Choosing the best window valance is often easiest when there is a focus placed on the style of the particular room as well as the home overall. The valances don't have to be the same in all rooms, but for a cohesive, pulled-together look, having them either in a similar color scheme or shape can be effective. Tropical or country styles of rooms can often handle a lot of color and pattern in a valance. If your home's style is mostly modern though, clean-lined valances in solid colors tend to work best. A pouf style of window valance is ideal for romantic decors, while a fabric-covered cornice box is a popular choice for more traditional rooms.
The cornice box is often made of lightweight wood. It serves to cover the top part of draperies, and either heavier upholstery fabric or lighter-weight cloth with a layer of padding under it may be stapled onto this wooden cornice piece. Sometimes, the same material used for the drapery also covers the cornice, so if this is a look you'd prefer, it may be an option for you. Especially if your drapes are a solid color, you may want to have the cornice section trimmed with silk braiding or another material to add style interest and accent the window valance.
Pouf window valances tend to suit attractive florals or other elegant prints. With so much pattern, texture and color going on though, this type of window valance is usually best over a blind rather than a set of curtains. Make sure that the blind material coordinates well with the pouf valance you choose, or the result could appear mismatched or unfinished.
When looking for a modern style of window valance, don't rule out a material with an interesting texture such as leather. It may add the touch of dramatic accent that windows in a streamlined room could use. Too much pattern or a fit other than smooth and tailored though can defeat the purpose and ruin the continuum of a streamlined, modern home style.
If you have a country or tropical themed home, lots of color, pattern, draping or gathering in your window valances can only add to the style. It's best to keep to your established color scheme though or a window valance may be too "busy" and create too much focus. Checks, plaids and stripes are great patterns for country valances, while those with exotic flower and shell motifs suit tropical themes.