Our main aim in this paper is to promote the coframe variational method as a unified approach to derive field equations for any given gravitational action containing the algebraic functions of the scalars constructed from the Riemann curvature tensor and its contractions. We are able to derive a master equation which expresses the variational derivatives of the generalized gravitational actions in terms of the variational derivatives of its constituent curvature scalars. Using the Lagrange multiplier method relative to an orthonormal coframe, we investigate the variational procedures for modified gravitational Lagrangian densities in spacetime dimensions n >= 3. We study the well-known gravitational actions such as those involving the Gauss-Bonnet and Ricci-squared, Kretchmann scalar, Weyl-squared terms and their algebraic generalizations similar to generic f(R) theories and the algebraic generalization of sixth order gravitational Lagrangians. We put forth a new model involving the gravitational Chern-Simons term and also give three-dimensional new massive gravity equations in a new form in terms of the Cotton 2-form.