Crown molding is a simple method to add style to any area in your home. With a few carpentry skills and simple equipment, you'll be well on your way to sprucing up the interior of your home with this weekend project. 

Beware that undulating walls, bulging ceilings, and less-than-square corners can make the work more difficult than you might imagine. 

Thankfully, the process involved in installing crown molding is fairly straightforward that even a beginner could do it.

Before starting out, here are a few things to consider;

  1. Is my ceiling too high?            

While crown molding can benefit nearly all rooms, those with high ceilings benefit the most because it creates a visually unifying effect that makes them feel more like a part of the overall design. 

Large, intricate trim would overwhelm a tiny or low-ceiling space, whereas thin crown molding lacks the presence that a large, high-ceiling room requires.

  1. What of my taste?

Consider the vibe you want your room to give, when shopping for crown molding.

In a rustic log cottage, a Victorian-style crown, for example, would look out of place. 

  1. Is the style of my home important?

The layout and arrangement of your room is quite key as well.

Choose crown molding that compliments other trim in the home, such as baseboard molding, window trim, and cabinet trim, to provide visual balance.

The preparation

You will need the following:

  • Crown molding

  • Miter saw

  • Coping saw

  • 18-gauge finish nail gun

  • Ladder

  • Tape Measure

  • Caulk gun and caulk

  • Clamps

  • Fine-grit sandpaper

  • Carpenter’s glue

  • Safety gear 

Step 1: Do a scale drawing of the room

Draw a rough scale drawing of the room on graph paper. As you measure the length of the walls, note these figures on the corresponding walls in your drawing. 

This will act as your guide in determining how much crown molding you need. 

Step 2: Estimate the crown molding length

For each wall, round your measurement up to the nearest foot. Add the measurements together to figure out how much crown molding you'll need.

Rounding up your numbers ensures that you have enough molding to cover any mistakes.

Excess is better than insufficient.

But how do you determine how many pieces to order, even with the measurements? Simple. Once you have selected the crown molding you desire from our vast portfolio, this calculator will help you get the exact order to place.

Step 3: Choose where to begin

Choose a location to begin installing the installation process. Most of the time, it's better to start with the longest piece and work your way out in one direction. 

Step 4: Prepare the room

Move furniture away from the walls and cover surfaces and floors with drop cloth and cardboard. You do not want to be left with paint-splattered seats or shavings all over the tables.

The basic installation procedure

Step 1: Start with the longest wall

Begin by installing a molding piece with two butt-ends on the longest wall (90-degree angles). Because most of the material comes in over 90-inch lengths, the longest wall will probably only require one piece.

Where it requires two pieces, create a scarf joint from two overlapping sections cut to 45-degree angles.

Drive a few nails into the molding to secure it in position.

Step 2: Cutting the corners   

The brunt of the work when installing crown molding comes when cutting the corners. Attaching the molding pieces simply at their square ends will likely leave gaps that expand as the weather changes, and believe me, no amount of caulk will be enough to hide that eye-sore.

Instead, mitered and coped ends will leave a more seamless finish that will hold for a good, long while. Mitered joints will be ideal for outside corners, while coped joints will do better for inside corners.            

Experiment using additional or discarded molding to get the hang of it before making cuts on the actual molding. 

Coped inside corners

  1. The initial inside corner piece should be cut at a 90-degree angle to fit squarely into the bend. 

  2. With a pencil, trace the profile of the molding onto the second corner piece. Trace the profile as precisely as possible using a narrow scrap of molding.

  3. With a coping saw, carefully cut along the pencil line, re-creating the molding's outline as closely as possible. To make minor modifications, use a fingernail file.

  4. Check the fit by aligning the second corner piece with the one you just installed.

  5. Make any required adjustments and nail in place, closing the fissure with a thin layer of carpenter’s glue.

Mitered outside corners

With a miter saw, it is easy to cut the molding as long as you have the angle measurement correct. Often, the assumption is that the walls come together in perfect 90-degree corners. This however is not always the case, as they may actually be a few degrees off a perfect square.

To get this correct angle where you do not have a protractor, try this simple exercise:

  1. At the corner, overlap two 1-by-4 pieces of polyurethane so that about an inch of the material reaches beyond each side of the nook.

  2. Draw lines on the upper piece of the molding to show where the lower piece of the material lay on each edge.

  3. Draw a diagonal line connecting the opposite corners of the two parallel lines you made. Along this line, cut the 1-by-4. This angle indicates the angle at which each of the two bend pieces must be cut.

  4. Set the miter at this angle and cut the actual molding pieces that will go to the wall. Test the fit before securing them in place. Where it needs slight adjustment, use the sandpaper to file gently at the edge until the two pieces fit snugly.

Step 3: The final touches

Even with the best work, it is likely that there will be mishaps here and there. The most accurate angle cuts may still leave small gaps, despite all the effort in measurement and sanding. 

The places where nails are driven into the molding may be too visible for your liking. The crown molding may need a paint job, so it is as dazzling as intended.

When the heavy lifting and the cutting and the installing is done, take a bit of caulk and apply it at these gaps. Be careful to use a small bead of caulk, lest you leave a mound that is difficult to remove once it has dried.

For the nail holes, apply a bit of caulk or putty, which makes for a delightful filler. Smoothen the filler out before allowing it to dry.


One of the questions when it comes to painting is on whether to paint the molding before or after installation. In truth, this all depends on what you are comfortable with. 

It could however be argued that painting the trim before installation will be easier because you’ll be working from waist level rather than overhead. Painting before installation is also less likely to be messy as you’ll be working from one area.

As a perk, all our polyurethane crown molding comes pre-primed and therefore ready to paint.

When determining the paint color, consider the rest of the trim and the walls for inspiration. While white is the quintessential classic color for crown molding, there truly are no limits.

Consider matching the crown molding color with trim such as baseboard, and have these a shade lighter or darker than the walls for contrast. Alternatively, paint the molding the same color as the walls for fluidity in the room. Popular color options for crown molding include black, gray, wood and blue. For more tips on how to paint crown molding, check this read out.

Tips to installing crown molding on kitchen cabinets

Crown molding will not just be useful atop the walls. It also gives a unique touch to kitchen cabinets, offering even the most basic mill work a custom-crafted, luxurious appearance.

It is useful for covering the gap between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling, as well as for homeowners looking to create a sleek, finished look in their kitchen.

First, take the following into consideration:

The size of the wall cabinets

Measure the span of the wall cabinets, including any exposed edges, as well as the space between the top of them and the ceiling, before you go shopping.

You don't want to buy trim that's 6-inches high if there's a 3-inch gap. Excess is not good in this case.

The appearance of the cabinet

In general, a simple cabinet should be paired with simple crown molding, while highly detailed cabinetry necessitates intricate trim. For a more opulent appearance, built up crown molding would be ideal.

Cabinet size-proportion and scale

Tall cupboards with plenty of space above them look best with high crown moldings in a room with a high ceiling, but compact cabinets in a low-ceiling kitchen appear best with smaller moldings.

The installation process for crown molding on top of cabinets is fairly easy and will be fundamentally similar to the regular affixing above. 

Crown molding is one of the most common trim that exists in a household. It can be applied in numerous spaces and in uncountable creative ways. 

As a beginner, the key thing to be careful of is making the cuts right. Beyond that, installation of this trim is so effortless that it will probably be less work and more fun.

Final reminder: In case you missed this up there, always buy a little extra molding in case you don't measure or cut the angles correctly the first time. The extra trim will also give you room to practice before the final work. 

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