Monday, October 1, 2012

How High to Hang the Valance

Recently I added some side panels to a client’s lace valance after I re-mounted the valance up the wall about eight inches. The result was an opening up of the window that, even with the side panels, made the window look much larger. (See it on my website.) I had a client several years ago who insisted on mounting her 16-inch valance on the window frame itself. The result was she lost about one-third of the window.  I recently saw this window and was, again, struck by how squished the whole thing looked. The side panels puddled on the floor, further adding to the squished look. When I asked her if she still liked the treatment, she admitted that she had made a mistake. I’ll be moving that one too.

I see this a lot. So, here is the guideline. The higher you mount the window treatments, the longer the window will appear.  There are some qualifiers, of course. A valance must be long enough to cover the top of the window frame and any blind hardware. It must be long enough to cover the blinds when they are in the up position. The valance length should not ever be less than 20 to 25 percent of the perceived window length. Perceived window length is the measurement of the area covered by the valance and window. If you add ten inches of valance above a 60-inch window, the window is now perceived as 70 inches long. Allowing four inches for the window frame, this valance should be 14 to 17 inches long. A 16-inch valance would  be just right. 

A side note: The width of a window or a window treatment  is the measurement from the left to the right. The length is the measurement from the top to the bottom. These measurements are always, always, always written as width by length.  So, if you write that a window is 25 by 40, it is 25 inches wide and 40 inches long. It is a vertically-oriented rectangle. If you write that the window is 40 by 25, it is 40 inches from side to side and 25 inches from top to bottom; a horizontally-oriented rectangle.

A valance less than ten inches long can look skimpy unless it is on a door window. My personal guideline is minimum 12 inches for window valances. Remember that perspective will make it appear smaller.

Next column I’ll talk about width. 

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