Window Cornices

Custom-build your own window cornices for one-fourth the price of store-bought
by Travis Larson

Window cornices are a simple, inexpensive way to dramatically enhance any room. They'll hide ugly drapery rods and add a touch of custom-made detailing that makes an ordinary window or patio door look like something special.

Cornices are surprisingly easy to build, even those elegant ones you see in home magazines. Using off-the-shelf trim from the home center and a compound miter saw, anyone with simple carpentry skills can create a beautiful window or door cornice in just a few hours. The top of the cornice can function as display space for art or collectibles.

If this sounds interesting, read on and we'll show you how to select the materials, assemble the parts and attach the cornice to the wall. We'll also share design tips to help you match a cornice style to your home's décor.

Build it yourself and save big bucks


Search the Internet for cornice suppliers and you'll see that you can save huge money by building your own. One site offers custom cornices for $3 to $7.50 per inch! Depending on the style, that's between $210 and $525 for a cornice for a 6-ft. patio door, plus shipping. Build your own and you can expect to spend about one-fourth that. The materials for the style we show in the how-to photos add up to about $5.60 per foot, or about $45, plus paint. Usually the materials are cheap, although selecting upscale trim like a crown molding with dentil blocking ($30 for an 8-ft. length) can drive up the cost. For a look at just a few styles, see "Designing Your Cornice," p. 58.

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