5 Ways to Use Crown Molding in Your Home

Crown Molding on Ceiling and Wall
Douglas Sacha / Getty Images
  • 01 of 06

    Crown Molding Is a Classic Solution

    Crown molding is often viewed as one of those magical fixes that you can use to accessorize your home with very little work. In a sense, this is true: Crown molding is fairly easy to install if you have a power nailer and a power miter saw. After installation, crown molding looks great and adds an air of timelessness to many homes.

    Yet crown molding is not suitable for every style of home, and it certainly can be overused and misused. A house aiming for a modern look is not well suited for crown moldings. In short, you want to avoid having elaborate, stacked crown molding in a plain, flat house with no other ornamentation because it simply not fit the style. At the same time, simply adding crown molding does not give your home instant classic style. And you need to keep the rest of the house commensurate with the crown molding. Crown molding is only one feature of classically styled homes—most also have wainscotbaseboards, bulls-eyes, and other types of trim.

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  • 02 of 06

    Install Crown Molding Between the Wall and Ceiling

    Crown Molding on Ceiling and Wall
    Douglas Sacha / Getty Images


    The most popular manner of installing crown molding is to mount it at a 45-degree angle at the point where the ceiling and walls meet. At the corners where the walls meet, the moldings can be joined with mitered joints or with coped joints. A coped crown molding is a sign of true craftsmanship, as this requires considerable skill. 

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  • 03 of 06

    Dress Up Cabinet Soffits

    Crown Molding Covering Cabinet Soffits
    TerryJ / Getty Images

    Cabinet soffits are the spaces between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling. Some homeowners decide to extend the cabinets all the way to the ceiling, eliminating soffits altogether. You can also box in the soffit space by framing it and covering it with drywall surface. Other homeowners retain the soffits but undertake various solutions to make this potentially dark, gloomy space look better.

    One very simple idea is to run a strip of crown molding along the top edge of the cabinets. Similar to attaching crown molding to architectural parapets, the upper portion of the cabinet crown molding hangs freely in mid-air. Running crown molding in this fashion covers up choppy-looking cabinet edges and adds an air of distinction to any kitchen or bathroom.

    An electric miter saw, a few strips of crown molding, and a power nailer are all you need to finish off the top edge of kitchen or bathroom cabinets.

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  • 04 of 06

    Install Crown Molding Over an Interior Doorway

    Crown Molding Over Interior Doorway
    Brian Moloney / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Trim is, of course, a necessity with interior wall openings mounted with passage doors. When doors are installed, a wide gap is left between the frame and the wall. The only way to cover up that gap is with trim.

    Wall passages without mounted doors do not always require trim, but even here, installing crown molding is a good visual aid to signify and dignify the entrance to a living room or a dining room.  Also, if one of the rooms is elaborately trimmed or has a coffered ceiling, the entrance crown molding acts as a lead-in to introduce the next room's style.

    To finish off the edges of the crown molding, be sure to cut returns. These tiny bits of crown molding turn the molding back into the wall at a 90-degree angle, hiding the open ends of the molding.

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  • 05 of 06

    Finish the Tops of Partial Walls

    Crown Molding on Top of Wall
    Brian Moloney / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Some homes have walls that extend upward but stop short of meeting the ceiling. One common example of this are closets that are built retroactively into a tall-ceiling house and which stop short of the ceiling. One idea for finishing off this hanging top edge is with crown molding.

    Crown molding can be nailed onto the edge of these protrusions to act as parapets, with the top of the crown simply floating in mid-air. This is an easy way to define that space and it can hide upward-projecting lights or rope lights.

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  • 06 of 06

    Finish Headers on Entry Doors

    Crown Molding On Door Header
    Brian Moloney / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    A great idea for dressing up an exterior entry door header is to install crown molding along the top. This easy crown molding idea is similar to attaching crown molding to the top edges of cabinets—the upper part of the crown is not attached to anything. Here, too, short return pieces should be cut and installed to finish off the ends of the molding. 

    One downside is that the top surface of the molding can accumulate dust and dirt. However, you can easily suck out debris with a home vacuum fitted with a hose and attachments. Paint this crown molding the same color as the header and door trim.