March 15, 2017
You’ve got your living room design almost complete. The furniture, fabric, and wall decor are all in place. Now all you need are window treatments to top it off. You’ve looked at dozens of traditional valances, but what you want is something that adds sophistication and a touch of elegance without taking over the room. In the end, window scarves are going to be your best bet.
Window scarves, also known as scarf valances, don’t have to be the massive, elaborate valances you might remember from banquet halls or a grandparent’s house. Scarf valances are much simpler. They are usually single pieces of fabric (though you can use two or three for a layered effect) hung across a curtain rod and fastened over brackets to hide all evidence of curtain hardware. The center is gathered into “swag” while the ends hand down to form side jabots or tails.
Window scarves aren’t functional treatments in the sense that you can’t open and close them, and they don’t block a lot of light. In fact, they tend to look best over windows that let in a lot of light, or windows that have sprawling views. However, if you hang them over windows with blinds, they can help to block the light that peeks in through the sides, and thicker scarf material can help a little bit with drafty windows.
“Window treatments are an excellent way to change an entire look of a room,” says designer, Julie Steinberg. “It’s a way to help draw the eye to key highlights for a room’s design.”
Window scarves are no exception. In fact, more than most other treatments, they have a lot of potential and power to set the tone of a room and evoke certain feelings in your guests.
While many valance options are subtle or complimentary to existing curtains or drapes, window scarves are essentially the entire treatment. The material you use and how you hang them will make all the difference when it comes to the final product of a finished room.
One drawback to window scarves is that they can be tough to style and secure. The most important part is getting the swag to look refined and tasteful—and then getting it to stay that way. Doing this requires patience and a little bit of elbow grease, not to mention the right tools and tricks. (If you’re not the do-it-yourself type, don’t worry. There are professionals who are happy to help you!)
For example, if you’re using a wooden curtain rod, you can staple or otherwise tack the swag to the rod to hold it in place. You can also use hooks or sconces to secure the swag, though these will be visible, so you’ll want to make sure that they, too, fit the decor of your room.
For non-wooden rods, some people use something as simple as double-sided tape, though that’s bound to come loose after a while, even if you use the strong stuff. A better option is to sew the swag together at the points where it hangs over the rod, keeping the seams in back to hide your handiwork.
If you want to keep things simple—and if you don’t mind readjusting from time to time—use decorative ribbons or ties to secure the swag and cover curtain rod brackets at the same time.
Though properly installed window scarves should look as though they’re just hanging there, it’s crucial to recognize that they’re not. Draping fabric over a curtain rod and stopping there will have you picking your scarf valance off the floor more often than you’re sitting back to admire it.
Window scarves can be basic with just a single piece of fabric, but you can also jazz it up if you don’t mind the extra work. Using two or three pieces of fabric to layer the swag adds depth, warmth, and a little life (if you use different colors) to your valance. You can also style your window scarf to have multiple swag sections if you’re looking to cover an unusually large window. (Just make sure you have a large enough piece of fabric!) Varying lengths can also change the room dynamic, as can experimenting with asymmetry for your valance jabots.
However you cut it, window scarves are a versatile solution for most any window. They can transform your dining room for special occasions and holidays, or they can make your living room a smart and classy place to entertain guests year-round. Done properly, they can even communicate a sense of warmth and peace to a busy kitchen, which might help when you’re cooking food for those special occasions.
Complement the elegance of your window scarves with Corners of the Earth canvas art.
Add a framed Anne Frank quote art poster to brighten up the feel of your room.
Or hang this Paris – 1908 artwork if you want to enhance the classy impression your window scarves bring to a room.