How to measure for Window Valances


I want to make this as simple as possible for you.  I have detailed many types of rods and how to measure for each type.  These tips are for measuring for window valances, top treatments, tie-up valances or faux roman shades.  The first thing to consider when purchasing a window treatment is what type of rod you will be using.  Will it be a decorative rod, continental or  tension rod?  A decorative rod mounts on the edge  or outside the casing.  A tension rod will mount inside the casing.  For widths larger than 48”, a center support bracket is usually required.  If there is one, be sure to inform the designer of the window valance.  The location of the support bracket is in the center of the window.

Decorative Rod mounted on the casing itself:   Measure from left to right on the casing itself between the mounted brackets.  This is the finished width measurement of a window valance.  I would also mount the bracket at the highest point on the casing.  To determine the finished length of the window valance, measure from the top of the rod down to the desired finished length.  If you are unsure of the finished length (average length between 15” and 17”), place a towel or piece of fabric over the rod at the desired finished length.  Leave it there for a bit to make sure you like it during the course of the day with different light coming in throughout the day.


  1. Decorative Rod mounted on wall.  I would mount the brackets slightly higher than the casing itself so the top of the valance header sits even with the top of the casing.

  1. Continental Rod:  Continental Rods have come a long way from the beginning when the only rods available would be a straight rod.  They now have traditional, flat, curved, bay window and magnetic rods available.  Measuring for a continental rod is basically the same as above; however, you must include the return (the extension on the side from the wall) in your measurement.  This measurement can be anywhere from 3 ½” to 5”.  They can be mounted on the casing itself or on the wall.
  •  Traditional:   widths that adjust from 18” to 150”.  The rods itself measure 2 ½” in diameter and fits a 3” rod pocket or larger.  The returns (which are the extension out from window) are adjustable from 3 ½” to 5”.
  • Flat:  widths that adjust from 18” to 150”.   The rods itself measure 2 ½” in diameter and fits a 3” rod pocket or larger with a small return extension.
  • Curved:  widths that adjust from 28” to 48”.   This curves out.  The rod is 2 ½ “in diameter and fits a 3” rod pocket or larger.  The returns are adjustable from adjustable from 3 ½” to 5”.
  • Bay Window:    The rod is 2 ½ “in diameter and fits a 3” rod pocket or larger.  Side rods are adjustable 18” to 38” with the center rod adjustable 36” to 66” with adjustable returns 3 ½” to 5”.
  • Magnetic:  This is a game changer.  There are so many homes with new steel doors with no way to hang a window treatment on the window itself.  This rod adjust from 23” to 34” with a clearance of approximately 2 ¾”.  Most hold weights up to 3 pounds.


  1. Tension Rod:  Using a tension rod is one of the easiest ways to mount a window treatment.  They come in a variety of styles from 1” to 3” thick covering window widths from 24” to 36” and 36” to 60”.  They are designed to hang a window treatment inside the window frame itself.  Simply measure the inside of the casing from left to right to get the finished width measurement.    The faux roman shade courtesy of featuring Premier Prints Cecelia Black/White Fabric.



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