If lighting is the jewelry of a home, then window treatments surely are the shoes! I mean, you need them! Learn how to make an easy DIY window cornice for your home in just an afternoon!
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Ok, so you don’t actually need them, but your naked windows will thank you for it. I have a pretty hard and fast rule when it comes to windows, and it’s pretty simple. Do you wanna know what it is?
Dress them up!
Seriously though, windows can be a focal point of any home, and a great accessory. So you should show them off. A well-dressed window can make or break a room design.
I do have 2 exceptions where I’m willing to break my own rule though.
- Black aluminum windows. All the heart eyes here guys, and on my wish list for a someday build.
Gahhhh. These babies should not be hidden! They are an architectural detail to be showcased. But for the rest of us who are just trying to love our boring builder grade vinyl windows, we need to dress them up!
2. Contemporary Modern Windows. These sleek stylish designs take a less is more approach. And in this case I would opt for a minimalist shade for light filtering only.
Ok, so I’ve told you why you need to dress them up, but I haven’t shared how.
A super easy and inexpensive way is to make your own custom window cornice. Now, I’m not reinventing the wheel here with this tutorial. But this is a very simple way to give your home a custom wow factor and flex your DIY skills in the process.
This is NOT my first attempt at making a window cornice. I once tried this project a few years ago using Styrofoam.
What was supposed to be a quick and fun DIY project escalated into an hour long cleaning session. It was anything BUT fun. Every step in my kitchen left me with covered in tiny white particles that seemed to outsmart even the best DYSON vacuum.
Lucky for me though, I overcame my power tool phobia and whipped out quite a few cornices with my new method in this post.
Below is a list of tools and linked supplies that you can easily purchase for your project.
*If using power tools isn’t your gig, then no worries. As long as you have your measurements, the awesome guys at Lowes or Home Depot can make the cuts for you.
DIY Cornice Supplies
- Miter Saw
- Staple Gun
- Wood screws (10)
- Plywood or pine board
- Fabric of your choice. I used this one here
- Polyfill batting
- D rings (2)
See, pretty simple so far right? Stay with me 😉
Step 1 – Measure for your window cornice
- First, measure the width of your window, including any casing or trim work. You want the width of your cornice to extend at least two inches outside the farthest point on each side.
- Next, take that length and add an additional 8.5 inches to it. This 8.5 inch section will get cut down into 4 sections your return pieces (sides of cornice) and brackets.
- Finally, determine how tall you want your cornice to be. I opted for 12 inches on my smaller windows, but you can definitely make a statement on a larger window and go taller.
*Many pine boards already come in 12 inch heights and are a great option for this project if you’re looking to reduce the amount of cuts you have to make.
Step 2 – Choose your fabric
This is where it gets fun! I recommend fabric shopping in person so that you can feel the weight of a fabric. You’ll want to choose a heavier upholstery fabric, so stay away from anything too thin.
This neutral striped fabric was perfect for our new playroom design.
You’ll thank me when you go to cover your cornice, because upholstery fabrics lay nicer and tend not to wrinkle during the assembly process.
Here are some home décor fabric ideas to get your inspiration flowing
Step 3 – Select your wood & make your cuts
For my project I used a simple plywood board like this one here. It’s a pretty large board so I had the guys at the Home Depot cut it down into strips for the height I needed. Since my windows are a pretty standard size, I chose to go 12 inches tall.
I ended up walking out of the store with 3 long boards, which was more than enough to make quite a few cornices. (Which I ended up doing…hey, when you’re on a roll, right?)
If you have smaller windows though, you can probably get away with using a standard 12 inch tall pine board like this one here.
Make your cuts
Next, you’re going to make your cuts for the width of the cornice. Now, for those of you who are pumped up to use a miter saw, go get it girl. Just remember to add an additional 8.5 inches to cut your return pieces and bracket sections.
To recap, you’re going to take your long wide board and make your first cut for the ideal width of your cornice and the remaining 4 cuts as shown below for your returns (side pieces) and brackets.
If you don’t have a saw, or you’re hesitant to use power tools, no worries. As long as you give the folks at Home Depot your measurements they usually have no problem making a few quick cuts for you. Just don’t go overboard and ask them to cut 20 pieces. They might not like you all that much.
Step 4 – Assemble your window cornice
Now you’re ready to put this bad boy together. Gather your cornice board, 2 return pieces, screws and drill.
- Drill 3 pilot holes down each side of the cornice as shown below. This will make it easier to join your wood pieces together without it splitting.
- Line your return piece up to attach it to your cornice and begin screwing them together with your drill.
- Repeat these steps for both sides and you should have the frame of your cornice looking something like mine here:
Step 5 – Cover it
Next, you’ll cut your fabric and batting to size, leaving enough overlap to wrap and cover your cornice board around all the edges. Layer your fabric face down on a flat surface with your batting on top. Make sure all edges are pulled tightly so that the fabric isn’t wrinkled underneath and begin wrapping.
I hate to tell you this, but if you’re not a fan of wrapping presents then you’ll need to muster up some patience for this step.
Wrapping the cornice is sort of an art, but it really isn’t all that hard. Just begin in the middle, wrap the top, secure with your staple gun and then repeat with the bottom section. Remember to keep the fabric pulled tightly to prevent any wrinkling.
The back will not look pretty, mine certainly didn’t here, but the front should be nice and secure!
Step 6 – Attach your brackets
Finally, you’re almost there!
Grab your two remaining wood pieces for the brackets and attach each one to the insides of the cornice returns. No need for any pilot holes on this step, and if it’s covering any fabric and batting it should still attach just fine.
Step 7 – Attach your D-rings & install your window cornice!
Lastly you’re ready to attach each of your D-rings to the tops of your brackets as shown below.
This will be your mounting hardware to hang the cornice on the wall. I love this option because it makes the cornice removable in case you decide to paint your walls or reupholster it later down the road.
See, that wasn’t so hard now was it? I hope this post gives you the tools you need to tackle an easy DIY project that will make a whole lot of impact and help you love the home you have!
This was such an easy project that added a custom touch to our playroom makeover.
Have you ever tried to make your own window cornices? I’d love to know what method you used so drop me a comment below and don’t forget to subscribe to my weekly newsletter to get all of y best DIY tips delivered straight to your inbox.