Elevate Your Room's Style With Crown Molding

6 Materials
2 Days

The One Room Challenge, put on in part by Better Homes and Gardens, has finally wrapped up. While I was late to the finish line (I had to build that chicken mansion!), I am so excited with how the room turned out! Check out the full reveal post here - it features a bunch of cool projects I will be writing up in the next few months.

For those who might not be familiar with this challenge, the One Room Challenge is a biannual design event where 20 featured designers and hundreds of guest participants choose a single room to completely re-do. From design-only to DIY, there is a little bit of everything! In it's 17th season, this event is highly anticipated and has grown to even have media coverage provided by Better Homes and Gardens!

This is my third round participating and, this time around, I chose my guest bedroom. The cool part, though, is that the guest bedroom hides inside of a home office by way of a Murphy bed setup. But that's for another post! Today, I wanted to talk to you about crown molding and how the style you choose, quality of the trim and installation can make such a big difference (without spending a ton)!

Ornamental Moulding graciously agreed to partner with me for this trim work, and if you check out their site you will see why I asked to work with them pretty quickly! The selection and the quality of their millwork is incredible. I have not seen such a variety of actual wooden trim like this in the big box stores. They have a wide range of styles and products to choose from and I got lost in their site for days trying to choose. Ultimately, I went with a Colonial Crown and matching baseboard in unfinished Aspen wood.

Plan of Action

For baseboards, I usually start to the right of the door and work my way around the room in a clockwise manner. For my first go at crown, though, I chose to start at the wall opposite of the door and work my way around.

The single most confusing part of crown, in my opinion, are the angles that you need to figure out in order to have things fit nicely together at the corner and scarf joints (where a long line of crown meets at a seam... I will explain this in a bit)! I am so excited to share that I discovered a LIFE HACK in the form of a crown molding jig. As I am exploring further into wood working and other random carpentry activities, I am starting to learn more about jigs and how they can make your life easier.

What is a jig, you might ask? They are like little helpers for repetitive tasks - they act as a template and help keep your repetition going smoothly. They have so many types - doweling jigs to help you drill straight holes for your dowels, drill jigs (like the Kreg Jig you see me use quite often), and in today's case - a MITER JIG FOR YOUR CROWN MOLDING!

I have the full details on how I made it in video format over in my Instagram Crown Molding Highlight.

Create a Crown Jig

For crown molding, the details are usually on the bottom with the smoother sections at the top when you put it up on the wall. I discovered through some research that they like you to cut it with the top down. So, this jig holds your crown at exactly the right angle and position to get the correct angle with each cut.

Here is what it looks like as a finished product, but it is pretty simple to make and will be customized to whatever crown molding you choose.

The first thing you do is put painters tape on the fence (back part) and table (bottom part). Then, you hold your crown molding up against the fence and the table so that it sits flush on both portions.

Mark the edges of the crown on the tape while it is sitting flush on both the fence and table. Then, measure the distance between the fence and the line on the table and again from the table to the line on the fence. Basically, just measure each line from the corner.

Using those measurements, you can rip a few small boards to those specifications and add a small 1x2 to the top to serve as a lip (it holds the crown in place). I used a few brad nails and wood glue and pieced it together and it worked really well!

It will now hold your crown molding in the perfect cutting position! I made my jig about 12 inches long to give me some additional support.

Now you are ready to start getting the crown up!

I wanted to get a reference line up on the wall, so I had my husband help me hold a long piece up against one corner, making sure it sat flush on both the ceiling and wall. Placing a piece of tape behind the portion that was on the wall, I marked a line at the bottom of the crown (remember the details go at the bottom)! I repeated that on the other corner and popped a chalk line across the wall to give me a reference line to follow.

As you line up your first piece of crown, if it is pretty long, use your nail gun to get the middle portion spot on. That way, you can bend or swivel your ends in line with that chalk line and nail them in. I used a 16 gauge pneumatic nail gun for this job with 2" finishing nails.

At each seam where the wall was longer than the piece of crown I was putting up, I did what is called a scarf joint. The two pieces of crown are cut at opposing 45 degree angles and one slips right over the second one. Once caulking is done, it looks pretty seamless.

The corners were another place where I had to really slow down and think about what I was doing. At inside corners, which you would typically find in a normal four corner room, I would have liked to use coped joints. But, I did not have a coping saw, so I used the opposing 45 degree cuts.

For the inside corners, the bottom of the crown will be the long point, so swing your miter saw blade and make your first cut. For the following, you will just swing the blade the opposing way.

With the jig, though, my cuts lined up pretty perfectly each time.

Here is an example of an exterior corner, where the longer portion of the cut is at the top of the crown. Again, just two opposing miter cuts using your jig will accomplish this corner.

Once I made my way around the room, measuring and cutting as I went, I was ready to fill the holes and seams and paint. For all seams, I used caulk. This is a little more flexible and will prevent cracking when your house inevitably shifts. For the nail holes, I filled using spackle.

Once the paint was on, I finished it all up with a nice, crisp, white caulk line along both the bottom and top seams of all of the crown. This really finishes it off nicely!

What I was left in was a set of built ins that looked like they were there from the beginning and an absolutely stunning home office, that sneakily held my guest room!

The true finishing touches were the baseboard and crown molding provided by Ornamental Moulding and Millwork – they adorn the top of the built-in shelving unit and really help to finish the room. Without these finishing touches, this room would just look naked.

Trust me when I say - you have a choice in your crown and baseboard options (or more ornamental trim!) and it goes beyond big box stores. That's where the sweet spot is - true quality and craftsmanship go so far!

Suggested materials:

  • Crown Molding   (Ornamental Moulding and Millwork)
  • Scrap Wood (for Jig)   (Lowe's)
  • Finish Nails   (Lowe's)
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