Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
Crown molding is a decorative feature that runs along the room’s perimeter and is installed at the junction between the walls and the ceiling. It can be simple or remarkably ornate. Adding crown molding to a room can increase the aesthetic appeal, but if done incorrectly, it can detract from the overall appearance of a room.
In general, if you select crown molding that is wider than 4 inches for a room with low ceilings, it will make the room feel smaller. Rooms with taller ceilings can get away with wider crown molding, and it is best to leave the widest styles of crown molding for very large rooms with tall ceilings.
On the other hand, if you use crown molding that is the appropriate width and the same color as or a lighter color than the room, it will generally make the room seem taller and larger.
The color of your crown molding can also make a difference in the resulting appearance of your room. If you match the color of the molding to the walls, it can make a low-ceiling room look taller.
By keeping a unified color, it tricks the eye into a continued column and gives the illusion of height. Also, if the molding were painted a contrasting color, it would attract attention and draw the eye to notice the low ceiling, so it is better to match the colors.
If you want to know more tips for choosing the right crown molding for your home, including common mistakes to avoid, as well as other crown molding advice, read on below.
What is Crown Molding?
Before getting started, it’s helpful to know exactly what is classified as crown molding. Crown molding is a purely aesthetic trim that is installed where the wall meets the ceiling in a room. It usually runs the entire perimeter of the room. Traditional molding is made of wood or plaster, but it can come in a number of other materials such as various types of plastic.
Crown molding can be simple or incredibly ornate. Originally, crown molding was a way of hiding the cracks that would occur between the walls and the ceiling. Today, it is generally a purely decorative element.
In addition to being placed at the junction between the wall and ceiling, crown molding can also be placed around doors, across fireplace mantels, along bookshelves, or atop cabinets.
Crown molding is a great way to add visual interest to a room and make it look more sophisticated. By taking the extra effort to research how to choose the right crown molding type for your space and learning how to install it properly, you can guarantee an excellent result.
Crown Molding Mistakes to Avoid
The first and sometimes easiest mistake to make with crown molding is simply selecting the wrong size. When choosing molding, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the huge variety of designs and sizes, and what may look absolutely fantastic in the store display may end up looking awful and disproportionate in your home.
1. Picking Molding of the Wrong Size
As a general rule of thumb, you want the width of your crown molding to be proportional to the height of your walls. Most sources recommend that if you have a home with eight-foot ceilings, you should aim to find a crown molding that is between three to five and a half inches. Anything larger than that will look disproportional. Taller ceilings can have moldings of five to seven inches of width. Ceilings taller than ten feet can have even wider moldings if desired.
2. Don’t Paint Molding a Contrasting Color if You Have Low Ceilings
If you have a lower ceiling, choosing a crown molding of a color that contrasts with the walls and ceiling is generally not a good decision. The stark contrast will attract attention to the junction and make it more obvious that the ceiling is low. If you are wanting to give the illusion of a taller ceiling, this is a surefire way to sabotage your efforts.
3. Don’t Install it Yourself Unless You Have the Right Tools and Skills
Installing crown molding by yourself, especially if you have little experience and you don’t have the right tools, can be incredibly challenging. A common mistake is to attempt to install crown molding yourself without the proper resources or knowledge, and the result is usually unappealing. If you’re in doubt, it’s best to hire a professional to do the job right the first time.
4. Don’t Choose a Style that Doesn’t Fit With the Rest of Your Home
Finally, make sure the style of crown molding you select matches the overall aesthetic of your home. If you have a relatively modern home, a sleek, simple molding can offer a great match. However, if you have an older home with many traditional, intricate elements, a more detailed and intricate molding may fit perfectly.
The idea of crown molding is to add a touch of interest and sophistication to a room, but you don’t want it to feel gaudy and out of place. By selecting a style of molding that matches the general aesthetic of the rest of your house, it will feel more natural and look better.
Can You Install Crown Molding Yourself?
As far as home decoration projects go, installing crown molding can be a challenge, especially for novices. Installing crown molding requires very accurate measurements and precise cutting, as well as some basic carpentry techniques. If you aren’t willing to take your time to do the job right or use the right tools, you may end up with a sloppy and unappealing final result.
However, with a little bit of patience and knowledge, you can successfully install crown molding yourself. When buying your crown molding, be sure to know the exact measurements of your room and try to acquire pieces that are long enough to cover the entire length of the wall. Avoid any pieces of molding with flaws or warping.
For the best chance of success, you will need to use a miter saw and a brad nailer to install crown molding. The miter saw allows for much more precise cuts, which is incredibly important when trying to seamlessly join two pieces of the molding at a corner junction.
Before even cutting the first piece of molding, however, it is critical to take accurate measurements. Taking the time to make proper measurements will save a lot of headaches and avoid wasteful miscuts later. If you plan to install your own crown molding, be prepared to make a gauge, record precise lengths of walls and molding, and make careful calculations.
If you are motivated to install molding on your own, you may benefit from checking out this step by step guide for completing the task yourself.
Where to Buy Crown Molding
Crown molding is luckily very to come by, and for most crown molding you don’t need to go to a particular store or distributor. Most retail hardware chain stores will carry some options of crown molding, but in small local stores, it may have to be ordered in from a catalog.
How to Paint Crown Molding
If you do decide to install your own crown molding, you may want to paint the molding yourself. If this is the case, there are some helpful tips to help this process go more smoothly for you.
First of all, it is best to have your wall and ceiling painted before you install the crown molding. If you wait to paint them until after the molding is installed, it is more difficult and there is a greater chance you will accidentally splatter paint onto the moldings.
Also, painting or staining the crown molding before you install it usually makes the task easier. It is much easier to ensure that the paint or stain is even and covers all of the moldings, especially if the molding has ornate details. It is also much easier to paint something in front of you rather than over your head, so wait to install the molding until after it is painted.
Another reason to paint or stain the molding before installing it is it will be much easier to accomplish and neater if the molding is of a different color than the walls or ceiling. If your molding is a different color, you don’t want to accidentally drip paint onto the walls or brush it onto the ceiling. It is much easier to get a clean, precise application if you paint the molding before installing it.
Will Crown Molding Increase the Value of Your Home?
If you are looking to increase the market appeal of your home, crown molding can be a relatively inexpensive and simple way to accomplish this. It adds character and sophistication to an otherwise bland room.
In order for crown molding to increase the value of your home, you need to make sure of a few things. First, you need to make certain the right crown molding is selected, so that the room does not look smaller or out of sync with the rest of the home (see our earlier section for mistakes to avoid when selecting crown molding.)
Second, you need to make sure the crown molding is installed correctly. If you don’t have the tools and expertise to install crown molding yourself, it can look sloppy and uneven, which will do little to improve your home’s value. Hiring professionals can help ensure a headache-free installation and a clean, sophisticated result.
Finally, you also want to make sure the paint of the molding is appropriate and professional. If crown molding is left bare or painted haphazardly, it will do little to increase the value of your home and may actually deter potential buyers. Instead, if the molding is painted neatly in an appropriate color, crown molding can add an appealing architectural accent to a room that can charm potential buyers and increase your home’s overall value.
In conclusion, installing crown molding can be a great way to improve the aesthetic appeal of your home. Through thoughtful selection and painting, you can make a room look bigger and more sophisticated. If you’re looking to liven up a room in your house, look no further than crown molding. It’s a relatively simple and effective way to make any room look more complete.
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