stained kitchen crown moldings

Photo 1. Dave’s kitchen. Open floor plans present challenges transitioning moldings between rooms.

[This is part of my How to Install Crown Molding Series.]

Other Posts in Dave’s Series

  1. Dave’s Kitchen Crown Molding Challenge
  2. Dave’s Foyer Moldings
  3. Corner Blocks for Dave’s Living Room & Foyer Archways


I’ve read most of your website and am grateful to both you and Jennifer for what you have shared.

I’ve completed much of the remodeling on the first level of our home, but we’re having difficulty in making decisions on moulding.

For the last 35 years we’ve had 2.25″/3″ stained pine/casing baseboard, and we now want to replace it with a variety of much larger, white-painted mouldings.

Your website helped convince us that painted white mouldings are the way to go!


I’d also like to add some large crown moulding to the ceiling, but I’m wondering if this will be a problem in the kitchen where we now have small (2.75 drop), stained crown above our kitchen cabinets.

Some of the wall cabinets with crown extend all the way to the top of our 8′ ceilings, whereas the rest of the wall cabinet crown is 6″ below the ceiling.  Things also get a little more complicated because the kitchen is now partially opened up to the dining room.

I’ve attached a few photos showing two views from kitchen to dining room, and one view from dining room to kitchen.

dark stained kitchen cabinet crown molding

Photo 2. Dave’s kitchen.

open floor plan kitchen dining room

Photo 3. Dave’s kitchen.

Some of the options I’ve thought of include:

  1. Dissolve a larger kitchen/dining room crown into the smaller crown of the kitchen cabinets.  Is this even an acceptable method?  I’m a newbie to coping, but it seems like it would be an almost impossible cope given that the profiles would be different?
  2. Do a hanging return of the larger ceiling crown just shy of the upper cabinet crown.  Given that there would be a total of six of these hanging returns in our kitchen, this seems like it would result in a somewhat disjointed look overall?
  3. Do a hanging return of the larger ceiling crown just shy of where wall cabinets begin in the kitchen.  This would result in only three crown returns in the kitchen but no ceiling crown above the wall cabinets that are 6′ below the ceiling.
  4. Install a larger crown in the dining room only and put a couple of corbel ( or hanging) returns at the transition to the kitchen.  Omit ceiling crown in the kitchen.  This should be fairly easy.
  5. Same as option 4 (above) except to also install painted white ceiling crown in the kitchen which has the same size and profile the stained kitchen cabinet crown.  Dissolve the white-painted crown into the kitchen cabinet crown.  Unless I can find it elsewhere, this option might require going back to the kitchen cabinet manufacturer to get mouldings of the same profile.  It’s actually a two-part crown consisting of a small crown on top of an ogee counter top edge.

I would appreciate any other suggestions you might have and your thoughts as to which, if any, of the above might work.  Any guidance you can provide would be very much appreciated.


Ken’s Answer

Dave, first let me commend you for considering all possible solutions to your crown molding puzzle, you’ve really thought this thing through.  Your kitchen is really quite beautiful the way it is now, the cabinets in particular are deservedly the dominant architectural feature, and so any additional moldings should take their design ques from them.  But you’re right, the transitions are not easy.

Let’s consider each of the points you raise:

  1. You’re right, two different crown molding profiles really should not be coped together, that would look forced.
  2. You’re right again, six hanging returns would be visually disruptive.
  3. I like this idea.
  4. This is also a good idea.
  5. I like this one too, but even though I’m not fond of the expense and cost of stain-grade crown molding, I think the best option for crown in the kitchen is to continue the stained cabinet crown all the way around the room.  Better yet, your kitchen is so nice the way it is, would you consider painting that far kitchen wall, the one next to the double doors, a contrasting accent color?  That would compensate for the lack of crown on that side of the room.  It would balance the strength of the kitchen’s focal point, the beautiful cabinets.

What Would Ken Do?

If I were still contracting and you were my client, this is what I’d suggest:

  1. No crown at all in the kitchen (unless you continue the stained cabinet crown around the room) and paint that far wall an accent color.  This does not mean you can’t upgrade the baseboard and door trim with painted trim, because you can.  In fact, between the strength of your cabinets, a large baseboard and a nice door trim design, the eye will naturally be drawn to those features and the crown will hardly be missed.
  2. Install crown in the dining room and stop just before the kitchen with a hanging or corbel return.

The last thing I’d suggest is you find a white for your dining room molding that is not a really bright white, but is sort of creamy, that would go well with your wall color.  I’m no expert on colors, so take that advice with a grain of salt.  Whites are a study unto themselves, but you probably know what I’m getting at.

I hope that helps you a bit Dave.  Good luck with your project, and we’re glad you’ve found inspiration on our little blog!

Cheers, Ken

Other Posts in Dave’s Series

  1. Dave’s Kitchen Crown Molding Challenge
  2. Dave’s Foyer Moldings
  3. Corner Blocks for Dave’s Living Room & Foyer Archways

[This is part of my How to Install Crown Molding Series.]