Curtain Valances - do we need frills on our windows?

Do we Need Frills or Adornment on our Windows?

This topic is quite controversial. Where I live (New Zealand) the answer would be no way!! Our architecture and design is simplistic, minimal and for us, less is best. We have large windows, often the full height of the wall and barely room for curtains, let alone valances. Anything that has a slight gather is frowned upon. Timber (wooden) blinds work, slimline blinds (any kind of blind really) and then they are mostly left pulled up, being used to create shade in the later day when the sun makes the room too hot and glary.

Curtain Valance covering the top of the window
A large window can take heavy adornment and not look overwhelming.


Decoration or rather lack of it is the predominant style for our homes. It probably has something to do with the age of our country, we are young and our homes are new, there are very few over the age of one hundred. When you compare that to a country like England or France who have homes that are several hundreds of years old then you can understand that their style of decoration is quite different. They have small windows, drafty glazing and often the homes are not insulated. This means window decoration is a necessity, not just a fashion statement. They use the window valances and curtains to stop drafts, keep the warmth in, create privacy and obviously decorate in keeping with the period of the home.

Serious formal curtains, designed for a King or Queen
Frills and heavy drapery do add grandeur to a space but it does have to be in keeping with the rest of the interior style or period.

Therefore there is a place for frilly windows and decorative curtains or drapes, but it is like all parts of a design, don't overdo it. More is not always better, a subtle inverted pleat valance provides a sophisticated window valance, even a french pleated valance can look simple with the correct choice of fabric.

simple curtains, functional and understated
By keeping window treatments simple, it allows the rest of the design to shine.

What I am trying to express is that decorating your window is fine, but remember that you have a whole room to coordinate, you will have to balance that space with your windows, can the rest of your room compete?

If you want to learn more about how to decorate with curtains try our Curtain Design Course

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