Once an overlooked decorative afterthought, the stylish comeback of window toppers has transformed boring, dated living rooms into freshly elegant spaces. These versatile valances add a custom finishing touch that skillfully balances form, function and flair over tired windows. Thoughtfully selected designs can steer the room’s ambiance from flat to fab.
Strategically placed above the window frame just below the ceiling, toppers camouflage hardware, frame views, filter light, and artfully draw the eye upwards to ceilings – expanding the perceived space. Budget-friendly, simple to construct and install yourself, experimenting with toppers sparks creativity and allows trend-forward reinvention without commitment to one permanent style.
Different Types of Window Toppers to Consider
Tailor tops to your personal taste by selecting from an array of possible silhouettes. Play with height, softness and symmetry for the treatment that best achieves your goals.
Softly Sculpted Styles
Scalloped Valances: Graceful arced edges gently catch light to brighten rooms
Waterfall Valances: Undulating ruffled tiers conjure movement and relaxed elegance
Tie-Up Valances: Crisscrossed front ties secure gathered folds in casual luxury
Crisp Linear Profiles
Tailored Valances: Neat pleats or squared corners craft orderly geometry
Jabot Valances: Parallel panels joined by vertical ruffles work well flanking wide windows
Cloud Valances: Stacked rounded horizontal bands produce clean modern abstractions
Balance the linear and lyrical by incorporating both angled and soft silhouettes. The variety alleviates monotony while allowing you to apply styles strategically.
Design Factors to Evaluate
Narrow your selections by weighing options against practical room considerations that impact the tops’ performance.
Living Room’s Existing Style and Color Palette
Tops act as transitional pieces that blend windows into the whole. Choose patterns, colors and textures that integrate with current furnishings and walls for continuity. Inject pops of color for emphasis while adhering to a cohesive scheme.
Sheers, layered panels and translucent fabrics balance visibility, light control and insulation needs. Blackouts block 100% incoming light for media rooms. Consider traffic sight lines impacting interior and exterior visibility when positioning window toppers.
Window Attributes and Lighting
Factor in window measurements, architectural details (trim, arches), hardware compatibility, and sun exposure when calculating placement specifics to properly dress openings.
From thrifty DIY to designer couture, tops are available at every price point to suit your means. Special occasion splurges easily refresh down the road.
Skill Level for Installation
Opt for convenient readymade Swedish or pole pockets, clip-on tops or innovative adhesive panels if crafting’s not your skill set. Rod pockets allow adjustable gathering fullness while clips attach tops to existing hardware.
Style and Fabric Considerations
Dial in desired aesthetics with stylistic cues and tactile fabrics that complete your vision.
Formal vs. Casual Style Intentions
- Symmetrical tailored toppers
- Opulent fabrics like velvets or embroidered jacquard
- Complex Euro pleats, sharp knife edges and empire waists
- Metallic sheens, heavy trims and architectural shapes
- Contrast banding in geometric blocks
- Asymmetrical uneven hems
- Breezy crinkly sheers and cotton blends
- Gently gathered ruched poufs
- Whimsical scallops and soft ruffles
Fabric Opacities For Light and Privacy Control
|Level of Opacity
|Voile, lace, gauze
|Filter and diffuse incoming light
|Soften and mute light while preserving views
|Block light from penetrating for media rooms
|Specialized opaque fabrics
|Complete light blockage for daytime sleeping
On-Trend Patterns That Complement Rooms
Revive tired spaces with patterns that inject energy or serenity with these perennially chic motifs:
- Organic floral vines
- Muted lean geometrics like subtle stripes and graph checks
- Global tribal ikats
- Vintage Persian influences
- Tonal ombres that gently transition in stepped hues
- Moroccan trellis tiles and ornate filigree
Keep patterns cohesive by limiting mixes to three coordinating prints of varying scales to prevent chaotic clashes.
Coordinate Fabrics with Other Soft Furnishings
Pull colors from existing palette in artwork, area rugs and accent pillows. Echo textures featured on upholstery and window dressings. Luxe velvet toppers enhances the plush factor on velour sectionals while airy sheers play up the casual vibe of linen covered furniture.
Measure Properly for a Custom Fit
Avoid installation frustration and achieve a polished finish by dutifully determining optimal sizing specs before purchasing materials and cutting.
Technique for Precisely Measuring Window Openings
Use a steel tape measure for accuracy. For wide treatments spanning over frames, capture overall width from outer edges of trim or walls. Deduct window frame widths when covering panes. Measure frame height along moldings from top to desired length. Account for decorative protrusions when calculating. Record specifics for easy reference.
Formula for Calculating Optimal Topper Width
Tops should extend 6-12″ wider than window trim on both sides for proper proportional balance. Calculate:
Window opening width
- Add 12-24″ to total width
- This equals the cut fabric width
For example, for a 40″ wide window, ideal topper width falls between 52-64″. Scale size up for dramatic treatments on larger windows or open floorplans. Size down for diminutive accents over narrow transoms.
Allow Sufficient Length For Appropriate Overlap
Extra length prevents visible hardware exposure for a polished presentation. Allowance depends on your mounting method and hardware specs:
- Rod pockets: 3-4″ clearance
- Clip rings: 5-6″ overlap
- Adhesive tack strips: 2-3″ leeway
Remember when gathering or pleating, fabric lengths must be 1.5 to 2 times the treatment width to create fullness.
DIY Installation Fundamentals
Conquer beginner jitters by understanding basics that simplify hanging fundamentals.
Gather the Right Hanging Tools
Equip your toolkit with these supplies:
- Hem tape or fabric glue
- Sewing machine or hand-sewing needles
Methods for Securely Mounting Different Rod Types
|Extend to press against window frames
|Mount into wall studs or use hollow drywall anchors
|Use provided hardware to affix to brackets
Techniques for Gathering/Pleating Fabrics
After cutting to size, create fullness on rod pocket panels and waterfall tops by directly hand sewing permanent pleats. For adjustable gathering, opt for reusable fabric ties sewn to upper back borders.
Creative Embellishment Ideas
Personalize plain panels with thoughtful detailing for added depth and dimension.
- Contrast piping and banding – Define style lines
- Artisan buttons, tassels and trim – Inject whimsy
- Display family photos printed on fabric – Meaningful customization
Upgrade opulence with metallic gimp braids and beaded fringe. Display collections by topping panels with rows of vintage jewelry brooches or found object assemblages.
Add Height and Depth with Layering
Build out basic frames by topping toppers with tiers of swags, cascades and contrasting colors.
- Insert hollow bumper valances – Conceal hardware
- Cascading swag and tail combinations – Sculpt volume
- Pair with window scarves – Soften edges
Infuse heritage charm by flanking main panels with fluttery lace under-treatments. Continue lines across adjacent windows or open floorplans for serene symmetry.
Unexpected Window Topper Applications
Creative problem solving allows you to recontextualize window toppers as versatile decorative solutions beyond tired windows.
- Sliding glass doors – Frame outdoor views
- Room dividers/ privacy screens – Define spaces
- Bay windows – Unify disjointed angles
- Kitchen pass-throughs – Filter cooking chaos
Mask unsightly egress window wells with sheer panels. Use ceiling mounted canopy tops over nursery changing tables or crafting desks to corral messes.
The window toppers turn mediocre living rooms into functional fashion statements. Elevate your space by drawing focus towards oft ignored windows with fresh fabrics and shapes that balance form, function and flair.