You know how to dress a bay window with valances; you’ve read how you can touch up a palladium window with the right window treatment, but what about fitting valances for sliding glass doors? Most folks just throw up some kind of drape to cover the length of the glass and have it pull back along a runner to let light in. But how would you use valances to decorate an otherwise decoratively limited area with high foot traffic?
Valances typically give a finished look to a window that already has curtains or blinds. The challenge with sliding glass doors is to find a material that gives a finished look but doesn’t get in the way of the door’s functionality. Also with some sliders, the door area reaches to the ceiling so placing a valance presents further complications.
Because of that, some may think that a valance for sliding glass door areas isn’t practical. However, the hardware for valances is mounted on the outside of the window frame so they will not alter or get in the way of the patio door whatsoever. This gives the decorator some versatility in perfecting any window treatment ideas for sliding glass doors.
For continuity in the room, you would want to apply the same type of valance over every window or at least match fabric with other curtains.
So, where do you start? There are a few great styles to choose from but the simplest in construction and style is the flat valance. Just as it sounds, the flat valance adds very little to almost no depth. It is designed as one piece of fabric stretched tightly over the top of a window frame, usually with a little padding if it is made in the style of a cornice.
With sliding glass doors, the width of the valance can be too much for one piece of fabric. A good way to break it up without having a boring break at a seam is to drop a very slight swag in the middle.
As for hanging, flat valances fit on brackets. This overcomes the lack of room above a glass door that reaches to the ceiling. A benefit to valance brackets is that the window valance will completely hide any hardware for added blinds or drapes.
If the flat valance is too minimalist, a novel touch for some added depth and texture is the box pleat valance. It’s just a step above flat in that is has an inverted pleat either in the middle or at evenly divided points along the width to break up the plain flat surface. Like the flat valance, the box pleat is still pulled taut, but the inverted pleats give a more formal appearance.
To break up the rigidity of both styles, you can scallop the fabric along the bottom.
The third style worth mentioning is the gathered valances. This is probably as bold as you want to go for adding depth and ornate style. The major difference between a gathered valance and the previous two styles is how it hangs. A rod is used instead of brackets. This allows for the bunching effect of gathered window valances. Usually the length of the fabric is about double the width of the window so that you can bunch them tightly together somewhat uniformly along the rod.
Because it requires a rod, the gathered style valance may not work for your particular sliding glass door if there is not enough room above it. Typically, valance rods hang about an inch, inch and a half above the window area so that the valance hides the top of the glass.
Valances alone can be enough to fill in the décor void of a sliding glass door, but does not account for privacy. Depending on the level of security you require, heavy drapes can be hung beneath the valance. If you have enough tree cover that privacy isn’t such an issue, you could opt for something sheer. This would shield you at night, yet let in substantial light during the day. For something middle of the road, vertical blinds is a popular choice.
No matter your preference, all options should open in the direction of the fixed pane of glass on your door.