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Wooden Window Cornices Upgrade

When we bought our home, I thought we were so lucky because all of the windows had some kind of window treatment already.  Although they were definitely not my taste, I was satisfied because 1. the house looked a little decorated and not just an empty space 2. I didn’t have to tap into my bank account so soon after buying the house to adorn all of the windows immediately (thank goodness!).  I could use what was there for a while until I wanted to change/upgrade them.

Well, it’s been a few years and now was the time for the valance curtains in our kitchen nook to go bye bye!! I’ve been updating this area slowly…new chairs, cute chalk board, shelf for my (faux) plants, live plants near the sliding door to the deck, table center pieces, drapes, cute sign, etc. But, I found myself never satisfied with it because of those darn valances!!!! Anything I bought, moved in, out or around in this space didn’t take the focus off of the curtains. Let’s take a look at the before…
See!?  I don’t know about you, but the first thing I see is the valance curtains! Red-orange yellowish decor is not what I pictured for this space (or any space in our home). I mean, I guess it looks ok, but…meh..I thought it could look a lot better. And yes, I know I could take them down and leave the windows bare, but I’ve been spoiled since day one with window treatments, I couldn’t NOT have some type of cornice, valance…something there!

Fast forward to a few months ago.  I was really getting tired of the valances killing the vibe of the kitchen nook, so I went on a search for easy, cheap DIY options I could do to upgrade. It wasn’t until I was perusing my favorite woodworking DIY site and came across these wooden window cornice plans! The Shanty sisters hasn’t failed me yet! 

I finished a few other projects I’d had in progress during the week so that on the weekend, I could just focus on these.  The weekend came, and I took a trip to The Home Depot for supplies (see plans for the list)!

My plan was to not start from scratch.  Use some of  what I already had. I’m all about saving a dollar when and where I can.  You can’t see it, but in the before picture of the nook, there’s a 1×4 board that the curtains are stapled to.  It’s already measured to size of the windows.  So, I used that as my 1×4 board the plans call for instead of buying new ones. No need to reinvent the wheel completely, right?

I followed the building plans verbatim as far as assembling the cornices. My modifications were they way I mounted my cornices to the wall, mine are tailored to the size of my windows and, I stained and painted them differently.

In the plans, the Shanty sister used a 1×2 to mount her cornices to the wall.  Whoever hung the valances in my before picture used L braces, so I just removed the screws that held the 1×4 in place, kept the braces installed on the wall and used them to mount my cornices when I was done.  Since I wanted mine mounted to the top of the ceiling/bulkhead with no space the same way the valances were installed, it made since to just use the L  braces that were already there.  There were two braces for each cornice. Each maybe 2 inches or so from edges of the cornice.  The braces look similar to this and can be found at any hardware/home improvement store. I think the technical name for them is corner braces?


Now to the finish.  I sanded them lightly with 220 grit sand paper with my sander (because that was all I had on hand, but a 150-180 grit will work just fine).  I did this to smooth out all of the rough edges and to make an even surface for staining and painting.  I applied Miniwax wood conditioner.  Then, stained them with one coat of Miniwax weathered oak.  I let it dry overnight.  I then white washed the cornices with Valspar chalk paint (I use just the base chalk paint color for my whitewashes, no tint added.  I just buy it as is).

Close up of chalk paint Medium Base , no tint can

For this white wash, I painted on a light coat over the entire cornice and used a damp sponge to kind of wipe it off/rub it into the wood.  Sorry, I didn’t get any progress pictures of the actual process (I have to remember to document more…bear with me, I’m still learning this blog thing), but here’s a close up of what it looks like.


Mounting them to the wall was the easiest part, since the L braces were already installed.  I just slid the 1×4 onto the braces and secured the cornices with a screw through the brace into the 1×4 on each end.  

And done!! 


Let’s see a side by side before and after…

Our kitchen nook looks so much brighter now! LOVE!

 Decor items pictured:

Chairs:  Target

Chalkboard: World Market 

Arrow shelf: World Market 

Before centerpiece: Vase-Ikea, Vase filler-Ikea

After centerpiece: Vase-HomeGoods (but I’ve seen these at Target as well), Billy Buttons-Hobby Lobby

Farmer’s Market sign: Decor Steals

Vases on arrow shelf: Target and Ikea

Faux plants and succulents on arrow shelf: Ikea and Michaels

Bottle vase and faux tulips on arrow shelf: Michaels

Rug: Target

Curtains: Target

Plant Vase: Ikea

4 thoughts on “Wooden Window Cornices Upgrade

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