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.
There is no end to the questions that arise when you are redecorating your home. How high should the curtains hang? Is this rug big enough for the living room, and should the crown molding match the cabinets?
Crown molding should match the cabinets, as a general rule of thumb, if it is primarily placed above the cabinets, or if cabinets circle the entire room. Paint the trim. If the trim carries on past the cabinets into a larger space, then paint it to match the other moldings in the room.
Ideally, your trim and paintings will all match, but there are many situations where this may not be possible or even preferred. Read on to learn more about what crown molding is and when it should (and shouldn’t) match the cabinets.
What Is Crown Molding?
Crown molding is the decorative trim that runs between the topmost portion of the wall and the ceiling. Originally, crown molding was put in place to help cover any gaps between the two surfaces. Over time, general construction quality increased, and household trims became mainly decorative while hiding flaws became a secondary function.
You can find other moldings in the home running between the joint of the floor and the wall. These are often called baseboards and help to disguise fabrication gaps between the two surfaces. Similar trims are also found around doorways, windows, and fireplaces.
Crown molding can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. Subtly rounded seams can disguise themselves along the walls, or extravagant floral patterns can run the length of the room. Crown molding, whether you pay attention to it or not, influences your home’s essential feeling.
Do You Need Crown Molding?
Since crown molding is mainly decorative, do you need it? While you could forgo this upper molding, it adds a lot of design value to your home.
The concentric lines running around the topmost of the room draw the human eye upward, making the ceiling seem higher and the room seem larger. The crown molding shape also adds depth and style to the room without much effort at all.
Crown moldings come in a multitude of shapes and patterns. Embellished floral patterns make your home seem formal and rich, while minimalistic edges accent your house with clean lines.
Why Match Crown Molding and Cabinets
The same crown molding pattern is generally used throughout the entirety of the home. However, some people choose different designs for different rooms. As long as the entire home still has the same cohesive feeling, using alternating crown moldings will impress your keen-eyed guests who know that this level of detail comes at no small cost.
If you use a different type of crown molding in your kitchen than you do the rest of your home, the best option is to match your upper trim to your cabinets. Since the molding in these rooms is different from the rest of the house anyway, you can paint them a different shade without any objection.
Another situation in which your crown molding should match your cabinets is if you have a small, separate kitchen. By this, we mean a fully enclosed room found in more traditional-style homes. Open concept homes will usually have a kitchen that leads into the dining or living room, but traditional and transitional homes often have kitchens in their separate room.
If this is the case, then your cabinets and crown molding should match, as the trim relates to the kitchen in particular, not the entire home.
When You Don’t Have To Match Crown Molding and Cabinets
If you live in a modern home with an open-concept kitchen, then your crown molding in your kitchen should match the rest of the house, not the cabinets. If your moldings matched your cabinets, you would carry the cabinet color throughout the entire home, which might not work the best for your overall design.
You would likely not match the cabinets and the crown molding if your cabinets are a dark color. Crown moldings are almost always white or cream-colored, as a dark crown molding immediately makes the ceiling seem heavier and the room seem smaller.
Dark cabinets can add depth to your kitchen and give the entire room a new look if you are redecorating, but you’re best to leave the crown molding their own lighter shade than to paint them black or grey. You could also paint your moldings a darker color to add depth while keeping the cabinets a lighter shade. Painting them both a deep shade would likely be too much.
Crown Molding in Bathrooms
Crown moldings in bathrooms should, as a general rule, match the cabinets. This is especially true if there are upper cabinets in the bathroom, and they are a shade of white or cream. It will be much less noticeable if the crown molding in the bathroom doesn’t match the rest of the house than if the crown molding doesn’t match the cabinets that it is mounted directly next to.
Should Baseboard Molding Match Cabinets?
The next logical question, if your crown molding should match your cabinets, then shouldn’t your baseboards match them as well?
Baseboards generally follow the same rules as crown moldings: if they are completely contained in a room with lower cabinets, those baseboards should match the cabinets; if the baseboards lead out into a hallway or another open room, then the baseboards should match the trim in the rest of the house.
However, people are more likely to match the crown moldings to the cabinets than match the lower trim to the cabinets. This lower trim is not as well-lit as the crown moldings, so any discrepancies between cupboards and baseboards are much less likely to be noticed.
Does All of the Trim in the House Need To Match?
Design 101 will tell you that matching all of the trim in the house is a simple way to ensure consistency. Design 102 will tell you that there are no rules to design.
While it’s true that painting all of the baseboards, crown moldings, door frames, and window sills the same color will create a consistent look throughout the home, it’s also true that having all of these surfaces the same shade can be boring.
Generally, if you’re working on a project and every room in the home has the same shade of paint on its walls, then the trim should be the same color throughout. This still doesn’t mean that all trim (crown moldings, baseboards, doorways) need to match each other, though this is the easy way to do things.
If you want to add a little more variation to your home, feel free to paint the trim in different colors throughout your home. Whether this means altering the shades from room to room or painting the baseboards darker than the crown moldings, you can always find a unique color palette that works best for your home.
While there are no hard rules for home design, there are many guidelines you can use as a base for your home decor.
When it comes to crown moldings, they should match the cabinets if they are fully contained in the room that the cabinets are in, like an enclosed kitchen or a bathroom with wall-mounted cupboards. If your crown moldings continue into another space, like a hallway or living room, then your crown moldings should match those throughout the rest of the space, and the cabinets can stand on their own.
- Remodelista: What is Crown Molding?
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Construction
- Better Homes & Gardens: Traditional Home
- Google Arts and Culture: Color and Depth
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