Your Crowning Glory

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

Elegant, understated and classic, crown molding makes a statement in any home. Consider this trio of tips when putting the finishing touch on your walls

I can’t help but notice how much my preferences have changed over the years. While I used to love big, bold colors and statement pieces, what I’m drawn to most lately are tiny, subtle details. For example, for my wedding in July, I’ve chosen soft colors and timeless accents.

For the home, things like crown molding, while meant to be understated, end up stealing my attention. They act as a subdued transition point between wall and ceiling, and emit a feeling that’s both classic and buttoned-up. They add character to otherwise plain rooms, and I haven’t yet seen a room that couldn’t benefit from the trim. If you are considering crown molding for your own home, consider these three things first:

Cost

Stock is always cheaper than custom, and depending on the material, whether flexible polyurethane, pine, plaster or foam, crown can range from $1 to $5 per linear foot. To gauge how much it will cost you, consider how much you’ll need. Take the room’s perimeter measurements, then add 20 percent to account for waste.

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Difficulty

When it comes to installation, consider the difficulty when weighing your costs. If you’re handy and the job does not include specialty cuts such as curved walls, you may be able to handle the job yourself.

Part of the installation includes plenty of measuring (including angles), as well as comfort using a miter saw, hand saw, nail gun and plenty of caulk. If you’re uncomfortable with any of these things, or if you anticipate a room with many corners, consider hiring a professional.

Also, remember that the material you choose will affect the difficulty of the project. Foam and plaster can be filled, so cuts can be imprecise and flaws easily hidden, but wood crown is far less forgiving.

Size

The bigger and more elaborate molding should be used for grander spaces such as foyers and dining rooms. Private spaces like bathrooms and bedrooms should incorporate smaller, less elaborate trim. Also, keep the crown height proportionate to the ceiling. Crown height for a standard 8-foot-tall ceiling can be anywhere from 2.5 to 6 inches. Taller ceilings can incorporate taller crown. And keep in mind the crown should be the same size or slightly smaller than the baseboards.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.