Cornice Boards!!!

Goodbye plain windows. Hello beautiful windows!

This past weekend the hubs and I embraced a project to install cornice boards on our windows flanking our living room built-ins. Prior to our built-ins being installed (mind you, this was more than a year ago!), we had sheer white curtains hanging from your general ‘ol curtain rods on these windows. (photo below- look at the window on the far left side of the photo- sorry about the bad angle);

living room curtains before

((MAN! That photo looks ancient because our living room looks so different from this now!))

However, once the built-ins went in the curtain rods were then too long to fit in the space between the side walls and the built-in. My solution? CORNICE BOARDS… just took me about 1 year and 3 months to get around to it! So, I enlisted the help of a wonderful Blog I found on Pinterest to assist Austin and I in our cornice board endeavor. We changed a few steps around a little bit, but most of it is the same.

So, here’s your before & after photos and then I’ll provide pretty detailed instructions as to how we did this.


cornice before with built ins

((with the built in…sorry 1 window was open!))

cornice before one window

((the left window before))


cornice boards after 2

cornice boards after

cornice board after close up


Sooo…are you ready to join me and make your own? Here we go…

Step 1: Gather your materials

cornice supplies

Here we have:

– Fabric (I think I used about 3 yards)

– Batting

– Tape Measure

– Staple gun and staples

– glue gun and glue sticks

Simpson Strong Ties (we used 4 per window)

–  Scissors

– Trim (if you want it. I think I used about 3 yards)

– Screws (shorter than the thickness of your plywood)

– Longer screws that will go through the wooden cleat and into the wall/studs

– A “cleat” or wooded board that will help you hang the cornice board to the wall. We used a 2×2

– And of course the plywood:

cornice plywood

Step 2: Measure your windows and decide how tall and wide you want your front board and decide how far you want the cornice board to come off the wall

Step 3: Cut your boards

Using a table or handheld electric saw, cut your plywood boards according to your desired measurements. You will need to cut 3 plywood boards per window for the main part of the cornice board: 1 front panel and 2 side panels. For example, our front panel is about 17″ tall and 39″ wide. Each of our side panels are about 17″ tall and 2″ wide (because we wanted our cornice board to be about 2″ off the wall). Make sense?

Now you will also cut your cleat. This piece of wood will be attached to the wall first to help you hang the cornice board to the wall later. It absolutely needs to be the same width as your side boards. It will be secured behind your front panel and needs to connect with the wall, so it can’t be less wider or wider than your side panels or else it will make the cornice board stick off the wall or the cleat will not actually reach the wall (due to the side panels)…does that make sense? Therefore, that’s why our cleat was 2″ wide and our side panels were also 2″ wide = same width!!

…Okay so you’ve cut your boards now. I suggest that if you’re doing multiple windows that are identical in size, cut all the boards at the same time and then make sure they actually are the same size!

Step 4: Cover the boards in Batting

Now imagine it’s Christmas time and you’re wrapping gifts! Start by covering each board individually in batting. Yes, cover the front panels and side panels each individually. Fold the corners like you would in wrapping a gift to make sure that they are tight and clean looking. Make sure the batting is tight with no lumps. Secure batting to the plywood with your staple gun. NOTE: You don’t have to have the batting cover the back of the plywood.

cornice board batting 1

Cornice Boards batting 2

Step 5: Cover the boards in Fabric

Alright, now be even more careful than you were with the batting. Clean lines, clean angles, pull tight…and GO! Do the exact same thing as you just did, but cover in your pretty fabric! Here was my fabric:

cornice fabric

((here’s some photos of covering with fabric from the Blog tutorial I used:))

Cornice Boards fabric covering

((Please notice that if your fabric has stripes, a geometric pattern, etc that you need to MAKE SURE that your fabric is straight and not cock-eyed))

Cornice Boards fabric covering 2

Step 6: Secure cleat to wall

The cleat will be secured to the wall about 2-3 inches below where you want the top of your front panel to hit and roughly centered on the window. Screw the cleat into studs in the wall with your long screws, but first make sure it’s LEVEL!

cornice cleat

Step 7: Attach front panel to side panels

Now it’s time to attach the side boards (long and skinny boards) to the main front panel. Use 1 Simpson Strong tie for each side panel. Just line up and screw them together using your short screws (make sure the length of the screw isn’t longer than the width of the plywood). You may have to cut away some fabric so that there isn’t too much thickness beneath the Strong Tie and that’s fine! Do the exact same thing on both sides and on each window cornice.

cornice simpson strong ties

Step 8: Glue your Trim

If you’ve decided to finish off the look of the cornice with a piece of trim, then follow this step. I wanted a trim along the top and bottom of my cornice and wanted to go with a neutral burlap. So, grabbing your trusty glue gun, attach the trim section by section to make sure that the trim attaches successfully when the hot glue is still hot and sticky!

cornice trim

((Below is the trim of the Blog I followed))

Trim 2

Step 9: Screw Simpson Strong Ties into Back of Front Panel

Take 2 Simpson Strong Ties per window and place about 2-3 inches from the top of the panel. Space evenly from one another and the ends from the right to left so that the weight is evenly distributed when hung. This is unfortunately a part of the process that I forgot to take photos of…and it also might be the most confusing so I drew you a picture (be thankful!). Make sure that the Strong Ties are equal in distance from the top of the panel or else when you hang it, the cornice will be unlevel.


Now once you have placed them, screw the Simpson Strong Ties into the plywood with your short screws. Make sure that you screw it in according to the above diagram, where it is in a 90 degree position like a table so that the top of the Simpson Strong Tie can now rest on the top of the cleat in the wall.

Step 10: Hang the cornice board

Now you simply rest the cornice board on the cleat by the Simpson Strong Tie that you just screwed in. Make sure it is even on the window right to left and make sure it is level. Then, use screws to secure the panel to the cleat.

Step 11: Stand back and take in your hard work!

I hope this tutorial was helpful! And now for one more AFTER picture:

cornice boards after 2


Lauren Schauer


One thought on “Cornice Boards!!!

  1. Pingback: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas… | house to home

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