for a very sleek look!

J  Bilhuber / HB Designer Visions Showhouse

This choice of window treatment should be seen as an opputunity to introduce and element of color, pattern or design which you want to reinforce and accentuate in the design.

Be Bold, Be Brave..


Ohhh... 2 more days till we announce the big giveawy. Much more #curtainlove coming your way.

Credits: Pinterest , Curtain Design Directory


  1. Something about pelmets that I adore. Reminds me of growing up. All the formal rooms were finished off with pelmets that raised the ceiling and added an elegant edge. The biggest mistake I see is proportion in relationship to room. When you have low ceilings and a small gap between window and ceiling, pelmets create a dumpy factor.

  2. You have shown some great examples. Valances are my favorite thing to fabricate !

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