Valances with a Shaped Hem

I love a valance with a shaped hem. There are so many choices — arched, scalloped, tapered, serpentine, saw tooth. The list is as long as your imagination. But you have to be careful of optical illusions when you have a valance with a shaped hem AND have different size windows in the same room.

Optical Illusions

Three Optical Illusions

Do you remember seeing these optical illusions as a kid? They are fun to look at and timeless. Those green lines do NOT look the same length, but they are! How about those orange circles? Yes, they are the same size, too. Optical illusions can happen with window treatments that are on different sized windows in the same room

Optical Illusion Arched Valances

In the top example, the hem shape on the wider valance looks almost flat, even though it has the same long point and short point as the narrower valance. You have to exaggerate the shape on wider windows to achieve the same look. That means you have to increase the difference between the short point and the long point. In the bottom example, the short point is shorter on the wider window, but the arches appear the same shape.

Case Study

Let’s look at a real life example from start to finish. The designer’s request for quote included a sketch of a valance with a shaped hem along with the window dimensions and the valance short point and long point. This is the sketch that was sent with the RFQ

Window treatment RFQ sketch

This designer did a great job providing rough measurements for the window, specifying the short point and long point, and providing a sketch of the window treatment style. The problem arose because the actual window was much wider than the window in the sketch so when we took those same dimensions and used them on the wider window, we got an optical illusion. In the drawings below, the valance on the left is drawn to scale with the designer’s specifications. With the wider window width, the shaped hem looks almost flat. As with the arched valance example above, we tried making the short point shorter and also tried making the long point longer. Making the short point shorter made the valance look skimpy and the customer did not want the long point longer because it would block more of the view and let less light in the room.

Valance Shaped hem

I experimented with making the same shape narrower (keeping the same short point and long point) and repeating it to get the wider valance width. Can you believe the short point and long point are the same on the three examples below? What an optical illusion!

Valance Shaped hem

There were several iterations in the design process before settling on a final design. There is no illusion here — just a lovely window treatment.

valance with shaped hem

Parkway Window Works is here to partner with you to make sure your window treatment vision looks as great on the window as in your design proposal. Our scale drawings are just one of the tools that set us apart from other workrooms. We help take your design vision from concept to reality ensuring there are no unforeseen optical illusions on installation day. Ready to specify a valance with a shaped hem? Contact us to get started.

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