What is a Cornice?
A cornice is a type of window treatment which only covers the upper portion of a window. Window treatments with a cornice resemble a hardtop. It comprises of a lot of structural integrity and is usually fashioned out of wood, insulated foam and/or Styrofoam.
It is important to not confuse the cornice window treatments to the use of a cornice in architectural designs. Though the word is the same, they have different connotations in the field of home décor and architecture. As opposed to the meaning of cornice in the context of window treatments, in architecture, cornices are referred to as the projection at the top of walls (where they meet the ceiling). They are very prominent parts of traditional architectural designs, much like the valance.
What is a Valance and How Are They Different From Cornices?
Valances are usually short curtains or drapes that conceal the top of windows. It not only covers the top potions of windows but also acts as a concealment option to the curtain rods as well. A valance can also be confused with a window swag. Window swags, (often also called as window scarves) are pieces of fabric that are spun around a curtain rod. The major difference between valances and scarves are their respective structural integrities. Moreover, valances are better options if you think that concealment is to be your top priority.
When it comes to cornices and valances, it has to be acknowledged that they have many similarities. For instance, their purpose is identical, which is to cover the top part of the window. Both these window treatments also apply the use of fabric to a certain degree. Since these features are the predominant features of a valance or a cornice, it has led to one being referred to as the other interchangeably, and many people or professionals often no longer make the distinction. However, there are certain discernible features that set them apart. The main difference is that cornices have a harder structure and composition while valances are softer. Even though both of them are fashioned out of fabric, cornices are layered, which gives them a harder exterior. The fabric of valances on the other hand, are suspended from a rod.
How Do I Decide If I Want Cornices In My Home?
You might have found out about cornices by seeing them at someone’s place, or online and are contemplating getting them for your home. The problem that people often face when they are deliberating buying cornices is the question of whether they want they will suit the aesthetic of their home and will it complement their style and preferences.
The following suggestions will help you make that decision by explaining exactly what you are getting into –
- If you have, for instance, roller shades, wooden blinds or any similar window treatment, which looks to be in good taste, but at the same time, you want to set yourself apart from many others who have similar home décor styles, cornices can be just the addition to your arsenal that can achieve that. They will cover the upper portion of the window, while still showing of the shades or blinds along with the contrasting fabric of the cornices.
- Instead of shades and blinds, if you want to go with curtains instead, adding a cornice with a fabric that contrasts with the fabric of the curtain can give the window treatment just the look it needs to get a few second glances.
- If you are faced with the dilemma of choosing between valances and cornices, it depends on the look you want to go for. For instance, valances give a more royal look to your home. It gives off a vibe of formalness. On the other hand, cornices make the room look more polished. This should help you decide what type of window treatment you want.
How Do I Make a Cornice Window Treatment?
One of the best advantages of using a cornice window treatment is that they can be made at home. They are fairly simple to make. There is nothing wrong with seeking professional help. But, if you are looking to not only add a window treatment, but also for a therapeutic experience and a chance at creating some bonding experience with your family, making the cornice is a recommended project. Follow the steps listed below to make a cornice –
Disclaimer: Please follow these instructions at your own risk. ZebraBlinds takes no liability for any issues or damaged caused through following DIY methods. Since all blinds and shades are different, we always recommend checking with your blind manufacturer or retailer first before making any modifications to your blinds. As well, if you are uncomfortable on your own, look for the help of a professional.
- Your first step is to measure the dimensions of the curtain rod upon which you will placing your cornice. You will want to account for an additional inch and a half to two inches at both ends of the rod. This is to accommodate and create extra room for the valance.
- Pick a wood board that has a plywood like finish. The board must be split into four pieces. Of these four pieces two of them must be rectangular and ling. They will comprise of the upper and frontal portion of the cornice. The remaining two pieces are small ones that will be the sides of the cornice.
- The measurements of the curtain rod that you took in your first step must be marked on the board and cut up. It is recommended that you use a circular saw or table saw and that safety goggles are worn during these steps.
- The two smaller pieces must be fastened to the frontal piece of the board. You can use adhesive glue to fix them together or screw them together as well.
- Now, you must add some finishing touches to the cornice. In order to give it a polished and professional look, you can use sandpaper to give it a smooth surface.
- At this stage, it is important to decide if you want to paint your cornice or use a piece of fabric over it. Either of these choices do well and it is purely based on personal preferences.
- If you choose to paint it, you must wait for the paint to dry before hanging them. On the other hand, adding fabric has its own set of warnings. Add some strong adhesive (epoxy glue, for example). Add it only along the edges of the fabric or the four corners of the cornice. Usage of excessive glue can affect the texture of the fabric in a negative way.
- The last step is to hang the cornice. Mark the spots on the wall surrounding the window where the cornice treatment will be used. Ensure that they are not attached to the drywall but rather to the wood frame beams. If it is fastened to the drywall, it can compromise the structural integrity of your home.
Cornice window treatments are a low effort and low investment window treatments that can garner a lot of attention. They can complement your blinds, shades or curtains and are highly recommended additions to your home.