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Molding Ideas {A Simple Alternative to Crown Molding}

by | Feb 15, 2010 | Decorating Inspiration, Details

Molding Ideas {A Simple Alternative to Crown Molding}Written by: Tim Layton (aka Remodeling Guy)

Tim’s love of creativity and design mix with a perspective built on a career as a remodeling contractor.He can also can be found at his blog,

Molding Ideas

Great pictures are a constant source of new ideas for me, and Melissa does a wonderful job of finding them!  One that she posted recently in her article on colored walls, caught my eye.  But it wasn’t just the wall color that got me, it was the trim.

Take a look:

Molding Ideas {A Simple Alternative to Crown Molding}
House To Home

I love the way the top and the bottom of the wall are treated with a similar size section of white.  It frames the bold wall color perfectly. But it’s not what you think at first.  Look closely at the “crown molding” and you’ll see that it isn’t crown molding at all!

My first thought was that it was the same baseboard upside down, which is a great idea and I would have written a post about it then too!  But what they did is actually even more simple than that! It’s not easy to see, but I think they just have small piece of picture molding on the wall and white paint above it.  How easy is that?!

Molding Ideas {A Simple Alternative to Crown Molding}

I found a picture of a similar idea in progress at (though I wish the painting were a little neater and the ceilings weren’t popcorn).  You can see the idea up-close.

You can buy some very small molding that is great in a number of ways:

  • Easy to handle (you can probably strap it to your car to get it home!)
  • Easy to put up with small nails and maybe a little bit of hot glue!
  • Easy to cut on the corners with a simple hand miter box.
  • Easy to paint…if you do it my way instead of what you see in this picture!

My Way To Paint This


  1. Paint the wall first. Go ahead on up past the place you’ll be putting the molding.
  2. Paint the molding before you put it up. Totally finish it on the ground.
  3. After the molding is installed, paint the white wall area with the same paint as you used on the trim.  This way you won’t have to bother with the blue tape and you’ll get a much nicer job on your trim.

The piece of trim right at the ceiling is optional.  It looks good both ways.

There you have it… a simple alternative to crown molding!

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More on The Inspired Room:

How to Decorate: The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs

Molding Ideas {A Simple Alternative to Crown Molding}

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Molding Ideas {A Simple Alternative to Crown Molding}

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  1. Kifus

    Great idea, and it seems quite simple. Thanks!

  2. Franki Parde

    Slick and quick – it doesn’t get much better and it looks, well, just right. Thanks!

  3. Janis

    We’ve done this a few times and it always turns out great. Plus it’s simple and cost effective.

  4. angie

    hon- you just saved me a boatload of time and money! crown molding is on my wish list (isn’t it on everyone’s?) and this is going to be MUCH easier and cheaper! thanks!

  5. Connie

    What a simple beautiful idea! Can’t wait to try it.

  6. The Stylish House

    Yes, this is a great ideas I have used it myself many times!
    .-= The Stylish House´s last blog ..Pottery Barn Giveaway WINNER! =-.

  7. Mary Jean

    I love it! I love what you can do with “molding”. I think in another life I would like to come back as a trim carpenter and transform my house!
    .-= Mary Jean´s last blog ..Blissdom Recap with Harry Connick, Jr. =-.

    • Remodeling Guy

      Nothing saying you can’t be a trim carpenter in this life! Though I’m thinking it would make a better hobby than job in the current housing market! :-)

  8. Emily-Sarah

    I love this! We’re almost ready to re-do our dining room and it’d be great to create this look in that room. I’ve just forwarded this link to hubby. Thanks!

  9. Sarah

    What a great idea! This is way cheaper than buying intricate crown molding that looks basically the same! Thanks for your tips on how to recreate this as well – it seems like a much easier way!
    .-= Sarah @ Dream In Domestic´s last blog ..Revamping Recipes: Chicken Marsala (AKA Chicken Merlot) =-.

  10. Debbie S

    I like this but I am not sure if it will work for regular 8 ft ceilings??
    .-= Debbie S´s last blog ..My Two Men =-.

    • Remodeling Guy

      Hi Debbie- This look will work for 8′ ceilings! All you have to do is shrink it a little bit. Instead of putting 5 or 6″ of white space on the top of the wall, make it about 3 or 4″. It’s really all about scale. Large crown doesn’t work in 8′ rooms, and small crown doesn’t work in 12′ rooms… but crown molding, or the look of it, works in any room!

  11. Sandy

    I’m lucky to have the “real” crown, but they do the last edge like this. They leave ~ 2 inches of drywall and then add the bottom trim piece to make it even wider. I love mine. We just caulked and painted it in the master, what a job, but it’s done and looks great!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..sometimes you just need a change… =-.

  12. Becky K.

    Great idea. I’m going to remember this.

    Becky K.
    Hospitality Lane
    .-= Becky K.´s last blog ..1,000th Post! =-.

  13. Katie

    One of my faaaaaaaavorite little antique shops (which unfortunately had to close a couple months ago) did something like that. She had the palest blue walls and then a deep cocoa up top and all across the ceiling. It may not sound pretty…but it was soooooo pretty.
    .-= Katie´s last blog ..It’s S-S-S-Snowing!! =-.

  14. Mary Joy

    That is SO cool!!! I never would have thought of that but what an great, inexpensive way to create “crown molding”!!! Wow! I know someone who might really be able to use that! I rent so can’t right now…but man…am I wishing I could paint right now…my fingers are itching…Thanks for the awesome idea!!!

    • Mary Joy

      Melissa..thanks for sharing such great guest writers…you rock!! :)
      .-= Mary Joy´s last blog ..My best friend and Valentine for Life =-.

  15. Janell Beals

    I’ve been wanting to do this, but with such a stunning example to be inspired by, I now really want to do it!! Such a great look…

  16. Erin

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I love the idea and how easy it is to implement. I may just need to give it a try!
    .-= Erin @ Domestic Adventure´s last blog ..Doggy decor =-.

  17. Marija

    I love this! I often add a piece of that same small panel molding to the actual ceiling to give the effect of cove molding. The result is terrific! Marija
    .-= Marija´s last blog ..Love Poems & A Crush =-.

  18. Lyndsy

    This is a great option in so many applications! I think it works even better with a bold color contrast like the white and turquoise. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Jill

    Love the look, very creative! Much easier than crown moulding too! My husband would not love me if I asked him to put crown moulding up ;-) This is I can do! Thanks.

  20. Barbara F.

    What a great look for not too much effort. I’d love to give this a try! Nice post Remodeling Guy!!

  21. Mandi

    So funny to read this post today because just this past Friday I was at Home Depot looking at the trim pieces to do this very same thing to my home. Glad to read that I should paint the trim FIRST. Thanks for the tips!
    .-= Mandi´s last blog ..A Sweet Valentine =-.

  22. kathysue

    Hi Melissa, I actually did this on my 1970 flourescent light box in my kitchen. We took out that horrible light and finished the inside with moulding. We did use some crown but we beefed it up with smaller moulding and painted a portion of the wall in the same semi-gloss as we used on the actual moulding and you can not tell that it is not yet another piece of moulding. A great look for less,that’s what we like. You can see it here:
    .-= kathysue´s last blog ..Yipes! STRIPES!!! =-.

  23. Denise

    We have crown throughout our downstairs, but I am thinking that this would be something great to do in the kids rooms when I paint the trim in there…hmmmm~

  24. Claudia

    Hi– Great post Handy Guy!

    I appreciate that you told everyone to PAINT the trim before you put it up… you will appreciate this lil story…

    We had a friend who was not that handy — my hubby (then ) was a custom cabinet maker so was called over when our friends project was complete.

    He painted the room and had a chair rail stained at the 36″ spot… It looked pretty darn good– when asked what was the toughest (thinking he would say the mitered edges…) he said– the hardest was the 76 hours it took to stain that railing so not to get the stain on the wall!! eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek! I remember biting my tongue to not say a word! :) He showed us this little water color brush he used and the tiny tiny strokes he took to put it on…

    Makes me tired just to think about it.

    Good work!
    .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..Friday ~~ Finding Beauty 2/12/10 =-.

  25. Milan Jara

    Truly great alternative.

  26. Sandy

    My cousin did this treatment in one of her homes years ago and I remember liking it and thinking it was very clever. Thanks for posting about it. One of my goals is to do some type of crown moulding in my family room/kitchen combination.

    Teacup Lane (Sandy)
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Tinkerbell =-.

  27. Amy

    I love this solution. We did this in our first floor powder room no more than two weeks ago. The ceiling (at 10′) seemed too high for the space, almost like walking into an elevator shaft. We put 1/4 round molding up 12″ from the ceiling and painted the walls Glidden’s Tropical Surf. The powder room looks beautiful now, and I don’t avoid using it anymore.

    • Remodeling Guy

      Hi Amy- I know exactly the look you mean with high ceilings in a powder room. I’m not fond of that look! Sounds like you did a great job solving the problem.

      • Amy

        Thanks, is it possible that I saw this solution on your blog a year or so ago? I finally got my husband on board now that we’re getting ready to leave the house! I wish we put it up sooner, it was a great trick.

    • Melissa

      Great idea. I am going to try something like this in my powder room too. Our ceiling seems quite high in there. There is crown molding (in our bathroom but not in other rooms? Hmmm) but I might try an extra piece of molding lower on the ceiling to make it look more substantial and help cozy up the room a bit! :-)

      • Amy

        That sounds like a really good idea. If we were staying in this house, I’d want to put up something a bit more substantial than the 1/4 round that we used – though it does look pretty and clean.

  28. Full Size

    That looks great. You make it sound so easy too.

  29. Melanie

    I love it. I have seen this done before and it is a way to save money and make it look great!
    .-= Melanie´s last blog ..Happy Birthday… =-.

  30. Gladys

    This is great! We have plans to start painting our dining and living room – I was really hoping we could do crown molding but realistically it just wasn’t in the budget! Question – the bottom of the wall, is that also paint or actual baseboard? Oh, and if you could tell me what kind/size of trim you used that would be great! Thanks!!


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