Choosing the right window treatments for your kitchen can completely transform the look and feel of the space. Kitchen window valances are an elegant and functional option that offer both style and practicality. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about selecting, designing, and installing kitchen valances.
What are Kitchen Window Valances?
Kitchen window valances are decorative fabric treatments that are placed above the window frame. Valances serve both aesthetic and functional purposes:
- They add visual interest, color, and softness to kitchen windows.
- They conceal hardware, curtain rods, and the tops of window treatments.
- They help filter light and provide privacy.
- Valances can make windows appear larger or more proportional to the room.
Valances come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, sizes, colors and patterns. The most popular kitchen valance ideas include gathered, pleated, swagged, cascading, and traditional straight valances.
Valances can be made from various fabrics like cotton, linen, polyester, or velvet. Common patterns include solids, prints, stripes, or checks. You can match or coordinate valances with lower window treatments like curtains or blinds.
Benefits of Adding Valances in the Kitchen
There are many benefits to using valances in your kitchen:
Valances add great visual appeal to any kitchen. They serve as a decorative focal point and can complement your overall kitchen decor. Valances come in endless styles so you can choose options that match your kitchen’s motif.
One of the main purposes of kitchen valances is to cleverly conceal unattractive window elements. Valances cover up curtain rods, brackets, and window shades or blinds. This gives your window area a cleaner, more polished look.
Kitchens require privacy, especially if they overlook a busy street. Valances offer an extra layer of light filtering and privacy. You can still have sunlight streaming in but with added coverage.
Kitchen window valances help control incoming sunlight. If you have issues with glare or excessive light, a valance can help block and diffuse the light. This creates a more comfortable environment.
Draw Attention to Windows
In small or awkwardly laid out kitchens, window valances can create the illusion of larger or taller windows. They draw the eye upwards, emphasizing the windows rather than compact walls or low ceilings.
Valances serve as a perfect finishing touch for dressed up windows. Once your window hardware, shades, and curtains are installed, a valance pulls the whole window treatment together in a complete, coordinated way.
Popular Styles of Kitchen Valances
Kitchen window valances come in a diverse range of styles. Consider the look you want for your kitchen as well as your window size and placement when selecting a valance style.
Gathered valances feature soft ripples of fabric that are gathered onto a rod or board. The gentle folds create a romantic, feminine look. Gathered valances work especially well for country cottage or shabby chic kitchen designs.
Gathered valance with delicate gathered fabric.
Pleated valances have neat rows of uniform pleats across the length of the fabric. The crisp folds create a structured, tailored look. Pleated valances pair nicely with curtains or elegantly complement minimalist contemporary kitchens.
Symmetrical pleated valance over the kitchen window.
Swag valances feature upside down u-shaped cascades of fabric on either side. The centered fabric swags have a soft, romantic feel. Swags work well in traditional kitchen designs and can make small windows look grander.
Beautiful swag valance accentuates this kitchen window.
Cascading valances feature asymmetrical folded fabric that gently flows downward. The fabric drapes down in irregular cascades for an organic, whimsical sensibility. Cascading swag valances are ideal for cottage kitchens.
Asymmetrical cascading valance for a casual feel.
Straight or Flat Valances
Straight valances have no gathers or pleats, simply featuring flat fabric in clean straight lines. Straight valances have a smooth, tailored look. They create a simple horizontal frame at the tops of windows.
Unfussy straight valance with crisp corner.
Tips for Measuring Kitchen Valances
Properly measuring your windows is crucial for well-fitting valances. Here are some top tips for measuring valances:
- Decide if you’ll mount the valance on the wall, ceiling, or window frame. This determines where you place the measuring tape.
- Measure the full width & length. Measure the exact window width from edge to edge. For length, measure from desired height above window to bottom edge.
- Account for hardware clearance. Leave a gap above your window hardware and frames so the valance can clear them. 2-3 inches is usually sufficient.
- Consider added fullness. Valances often look best with extra gathered or pleated fabric. Add 12-15% to measurements for fullness.
- Measure in multiple spots. Windows can be uneven, so measure width & length in at least 3 locations and use the largest measurements.
- Measure recess depth. If the window is set into a recess, measure the recess depth and account for sufficient overhang.
- Note ceiling height. If mounting a valance on the ceiling, measure the height from the window top to ceiling.
- Order slightly larger. It’s easier to hem long valances than to make them larger. Order an inch or two more than your measurements.
Accurately measuring will ensure your valances fit perfectly and suit your windows beautifully.
Fabrics and Materials for Kitchen Valances
Kitchen valances can be made from a variety of fabrics and materials. Consider the pros and cons of each when selecting:
Natural cotton is breathable, helps insulate, and has a casual, unfussy look. Drawbacks are it wrinkles easily and requires ironing.
Linen has an elegant, upscale look and absorbs humidity well. The downside is it wrinkles a lot. linen also has more visible weave than cotton.
Polyester holds pleats and gathers nicely. It resists shrinking, mildew, and fading. However, polyester lacks the softness and breathability of natural fibers.
Luxurious silk has a subtle sheen and lightweight drape. But silk is very expensive and too delicate for most kitchens.
Velvet offers an opulent, elegant look. But it can crush and flatten easily, so isn’t the most durable.
Cotton/polyester blends combine the breathability of cotton with the easy-care features of polyester. This is ideal for kitchen valances.
The best valance fabrics are soft but sturdy, breathe well, and are easy to care for. Blends like cotton/poly offer a great combination.
Popular Kitchen Valance Patterns
From vivid florals to simple stripes, patterned valances are an easy way to inject color, texture, and visual interest into your kitchen. Here are some top patterns to consider:
Solid colored valances project a clean, classic look. They seamlessly match or accent your kitchen’s color scheme. White or beige solids suit traditional kitchens. Bold hues like navy, green or yellow create a more dramatic style.
A crisp white solid valance matches the kitchen’s color palette.
Checked valances have a casual country vibe perfect for cottage kitchens. Large buffalo checks or tiny gingham provide variety. Black and white or red and white checkered valances offer retro diner-style charm.
A bold checkered valance complements the country kitchen.
From traditional English florals to modern oversized blooms, floral valances provide timeless femininity. Choose muted tone-on-tone florals for a soft effect or vivid multicolored patterns to brighten the kitchen.
Watercolor floral valance brings delicate beauty to the window.
Nautical stripes lend a casual, beachy feel, perfect for coastal or cottage kitchens. Wide colorful stripes or thin pinstripes create different moods. Vertical stripes visually elongate windows.
Crisp striped valances complementing coastal kitchen.
The pattern you choose largely depends on your overall kitchen decor and aesthetic preferences. Ensure the scale and colors coordinate well with the rest of the room.
Top Materials for Kitchen Valances
Valances can be made from a variety of materials, each with their own characteristics.
The most common choice is fabric, including cotton, linen, polyester, silk, velvet, or blends. Fabric can be made into any style valance and offers endless color/pattern choices. However, fabric creases and wears faster than other materials.
Wood valances made of stained wood, reclaimed barnwood planks, or bamboo have a natural, rustic feel. But wood is heavy, prone to warping, and more expensive.
Faux Wood Valances
Faux wood plastic or vinyl valances have the look of real wood without the weight and maintenance. Affordable and easy to clean, but can appear cheap.
Wrought iron or aluminum valances have an industrial modern look. They make a dramatic statement but dent easily and conduct heat/cold.
Composite Wood Valances
MDF or other composite wood valances offer the look of real wood with added durability at a lower cost. However, quality varies.
When selecting a material, consider the maintenance, weight, durability, and how it fits your desired look. Fabric offers the widest range of styles and patterns.
Mounting Options for Kitchen Valances
Kitchen valances can be mounted in several locations:
Window Frame Mounted
Mounting a valance directly on the window frame or casing creates a tailored built-in look. However, this can only be used for straight, flat valances.
Mounting on the wall above the window frame is the most common method. It works for any style valance but requires precise measuring and drilling into walls.
Ceiling mounted valances hang from hooks in the ceiling, so no wall damage is required. But they can make ceilings seem lower and collecting dust is an issue.
Crown Molding Mounted
Valances tucked behind crown molding give a seamless built-in aesthetic. The valance runs the full width of the molding. Crown mounting only suits flat valances.
Tension Rod Mounted
Tension rods allow quick, non-permanent valance installation. But sagging issues, visible rods, and size limitations exist with this method.
The best mounting option depends on your kitchen layout, valance style, and commitment to drilling holes. Wall mounting offers the most flexibility for most homes.
Attaching Valances Securely
Once you’ve selected the ideal mounting method, use proper hardware and installation techniques for a secure, durable valance:
- Use the right fasteners. Drywall anchors, wood screws, or metal hooks should be used depending on the mounting surface. Select screws or anchors wide and long enough to support the valance weight.
- Reinforce with cleats. Cleats are strips of wood fastened horizontally to provide added support for heavy drapery rods or valances. Attach cleats to the wall or ceiling first.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions. If your valance came with specific hardware or directions, follow them closely to ensure it’s securely installed.
- Level perfectly. Use a laser level or bubble level to keep the mounting hardware completely straight. This allows the valance to hang evenly.
- Check for sagging. After installation, gently pull in areas where sagging could occur to confirm hardware will withstand the weight without loosening or pulling out.
Take time to firmly install mounting hardware so your valance remains straight and even for years to come. This also prevents sagging, gaps, or safety issues.
Looking to add handcrafted charm to your kitchen windows? Making your own DIY valances is an enjoyable weekend project with bespoke results. Here are some tips for sewing your own valances:
Select your fabric
Opt for medium or heavyweight cotton, linen, brocade or velvet fabrics with nice drape. Avoid flimsy or loosely woven fabrics.
Decide on your style
Gathered, pleated, swags and cascades are all easy beginner styles. Make a template from newspaper first.
Use a metal measuring tape. Account for slack, returns, and overlaps in your measurements.
Plan for 20% excess to allow for mistakes. For swags and cascades, calculate the yardage of each swag section.
Finish all raw edges with serging if available, or turned under double hems. This prevents fraying.
Heading tapes or pockets conceal the hanging rods. Sew headings to the upper back side.
Insert drapery rods
Curtain rods support the valance structure. Use the appropriate size and type for the valance fabric weight.
Follow the mounting instructions above. Check for level hangs and secure hardware.
With good planning and sewing skills, you can create stunning one-of-a-kind valances to customize your kitchen windows.
Window Treatments to Pair with Valances
Valances typically serve as one element of complete window treatments. Here are some ideal options to pair with your valances:
Curtain panels or cafe curtains complement valances beautifully. Choose similar colors/patterns or contrasting styles depending on your goals.
Any type ofwindow blinds (vinyl, wood, faux wood, aluminum, etc.) can layer nicely under a valance. Ensure proper clearance for both.
Roller shades, roman shades, or cellular shades add adjustable light control and privacy under the valance layer.
Lightweight sheer curtains under valances filter light while maintaining visibility. Cotton voile or linen sheers add airiness.
Cornices are wide, boxy valance alternatives. You can combine a cornice up top with lower curtains or shades.
Mix and match valances with other window elements like curtains, shades or blinds. This creates a frame for the window and controls light optimally.
Decorating with Valances
Valances present great opportunities to decorate and accessorize your kitchen windows. Here are some ideas:
Dress up basic valances with trims like gimp braid, fringe, tassels, or contrasting bands of fabric. Applied neatly, trim lends unique personality.
Tiebacks in coordinating or contrasting fabrics help control curtains and keep valances looking neat. Tiebacks should be placed in line with the valance edges.
Display decorative rods
Opt for decorative traverse rods or medallion-embellished drapery rods to complement ornate valances. This adds dimensional interest.
Install festive toppers
Small decorative pieces can be installed atop swag or cascade valances for seasonal flourish. Bunches of greenery, flowers, or holiday sprigs work well.
Set treasured items like framed photos, vintages tins, or colorful bottles on top of flat valances to incorporate displays. Just ensure the items are secured well.
Draw attention to special architectural elements surrounding windows. Valances help focus interest on transom windows, arched forms, or detailed trimwork.
Get creative with valance trims, textures, accessories and season displays to make your kitchen windows charming focal points.
Common Questions About Kitchen Valances
Some common questions often arise when considering