Valances have a bad reputation. I think people are still scarred from those balloon valance atrocities that were popular in the 80's.
Yikes. This is a "before" from a client's home. They came with the house when she bought it.
I know them well - I had giant, floral balloon valances with ruffles in my own bedroom growing up. Yeesh!
Valances nowadays are very different. They're usually either cut straight across or slightly curved along the bottom, with way less fabric and NO "swag."
Boxed valence with contrast pleats
Valances are an EXCELLENT alternative to draperies, if you're not planning to actually use the drapes.
Flat valance with layers
Why? Because you can create a WAY more stylish window treatment for the same cost (or less) as a plain pleated custom panel.
Something I'm working on now
Why? Because valances take way less fabric and trim to create something stunning. That means you can invest in some SUPER unique fabrics and trims (like the amazing Schumacher trim above) and still stay on budget. A 36" wide, 16" valance takes less than one yard of fabric to make and about 1.5 yards of trim. The equivalent drapery panels would take 7 yards of fabric and 7 yards of trim. You do the math.
Here's a SUPER CUSTOM valance and panels I did - LOVE!
I'm not endorsing the extinction of drapery panels here. I LOVE me a beautiful panel, and if the budget allows, I personally would put panels in most rooms, but they're NOT right for every room and every budget. If you're tired of empty windows, let me know.Valances are a great addition to most any bare window!