Valance or Cornice: Are They in Style and What is the Difference?

What is a Valance and are they still in style for 2021?

Before we can answer the question about valances being in style, we need to clarify a few things. The word valance in the window treatment world can refer to a couple of options:

  • A wood or faux wood decorative piece at the top of your blind to cover the headrail or a decorative piece that covers the top of a vertical blind or aluminum blind.
  • A fabric top treatment that adds color, pattern and softness to the top of a window. Installed alone or over another window treatment like a blind or shade.

A fabric valance comes in multiple styles and can be mounted in two ways: board mounted or pole mounted. Board mounted styles are attached at the top to a header made out of wood. This style is usually very tailored and includes designs with pleat swags. Valances can also be mounted using a decorative drapery rod or pole. This style can be gathered, grommeted, or mounted with tabs or rings. The popularity of the style or fabric choice may determine if they are “in-style” at the current time. So, to answer the question above, Yes, valances are still in style when made out of trending fabrics, colors and designs! Plus, classic designs are always in style, they just may need to be updated in a more current fabric pattern or color.

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What’s popular in 2021?

In 2021, a minimal, more tailored style is popular as opposed to the ruffles and scarf swags of the 80’s. Because of this the streamlined style of a cornice has become popular and may be what you are looking for. They are similar to a valance in that they are considered decorative top treatments, but their construction is completely different.

What is the difference in a cornice compared to a valance?

A cornice is also made out of fabric, but is upholstered onto a solid box frame, usually made out of wood with a layer of batting and trimmed with cording to give it an upholstered look. It is sleeker and more modern than a valance. Depending on the fabric choice it can look more formal as opposed to a valance. For many the upholstered construction of a cornice means it always looks good, with no wrinkles or ripples in it. It is stable and you don’t have to make any adjustments once it is installed. Cornices are a great way to show off a large print, or bold geometric design, due to their smooth shape. Speaking of shape, the front of a cornice can be arched or shaped. The shape can follow the pattern of the fabric or can add detail to a neutral lush velvet or textured fabric.

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A cornice is often used to cover a motorized drapery rod or to “hide” a shade up underneath. Added depth on the sides makes this possible. A fabric valance can also do the same thing. But, a cornice is a great option for windows viewed from the second story landing or open staircase, as even the top is upholstered!

Just like valances, cornices are also available in wood most often stained and can add a decorative element over blinds or shades. A cornice whether made from wood or upholstered in fabric, adds an elegance to a large window with multiple shades in it. The single cornice across the top unites the multiple shades and ties it all together beautifully.

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So, whether you choose a cornice or valance, really comes down to which style fits “your style” and home décor! With hundreds of fabrics and an array of styles to choose from, your local Budget Blinds consultant will be happy to help you. Need some inspiration? Visit our website, request a Design Guide, or simply Download it here. Ready to see samples? Schedule your complimentary in-home consultation. To find your local Budget Blinds click here.

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