How to make a window cornice

Window treatments were at the top of my list of things to change about my new LA apartment. I just couldn’t live with those vertical blinds and had to find a way to cover up or get rid of them! This first thing I did was take down those vertical slats and put up curtains using the existing vertical blind hardware. I also came up with a design to make an upholstered cornice (also sometimes called a valance) that is a simple and inexpensive way to hide the existing plastic cornice that’s not so pretty. Saying goodbye to those vertical blinds felt so good and my curtains and DIY upholstered cornice/valance completely changed the look of the window, adding that much-needed touch of style and architectural detail to my apartment.


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  1. Pingback: Isabelle LaRue of Engineer Your Space Gives Us The Dirt on DIY | Appliance Parts Pros Blog

  2. Tricia

    Any ideas for upgrading mini blinds?

    Did you come up with a way to camouflage that A/C unit? I have a tall heating unit in my apartment that’s the first thing my eye goes to when I walk in 😛

  3. Murtaza

    Hello Isabelle, I’m a renter just like, trying to figure out ways to lower my expenses in keeping the apartment look modern. I stumbled upon your youtube channel while looking for ways to hide the exhaust fan in the bathroom which has this big closed glass window with a fan fixed in the middle. I was wondering if you could help me out by giving some tips on how can I go about hiding this thing. I have bought pleated blinds from IKEA called SCHOTTIS but was unable to fix them as the fan is protruding out wide and plus it blocks the ventilation if fixed on the window borders. Please help me out.

    • Isabelle

      It’s hard to see exactly how the whole thing looks but you could add a frame that’s 3/4″ thick around the existing window frame and install the blinds on that so the blinds hang away from the window.

      • Murtaza

        I was thinking to the same. Rather going for the thick frame, I thought of just adding a shelf on top and then hanging the blinds from it. Lets see how it comes up. Thanks for the reply. You are doing a great work. Keep it up 🙂

  4. James

    Hello Isabelle,

    I stumbled across your Youtube page today and I’m now an instant fan of your videos and tips. I want to install drapes over my living room window, but don’t want to remove the blinds that are already there. Most facilities have the blinds within the window pane. Unfortunately, this location has the blinds hanging over the window pane.

    I’d rather not remove the blinds because they block out the sun, but I just want to hang my drapes over them. I saw what you did in Season 2, Ep 12, but I just need a little more clarification. I would need “window cornice brackets” and a “wood dowel” to complete this?

    • Isabelle

      Hi James,

      Thank you so much, glad to hear you’re a fan! From the picture, it looks like the installation of your vertical blinds is similar to the one I have. The window cornice brackets are what holds up the plastic piece that covers the hanging hardware of the vertical blinds (it’s part of the existing installation). The only thing that I bought was the wood dowel that slips into the brackets. Hope this makes sense! Isabelle

  5. Sowmya Purushothaman

    Hi Isabelle,

    Thank you so much for sharing your DIYs. I want to take away the blinds in the living room and replace with a curtain/sheer. I thought your idea is brilliant and wanted to follow the technique. However, I discovered that my blinds are slightly different from yours in that they dont have a hole. Instead they are like clips that hold the blind strip. Would punching a hole in the curtain and slipping it in work?

    Many many thanks

    • Isabelle LaRue

      Hi Sowmya, You’re welcome! My blinds are also held by clips – the drapery hooks are thin enough to fit in the space in the middle of the clip but thick enough so that they don’t slip through. Hope this makes sense!

    • Isabelle LaRue

      Here’s a picture that might help

  6. Jill

    Love engineer your space.
    Are written instructions for the cardboard/firing strips cornice on your site?
    I have the tools and supplies- i just need written instructions to follow.
    Thank you,
    Jill Maxey

    • Isabelle LaRue

      Hi Jill, Thanks! I haven’t written the instructions out but I covered all the steps in the video. Thanks again! Isabelle

  7. I just completed installing the window cornice made from your video Isabelle, and it came out perfect! I’ll also upload a picture of the finished product. I’m looking forward to viewing new room renovation designs from you. Thank you so much for sharing your skills.

    • Isabelle LaRue

      That’s great to hear!And yes, please upload or email me a picture of your finished project, I would love to see it!

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