Introduction

window cornice and treatment from How to Build a Window Cornice step-by-step
Photo: Ryan Benyi
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A window cornice adds a strong dose of architectural character to any room and at the same time conceals mounting hardware for drapes or blinds. If your home already has interesting moldings, you can design the cornice to match; if it doesn't, let your imagination be your guide. Or follow our lead to build the one pictured here. It hangs on a French cleat mounted above the window and stands out from the wall enough to allow the curtains to open and close easily. Your cornice should be an inch or two longer than the curtain rod, including the finials, to make it easy to install. It should also be deep enough to clear the finials and the rings by 1 inch.

If you choose to buy a window cornice, there are plenty of wood types and finishes, not to mention architectural styles, to choose from. In either case, you'll never look at your window the same way again.

Download and print a cut list for building a window cornice.
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    Tools List

    • 30-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • drywall corner clincher tool
      Corner clamps
    • pneumatic brad nailer
      Pneumatic brad nailer
    • air compressor
      air compressor
    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • sandpaper
      220-grit sandpaper
    • 2-and-a-half-inch paintbrush
      Paintbrush
    • two-foot level
      2-foot level
    • drill
      Drill/driver

    Shopping List

    Poplar 1x8 for the sides and front Get a 5-foot length.

    Poplar 1x4 for the French cleat Get a 4-footer.

    Poplar 1x10 for the top Get a 4-footer.

    3-inch solid primed-pine crown molding

    ¾-inch primed-pine ogee molding

    Primed-pine cap molding for the bottom of the cornice1 ½-inch brad nails

    ¾-inch brad nails

    2 ½-inch wood screws

    Wood glue

    Wood filler

    Paint