Fabric covered cornice boards are a classic window treatment that never goes out of style. They are easy to DIY, and they can dress a window up or down.
Read along to find out how these window treatments can add architectural interest, visual height, and a custom look to your windows for a lot less than other window treatments.
So here’s the story.
I love the two large windows in my eat-in kitchen, but they presented a huge design challenge when I began to consider my window treatment options.
I don’t know why builders put different size windows in the same room, but one is a double, full length window, and the other is a 3-panel window with a sliding door.
I love the view from this space, and the last thing I wanted to do was cover it with heavy window treatments, so I had to do some problem solving.
Here are the design dilemmas:
- different size windows in the same room
- need to maximize the view
- sliding door to the deck had to stay functional
I could leave them bare, but I would prefer something to soften the space.
Option 1: Curtains
I love full length curtains, and they would certainly maximize the view. The photo below shows how the soften a room and frame the large windows on three sides. This was just the look I wanted!
However, one of my windows has a sliding door that opens from the far left side, and curtains would hide the door handle and make it awkward to slide the door open. The inspiration photo below makes me drool, and I adore the checked fabric, but this look just won’t work for my space.
Option 2: Woven Blinds
I’m a huge fan of woven blinds, and the photo below shows how they add texture and interest to a room. Swoon!
A total aside, can we just pause for a moment and collectively gasp at the beaded chandelier? Feel free to take a moment and catch your breath. For the love!
OK, if you’ve sufficiently recovered from a moment of lighting envy, back to window treatment dilemmas. You can’t beat woven blinds for beauty and texture, but an inside mount like this would take away some the view and draw attention to the fact that my windows are different heights.
Did I mention one that one of my windows has fabric pleated shades between the glass panes and the other window has pleated shades outside the glass. Could there be any more issues to deal with?
Since the existing pleated shades gave me the light control I need, I decided to keep them and continue looking for a way disguise the different height of the windows.
Option 3: Roman Shades
I love Roman shades, and I could mount them above the window frame to maximize the view, but I had to consider that you can see the mounting from the side view in my kitchen.
Look at the photo below. These outside mount Roman shades are sooooo pretty, and the outside mount would hide the fact that one of my windows is taller than the other, but there is a design problem in my space. Look at the shade on the far right in the window below. Do you see how you can see behind the shade from the side view? Both of my windows are viewed from the side, and I wasn’t comfortable with how far my shades will stick out from the wall.
I like how the blinds in the photo above hug the wall, but mine would stand out too far. Before you choose a window treatment, imagine how it will look from different viewpoints. Roman shades just weren’t the best choice for me.
Find out more about Roman shade at this wonderful blog, drawn, windows with attitude. These are the experts!
Option 4: Fabric Covered Cornice Boards
There wasn’t a perfect solution (Where’s my magic decorating wand???), but fabric covered cornice boards were the best choice for me. Here’s why.
- They are mounted high over the window frame to maximize the view.
- They won’t interfere with opening the sliding door.
- They hide the height differences of the two windows.
There are many cornice shapes to choose from, and this illustration is just a small sample. I chose the C-10, a wide scallop. The curves help so soften all the rectangular shapes in the room.
Here’s my inspiration photo from Style Your Senses, one of my favorite blogs. I love how the black trim provides such a strong contrast and adds architectural interest. I also have a strong pattern on my seat cushions, so a solid fabric seemed like a good choice.
With this inspiration in mind, I found a cream-colored linen fabric on sale at Joanne’s and spent only $28. It closely matches my wall color, Muslin by Benjamin Moore.
Then I looked for simple black trim that was easy on the budget. Again, why can’t I just have a fairy godmother to take away my decorating frustrations? How hard can it be to find reasonably priced black trim? Apparently it’s about as hard as finding comfortable glass slippers to wear to the ball. I spent weeks on the hunt! I almost ordered a gorgeous trim from a home decor store, but I couldn’t justify spending $275 on trim. Nuh uh!
When I found this Greek key trim at a local discount fabric store, I just about had a cow. It was gorgeous, and it only cost $7.50 a yard, for a total of $45. Wowza!!!!! I bought all they had and prayed that it would work.
When I held it against the fabric, it didn’t pop enough, so I got out a black permanent marker (Oh yes I DID!), and started to color the two beige borders. It worked! Now it really had the high contrast I was going for.
I’m not going to do a tutorial for covering a cornice board because there are so many good ones on Pinterest, but I used a staple gun and a hot glue to attach the fabric and trim.
A fabric-covered cornice may not have been my first choice, but it fit the form and function test, and it helped to disguise the wacky window problems. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. The bold pattern on the chair seats doesn’t compete with the solid fabric of the cornices. The windows look like they are the same height, and the sliding door is only obstructed by the dog sleeping in front of it. Can you see her ears popping up? Somehow she always manages to sneak into the shot.
I call that some good DIY magic! When you consider options for window treatments, especially in rooms that don’t have matching windows, ask yourself these questions:
- How does the window/door need to function?
- What is the problem I’m trying to disguise or minimize?
- How can I control the light?
- Do I need more pattern, texture, or architectural interest?
- What window treatment solves most of these issues?
I’d love to add woven shades in the future, but for now, I can live with the pleated shades. You can see them just under the cornice, but the shape of the cornice and the trim draws your eye away from this design flaw.
Every house has its quirks, so sometimes you just enhance another feature to make the quirks disappear. I hope this post helps you to choose window treatments that work best with your space, and fabric covered cornice boards might just work for you too!
Well, cornices give me easy access to the sliding door, but I just have to figure out a way to get around the lazy dog.