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Twenty-One Pieces of Moldings

A  Molding Installation Pep-Talk from Ken

archway moldings


[This is part of my How to Install Moldings series.]

This room started out in life with just twenty-one individual pieces of bland, contractor-grade moldings.  Starter-trim.

It now has — if I counted correctly — 561 pieces of moldings, appliques and other architectural ornaments.

interior archway capital

These are the basics.  Step 1: Build a foundation of flat-stock. Step 2: Wrap with beautiful moldings!

It’s Not that Complicated

Even if you’ve never installed moldings before you can create a room like this one on your first try.

I know you can.

flex trim on archway

A few simple moldings, some basic tools and a little time is all you need to create molding patterns like this.

It’s not so daunting when you consider a molding project like this one as nothing more than creating a foundation of flat-stock and then layering individual moldings on top.

Eventually, piece-by-piece, you end up with a dining room like this one.

The Amature Finish Carpenter

desperately handsom finish carpenter

Me c. 2006, pretending to be a finish carpenter.

You should know that I am not a professional finish carpenter.

Nor have I ever considered myself anything other than a very enthusiastic amature — even when I got paid for doing it.

And when I was asked to design, install and paint the moldings in this dining room, I’d never installed a soffit crown molding like this; I’d never transformed a square archway into a true archway, and I’d never made a hooded entablature so grand.

I’m telling you this because I don’t believe you need years of experience under the watchful eye of a caring journeyman to create beautiful moldings in your home.

That would certainly help, but you can get by without it.

What you do need is a burning desire to do it yourself and the willingness to do something over when you’re not happy with what you’ve created.

Simple Materials

You know that I preach buying as many of your moldings and other materials as you can find locally, and then supplement with special order ornate details from online suppliers of architectural details.

large dentil crown molding

Moldings from Lowes + MDF from Home Depot + rosettes from Decorators Supply = a really nice crown molding!

Here is a basic list of the materials that went into the making of this dining room:

  1. MDF board from Home Depot
  2. Moldings from local lumber yards and Lowes Home Improvement
  3. Flex Trim (for the arched pieces) ordered from local lumber yard
  4. Ornate woodworking details from Decorators Supply Corp.
  5. Ceiling medallion from local molding store
  6. Corbels from Outwater Plastics

Now You Try

So shed your timidness and just jump right in.

And if you get stuck you can always return here to The Joy of Moldings for inspiration.

Good luck!

Related Posts

How to Install Moldings

How to Paint Moldings

Tool Kit

6 Responses to Twenty-One Pieces of Moldings

  1. JJ December 4, 2012 at 1:42 PM #

    Fantastic detail. Great balance and composition. Just found the site the other day and very inspired for our business to incorporate these ideas!

  2. Ken December 4, 2012 at 1:47 PM #

    Welcome JJ!

    What kind of business do you have that involves moldings?

  3. Nabeel December 4, 2012 at 3:31 PM #

    That is just great. It looks so amazing. I can’t wait to do a project like this next year. So much attention to detail. I would love to do something like this in the dining room. I also love the ceiling medallion. It just completes the room. Looks custom made.

  4. Ken December 4, 2012 at 3:46 PM #

    The ceiling medallion was a nice one for sure, but not expensive.

    What made it so nice is the diy paint job the homeowner put on it herself.

  5. Phil December 4, 2012 at 6:09 PM #


    Do you have any ‘before’ photos of the dining? Nice job, just like all your other projects.

  6. Ken December 5, 2012 at 3:39 AM #

    I took very detailed pictures of that whole project. However, my over-priced MAC computer ruined most of them. I only have a handful left. I’ve published them here and there on the site: Architectural Subordination and Birth of a Molding Snob.

    Glad you like it!

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