Should I add cornices in my living room?

In my incredibly slow quest to “finish” my cottage I’ve had a reoccurring, often late at night, nagging thought that I should add cornices over my living room windows.  I love the way the simple white Ikea curtains look with the added black grosgrain trim, but the cheap Ikea hardware does not make me very happy.  So my thought is I have two options: 1) Invest in nicer hardware or 2) cover up that hardware with matching cornice boards.

DM living room corner white curtains black trim{ My current living room curtain situation }

Cornice PROS:

I like the clean tailored look

It would make my windows seem higher

Cornice CONS:

I’d have to make it.  Uggg.

Too busy? / Stuffy?

Here are a few of my favorite rooms with matching trimmed cornices and curtains…

cornice coral trimmedBetsy Burnham

cornice boards and white curtains anna burke lonny


cornice coral trimmed caitlin wilson

Caitlin Wilson

cornice with black tape trim

Courtney Giles

That last one is pretty fancypants, right?

PS- I now want to paint my bedroom black.


And I didn’t show any shapely cornices… just doesn’t feel right in my space.

Happy Tuesday!

  1. Sonel

    Yes to cornices! I made some for the HUGE windows in my sons nursery and they came out great! As a matter of fact they look exactly like the ones in the first inspiration picture. I used the incredibly easy tutorial from little green notebook. You use foam core board instead of wood as the structure. They’re super light and inexpensive. Once they’re up they are identical to the wooden ones. Here’s the link

    • Naomi

      Ooo great! Thanks, Sonel.

  2. Yay yay a thousand times yay. Is my vote.

  3. I think if you put a solid color or a neutral pattern it would be great. Otherwise, unless you have a set theme for the room, other patterns just won’t work.

  4. Usually not a fan of the cornice, but that last cornice with the Greek Key may make me a believer. Definitely adds some polish and structure to the overall design so why not go for it?

  5. Bonnie Cramer

    I am not a professional designer. I say if you have cornices, get rid of the shades. Together they would take away from the airiness of the room and seem too heavy. Up grade the hardware. Beautiful room.

  6. Lucy

    I don’t think you need them, but I think if you do use them it will look nice, either way. If you use them it will bring more drama and you might have to change the space up a little.

  7. Rissi

    Yes, cornices would add polish. The hardware detract from overall good look.

  8. Vicki

    I think cornices would look great. Like that they’d add height and cover that space between ceiling and window. Add some black grograin like you did for the curtains. Lovely!

  9. Tracy

    yes yes yes 100% Love the tailored look and you can always remove them when you want a change.

  10. Lynn

    I would upgrade the hardware. I’m afraid you might lose “your look” with cornices. I really like the simplicity of the panels.

  11. anton

    Yes, cornices like the Caitlin Wilson or the Lonny photo would give it a nice touch by bringing a little formality…but a fresh formality which works with your style….and bring everything together. And, it’s not a slow quest to finish your cottage. You’ve done a lot in a fairly short period of time given you are busy with full time interior design!!! And… I am 5 yrs in my house and …..I just completed my main floor (almost) and am 1/2 way mish mash done on top and basement floors….:) That’s slow !!!
    Enjoy the process…that’s what really counts!!!

  12. Lisa

    Your curtains already look amazing, however finishing off with cornices would look really polished.

  13. Yes, I do think they would look great in this situation as long as you kept them simple like your first photo – nothing too busy. Maybe buy one more Ikea curtain and make them out of it so you can make sure they match the curtains perfectly – it’s amazing how many shades of white there actually are out there! As a side note, it looks like you make be able to slip your box cornice directly over your existing Ikea brackets to save drilling more holes.

  14. Kelsey

    I think you should go for the cornices! Perhaps don’t do anything too decorative with them; I think what that area needs is some streamlined simplicity – not another focal point. However, for me, it’s always better to do a sort of “mock-up” to see exactly how it would look in MY space – use paper and tape to give yourself the basic shape and color of what you’d like to do & see what you think when you take a step back!

  15. I vote to upgrade the hardware. Cornices are just not my thing. I think they look a bit outdated and I love gorgeous hardware way more! Just my vote. 🙂

  16. I love cornices, but in this case I vote for upgrading hardware if it’s really bugging you. To me the cornice and the shades would compete and be too busy. Too many horizontal planes, if that makes sense.

  17. Jo

    My first reaction is yes to the cornices. Your inspiration photos are stunning. My only concern is how the cornices would look with the other windows in the adjoining spaces. Can’t wait to see what you decide.

  18. Heather

    For SURE! they aren’t that hard to make. 🙂

  19. Jennifer

    As tailored and pretty as cornices are, I would worry about your corner situation. How tailored will a cornice look butted up against a corner? With yet another cornice jetting in front? I feel that visually they require more “side space”.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed following your cottage reno as well as your client projects. Keep up the great work!

    • Naomi

      Haha… Is that a NO, Jenny?

  20. I may be among the few dissenters, but I vote to upgrade the hardware. My worry is that the wooden blinds + cornices will reduce the airiness of the light, and might close in the space a bit. Plus, the opposite side of the room has that little window – would it feel naked (not in a good way) without a cornice? Would you feel pressured to put cornices on the dining room windows since the spaces are open to one another? However, that said, the first option is lovely, and I’m sure if you DO decide to put some in they’ll be fabulous. I’m glad I could help confuse you further. 😉

    • Naomi

      Totally get what you are saying, Kati. The dining room windows are tricky with the arch over them that lowers the ceiling. I’m just treating them as two different areas. Right now there are no curtains over there at all. I wish I could take the arch out but I don’t want to get into that much $$$

      Thanks for the input!

  21. Yes. I am in the process of slapping a few together to hide a flaw in my room design. Super easy, super fast…go for it.

  22. I don’t think you need them. But I’m sure they’ll be beautiful if you make them. Also, I love your current bedroom color. Don’t go changin’….

  23. Yes, I think they would look great in your room. You will like them much better than that hardware. I’ve made 100’s of them but just realized that I don’t have any in my current home……

  24. Fo sho. Cornices suit you and they would look like $1,000,000…even though I know it’s one more project. Hey — and once you master that, want to make me some, too? 🙂

  25. i love them! i really want to make some for my room!

  26. Kristen

    I typically go for a less structured look my curtains, but I think it would look really really good in your space. I say go for it!

  27. Devaney

    I like the simple ones you have shown. Stay away from fancy ones because I have them in my house (all 3 bedrooms and kitchen) and they are a total headache (scalloped bottoms). I’m learning to sew with one reason being able to sew some kind of cover for them. The one in my bedroom at my bay(ish) window covers 3 windows but is one piece all put together. I tend to like having them more than not having them, but I just wish they weren’t a scalloped bottom so covering them would be easier. I’m also afraid to remove them and see the damage that is probably done to the trimwork underneath (the owners prior to me seem to have been morons). Anyway, I say go for it!

  28. The ikea hardware doesn’t bother me — but I do think that cornices would look great. And of course, I’d love to read about the process as it comes together. Love your blog!

  29. Hmm…i gotta say, im not a fan =/. i think your room looks beautiful the way it is. Cornice’s remind me of a hotel lobby, but not in a good way lol. You have a great eye for design, so I’m sure you know what will look best though 🙂


  30. Yes, definitely yes to cornice. It would look great in your room, it would finish the drapes! At least is what I think. I am procastinating doing them for my two daughters’ bedroom,,, I will do it, eventually!!

    I will never tire of admiring your designs!

  31. At first I thought it was a no from me. But, after seeing those gorgeous rooms, I think that they would elevate the look of your living room. Not that I know anything about design and decor, just my cent 😉

    • Naomi

      Gaby, you don’t have to know about design to know what looks good to you! Thanks for the input.

  32. Angeline

    Team cornice!

  33. Cathy

    Go for it! Especially love the last idea. Plus I would think that they would be pretty simple to do for an experienced DIY-er such as yourself!!!

  34. Ashley

    Cornices are pretty easy to make. Even with a wooden foundation, there’s really only a few cuts involved and you can go clean and simple with the fabric. I think if you kept the cornice white with a little contrasting trim (like you have on your panels), they’d look great!

    • Naomi

      Thanks, Ash! I remember you made them for your last place. I may consult with you 🙂

  35. I know your busy and don’t want to do it but I kind of like the idea……

  36. YES to a simple cornice! I like the ones that go to the ceiling and have trim at the bottom. Simple, clean, not too decoratorey. Perfectly practical.

    Make me some while you’re at it, pretty please?

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