Those of you new to the DIY world, and to RTA kitchen cabinets in particular, might be asking yourselves, “What are valences?” For those who do know what they are, it’s still not always an easy choice whether or not to use them in a given situation. We hope this post helps make it easier!
What Are Valences?
Kitchen cabinet valences are pieces of wood, usually the same type as the cabinets themselves, finished in the same stain or paint, that stretch across a gap in the cabinets to create a feeling of continuity. They’re usually straight on the top, to line up nicely against the ceiling. The bottom edge can be straight, but is more commonly shaped with a pattern of curves, dips, and points. We call these valences “scalloped.”
They’re most commonly used above kitchen sinks, especially when they’re below a kitchen window, but they can be used to bridge other gaps as well.
When To Use, and When Not to Use Valences
It would seem, at first thought, that since valences create a sense of continuity, tying together separate sets of cabinets on either side of a gap to create a contiguous whole, that they should be a no-brainer. The thing is, not all kitchens use them, and that choice, compounded over thousands and thousands of kitchens, and many decades of tradition and fashion, has given them a certain feel.
Specifically, valences tend to lend a homey, quaint, or cottage feel to a kitchen. Picture a kitchen you remember, that you know for sure had valences over the kitchen window. Was it your grandmother’s? A kitchen you remember from a TV show that depicted a rosy-glowing “golden era”? That’s not a coincidence.
Now picture a Manhattan penthouse in your mind’s eye. Chances are, you’re not picturing valences, right? The absence of a valence can keep a style cleaner and purer. This is good for rustic styles that create a log-cabin feel, or a hand-built feel. It’s also great for modern or post-modern kitchens, full of sleek lines and striking contrast between light and shadow.
All the elements of your kitchen’s design and style should work together to produce the exact look and feel you desire in your home. Hopefully this guide has given you some food for thought, but if you need more help, we’re happy to provide it! Just click this link, and you can set up a free consultation with one of our professional kitchen designers. He or she will help you lay out the kitchen of your dreams, and will know exactly what valences, molding, and other details will bring your vision to life.