Cornice Board DIY
My favorite easy update for any space: a window cornice & they are SO easy to add to your own windows.
In my house, no window is complete with just blinds and curtain panels. I LOVE a well-dressed window …but I’m also usually too cheap to splurge on fancy drapery unless it’s just something I HAVE to have (like my new velvet drapes for the office, oops).
My favorite thing to do is find inexpensive panels in a nice but neutral heavy fabric and I add trim, tassels, pompoms, whatever I am in the mood for at the time but then I top it off with a custom cornice board in a fabulous coordinating fabric. One of the best things about using a cornice board? I get to use the cheapest curtain rod they make – I think it’s like $3 but I prefer it because it’s the thinnest/lightest and fits perfectly (and hidden!) under the cornice.
cornice cor·nice \ ˈkȯr-nəs , -nish \
My first step: my sketch with measurements
Things you’ll need:
- Wood – I prefer the thinnest sheet I can find
- Staple gun & staples (or glue; duct tape; etc)
- L-brackets & hardware (I like to use 6 per cornice + 2 for mounting)
- Batting – use whatever thickness you prefer. I like it thick enough to hold my staples
- Fabric – I say 2 yards just to be safe but you can gauge this by your measurements, plan to add at least 1-2″ to each side so you can room to wrap it around & staple it over the batting. I like to use enough to make sure the back is covered (so you can see the fabric from the outside instead of bare wood)
- First, measure your window. Measure twice. I always do my cornices at least 1″ longer on each side. (So 2″ extra, minimum – usually more for dramatic effect & I find it makes the window look much wider/taller so the curtains fall nicely on the curtain rod and the cornice mounts nicely on each side of the window frame).
- For our large double windows downstairs in the new house, I used these measurements: one 84″ x 12″ for the front panel. I wanted the cornice to be mounted 4″ off of the wall so I did two 4″x12″ pieces and then a top piece that was 84″ x 4″. Measurements will depend on how much wall/window you want to cover and how wide your windows are.
- Once you’ve got your four pieces cut, I like to use L-brackets and a drill to put it together. I’ve used large L-brackets and small. I prefer large just to keep it sturdy as these can get kind of heavy once put together. I usually use 4-6 brackets on each cornice.
- On the longer ones for our downstairs double windows, I used 6 since they were so long, I wanted the cornice to be supported as much as it could. Four usually does the trick on single windows. I start with the small side pieces and mount them onto the large front piece using 2 L-brackets each – one closer to where the lid will go, and one closer to the base of the cornice. Once you have those 3 together, I stack the top “lid” piece onto all three and mount it onto the large front piece using 2 L-brackets.
- Once you have all 4 pieces together and sturdy, get your staple gun ready (or glue or duct tape, I’ve seen it done all of these ways… but I’m a staple gun girl). Lay out your batting and wrap it around each side tightly and staple it down, pulling it tightly as you go around so there aren’t any folds or wrinkles (this will show through the fabric, so keep it smooth!).
- Lay your fabric down (face down) and center the batting-covered cornice on top of the fabric. Start pulling the fabric over the cornice tightly and staple as you go. I staple about every 2-4″ just to keep it smooth and tight. It’s a lot easier than the end result actually looks. I finish a cornice board from start to finish in about an hour, including trimming the wood.
- Once you’re satisfied with the cornice, we use 2 large L-brackets and mount them to the wall on the side of the window frame (outside of the curtain rod). Then mount the ‘lid’ of the cornice onto the L-brackets & that’s it! I LOVE how they really finish off a window. Here are a few of my favorites I’ve done. I will be adding 2 cornices to my son’s room soon – I will update the post with actual photos of the process to make this post make more sense 🙂