A window with a ruffled, plaid valance.

Window Valances

Originally contributed by Jeff Butler • last updated 2/18/2021

If you’ve ever been out shopping for curtains or drapes for your windows, you’ve probably come across the term window valance. There are many different variations and designs when it comes to window valances, but many people consider them to be a thing of the past.


The term window valance refers to one or more pieces of fabric used to cover the top portion of a window. The design and style of the fabric may range from very basic to very sophisticated and complex. The fabric is typically hung from the wall or ceiling by a curtain rod or curtain wire. DIY window valances are quite popular, with many window valance ideas and plans available online. Window valances should not be confused with cornices, as cornices are made from cornice board (similar to chipboard), whereas valances are made from different fabrics.

Are Window Valances Outdated?

Upon first thought, the term window valance might bring up images of your grandma’s flowery kitchen curtains. However, modern window valances come in many styles and designs:

  • If you’re looking for something a little more unique, try using some imported fabrics. Korean, Japanese, and Chinese paper fabrics are a great way to create a chic worldly vibe.
  • Floral and stripe patterns may seem dated, but modern spins on the old standards brings them into the 21st century. Nowadays, it’s all about bold colors with statement designs by trendy urban artists.