(Family Features) If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to dress up a room in your home, crown molding is a simple way to add elegance and class with minimal investment.
Crown molding is most commonly applied as a decorative trim where the walls meet the ceiling. It is often painted the same trim color as the baseboards, door frames and other woodwork in a room, but can be colored to match the ceiling or a different shade altogether to create extra drama.
Though the corner angles may be especially daunting to novice do-it-yourself types, installing crown molding is actually a project that you can tackle without the assistance of a professional. However, it is a good idea to ask a friend or family member for help along the way, as all the measuring, marking and holding up pieces for nailing can be a bit much for one person.
This step-by-step guide will show you how to create a striking design element in your home using crown molding:
- Measure the complete perimeter of your room, remembering to take into account any insets or bump-outs that add additional wall inches. Be sure to pad your total when purchasing materials to allow room for a mistake (or two).
- Prime and paint the molding, front side and back, and allow it to dry completely.
- Mark the studs near the ceiling on all walls, so you can be confident you are securely attaching the molding.
- Measure from the ceiling down the depth of the molding and mark this point. Using a level (and even better, a laser level), establish your baseline for the entire length of each wall.
- Taking into account the imperfections of construction, a miter protractor is the best way to measure the exact angles of each corner.
- Use a miter saw or coping saw to trim angles for the pieces that will fit into corners. Remember that the molding as it lays on the saw table is the inverse of its fit to the wall, so you may want to make a few practice cuts to be sure you’re trimming angles properly. A good rule of thumb: for outside corners, the top edge is longer; for inside corners, the longer edge is on the bottom.
- Attach molding using a nail gun, making sure to hit as many studs as possible for a secure attachment.
- On the sections that will fit in corners, nail the center of the molding first, leaving the corner end loose. Use a wood shim or even a screwdriver behind the bottom edge of the molding to make adjustments and eliminate gaps before securing the corners with nails.
- Where you have to joint two pieces for a long stretch of wall, be sure the seam falls over a stud, so you can nail both ends firmly in place. For the most polished look, fit the ends of these pieces together with complementary 45 degree angles.
- If your nails aren’t fully sunk, use a nail set to press them a bit deeper. Use wood putty to cover nail holes.
- Caulk all seams using a very thin stream of caulk and use a finger dipped in water to smooth away excess.
- Touch up paint, especially over putty spots and seams.
For a special extra touch, add some new lighting and a few new accessories to give your classy new room a full makeover look.