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Valance Styles for Patio Doors

A valance–a decorative framework for doors or windows–accentuates the window treatments and conceals the rods or fixtures that hold the drapes. The type of valance you use depends on the style and colors of the surrounding area. Home Decorating Reviews says, “A traditional valance style can work on a door window as well, using any type of fabric that matches your decor.”

Grommet Valances

Grommet valences can be used alone or with shears.  These are made using a single piece of fabric with circular cutouts for a decorative rod. Grommet valances have modern styling and are often used only with a stylish rod for accent.  The result is a contemporary look with simple lines.

Scarf Valances

Scarf valances drop in the middle and taper at the ends in a manner similar to a scarf.  This style draws attention to the doors and accents their style. You use these valances mostly with windows, but you can make them work with patio doors by keeping the drape small and the end tapers shallow.  Scarf valances do not work well will curtains, but they can accentuate wood blinds, or they can be used without other door covers.

Curtain Valances

This type of valance is used with regular curtains and usually sits on a separate rod covering the top of the curtains.  Different design styles are available to complement the curtains. Some of the more common styles include scalloped, layered and tiered. 

Cornice Valances

You mount this rigid, boxlike style of valance outside the frame.  Cornice valances are made of lightweight material and come in different widths and heights. They are easy to make and can be tailored to fit the style of the room by adding fabric, stamped patterns or paint.  These valances work great when combined with vertical blinds.

Custom Valances

You can create custom valances to complement the room by using the same type of fabric used in the furniture.  Coordinate the valances to go with the colors in the room, and create a specific design to suit the style of the doors. These styles can include beaded edges for simple window treatments or a lightweight fabric to frame wood blinds. 

Balloon Valances

These valances work great with patio doors, since they fit the style naturally.  Used alone, balloon valances they create drama with their billowing folds of material. They give dimension and simple elegance to a room.  According to the Window Treatment Center, "They’re generally made of lightweight fabric" and are used to create "a more casual look".

Swag Valances

Swags are overlapping pieces of fabric that are pleated and gathered at the ends with a horn.  Empire swags have pleats that stack at the top, while Kingston swags are pulled up on the sides, allowing the pleats to droop. These sections are connected at the corners hidden by the horns on the end.  This look works with drapes or pull-down shades. Swag valances give the room a formal, elegant look. 

About the Author

Caroline Thompson is a professional photojournalist who has been working for print and online publications since 1999. Her work has appeared in the "Sacramento Bee," "People Magazine," "Newsweek" and other publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in photojournalism from California State University at Hayward and a personal trainer certification from the university's Health and Fitness Institute.