How to Make Your Crown Molding Look Bigger

Posted by John on December 6th, 2011

Part of our “Grand Plan” is to improve the look of our crown molding.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s no problem with our current trim whatsoever!  When we were selecting the options for our home build, there were some upgrades we passed on because we thought it would be a better value if we just did it ourselves at a later date.  You know, things we could live without if it meant investing the money into something we REALLY wanted.  Another one of those savings came by skipping out on granite countertops.

So, what kind of crown molding improvement am I talking about?  A very basic upgrade.  Let me show you what I’m talking about…

Can you see it?  I added a small trim about 2″ below the crown molding.  Now, it’s not caulked or painted yet because we’re still working on it.  When it’s all done, even the space between the crown molding and the bottom trim will be painted semi-gloss.  It gives an effect as if the crown molding is much larger.  Should be pretty sweet!

Here’s how to make your crown molding look bigger:

1.  I selected my trim.  I used a very inexpensive pre-primed piece.  In the photo below, you can see the profile of the trim.  I bought it at Lowes.

2.  Next, I measured 2″ down from the bottom of the crown molding and marked the wall with a pencil.  You could use whatever distance you’d like.  Our builder used 4″-5″ for this space.  We thought 2″ looked the best for us.  In this application, you don’t need to use a level, since we want the new trim to track the crown molding.  Any variation in the distance between the crown and the new piece will make it look uneven.

3.  Next I cut my trim.  I followed the same basic procedure that I used to install my chair rail molding.  So, I left my right side edge flat and butted it against the wall.  Since my trim pieces are 8′ long, much shorter than the length of the wall, I had to join two pieces of trim.  The left side of the first trim piece was cut on a 45 degree angle.  You can see the end of that first piece in the photo below.  I glued the piece and installed it with my nail gun.

4.  My next piece had the same cut as the first piece so they would overlap, see the photo below.  The other end I just butted into the wall.  The first cut on the next wall will need a coped joint, which I also discussed in the chair rail install post.

So that’s basically it.  You just continue this around the room.  We still have a couple rooms to finish yet, but we can’t wait to see what this looks like painted.

Do you have any cheap tricks to improve the look of molding? 

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  • Kristen

    Very clever! I think this looks great!

    • Thanks Kristen!

  • Amy

    That’s a good idea! A subtle detail that really adds a lot!

    • John_OHFScratch

      Thanks Amy! Hopefully it will come out Ok!

  • I wish we had crown molding. Love this trick! All of the trim in our house is stained wood. I’ve been plotting to paint it all white since we moved in last year, but my husband won’t budge.

  • Nikki

    I love your website! Stumbled across it while searching the effects of not wiping stain. I have become hooked to your page now as lots of your accomplishments are my plans to our new house. Will share pics with you as we go. We have almost completed fireplace do over from the standard granite marble look to slate…so exciting!

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  • Mao Loves Art

    This is very clever! you just helped people saved a bunch of money! Thanks for that!