Our Kitchen Moldings

Total Cost for Our Moldings $639.80

kitchen molding renovation

Welcome to our Kitchen and Dining Room!

This page is your portal to all the posts we wrote about upgrading the moldings in our small kitchen and dining room, and is part of Our Molding Makeover series.

Easy Molding Installation

Installing moldings like these in your own kitchen is a lot easier than you might think.

If you’re shy about your diy skills, don’t worry, we’ve written step by step instructions showing you how we did it.  If you’re not sure if you’ve got the right tools to do the job, then read our Molding Tool Kit series.

Affordable Moldings

All the moldings and millwork in our kitchen came stock off the shelf from local retailers, so you don’t have to chase down expensive specialty items if you want to try installing some of these molding patterns yourself.

The Open Floor Plan Problem

We spend a lot of time in the kitchen together, so we wanted it to be really nice.  But we didn’t want it to be fussy either, since it is a utility space.

pretty woman in kitchen

Jennifer’s hobby is cooking. She wanted her work space to be nice but not fussy.

Our kitchen is an open floor plan design that presented two unique design challenges.

  1. How to design moldings that let us divide up the utility part of the kitchen from the dining room part of the kitchen without making them too different from each other.
  2. What to do with the awkward hall space between the dining room and the foyer.
open kitchen floor plan

Should this space be part of the kitchen/dining room or part of the hallway?

The Open Floor Plan Solution

To define the dining room part of the kitchen we installed wainscoting and pilasters, and then painted the brick wall a darker accent color, a medium blue.

Installing the eared architrave molding on the porch double doors had the effect of creating another architectural feature close to the dining area, and that helped define the space, too.

The Dining Room Part of the Kitchen

kitchen moldings

Before installing moldings, corners like these can be just a corner. But add a few moldings and you have something different.  And better!

how to install moldings on brick wall

The dining room part of our kitchen received feature moldings like wainscoting and pilasters.

The Utility Part of the Kitchen

affordable kitchen renovation

Looking into the kitchen utility space from our “dining room.”

diy kitchen moldings

A large crown molding in our small townhouse kitchen was just the thing it needed!

A Beautiful, Defined Small Room Rather than a Vague Small Room

So many people fret over weather or not they should install a lot of moldings in a small room like our kitchen.

But our crown molding, with its defining dark blue boarder below (the frieze), gives your eye something to follow as it scans the room.

It gives your room a new perspective by giving it a new vanishing point.  It increases the sense of room depth.  The effect of which is to eliminate the vague, empty box feeling and replace it with a defined sense of intimacy.


Total Cost to Decorate the Kitchen so Far

Since the kitchen is the first room we worked on, some of the things we bought can be used in other rooms, like primer and glue and tarps and stuff.

 Consumable Materials We Used

  • Liquid Nails, 3 ea. tubes ($2.47 ea.) = $7.41
  • Caulk, DAP Alex Plus, 1 ea. tube $2.28
  • Wood Glue, Elmer’s Carpenter’s, 1 ea. 4 oz bottle, $1.67
  • Spackling for nail holes 1 ea. 8 oz, $4.28
  • Goof Off to get the glue off our hands, 4.5 oz can $4.17
  • Blue Painter’s tape 1″ wide, 1 ea. roll $3.93 (for holding up plastic tarps, not for masking moldings!)
  • Plastic Drop Cloths .4ml, 9′ X 12′, 2 ea. ($1.79 ea.) $3.58


Kitchen Paints $217.00

How to Paint a Kitchen Five Shades of Blue

A detailed list of all the paints and their names we used in our kitchen.

There are a few painting tips on this post too.


$72.00 For a Gallon of Paint. What Were We Thinking?

Sticker shock at the ACE Hardware checkout counter.  Now that I’ve used this expensive paint on our moldings, I can honestly say if the price is worth it.


Customize Your Home in Small Ways

Jennifer gives a tour of her kitchen and points out some of her favorite small customizations.


Moldings, Mom & Race Cars

Making Incremental Financial Choices about Home Projects: A Conversation with My Mom


Kitchen Crown Molding Installation $211.75


The first kitchen molding project we tackled was to install this three-piece crown molding.

kitchen crown molding around air vent

easy kitchen crown molding buildup

There was no room to move this AC vent, so we had to wrap the crown molding around it.

diy three piece kitchen crown molding installation

This was the finished crown molding before we decided to install the picture rail molding below it.

how to install crown molding around air ventCrown Molding Limiting Factors

There are several limiting factors in our kitchen that affect our crown molding design.  Hint: One of them is the cat.






home depot crown moldingKitchen Crown: Materials from Lowes $211.75

A materials list with images of all the moldings that make up our three-piece kitchen crown.






crown molding easy to installBuilding A Crown Molding Model

I always build a model to finalize the exact proportions of any crown molding I install.  Here’s ours and a few versions you should avoid.






easy crown moldingPreparing the Cornice Molding

I like my crown molding cornices to be just right, so I modified this one a bit.






trim carpenter molding installerMy Crown Molding Layout Techniques

This is how I mark the walls and ceiling so I know exactly where the different crown pieces go.






easy to install crown moldingHow to Install the Crown Molding Lower Detail

Learn how to install the lower anchor and wrap it around an air vent that’s in the way of our crown molding.






easy crown molding installationHow to Install the Crown Molding Cornice

You want a really nice cornice on your crown molding, and this is how you install it.






diy easy crown moldingHow to Install the Last Piece of  Crown Molding

This is a very long page with all the pictures you could need on installing this last, most important piece of molding.






Picture Rail Molding $46.08


At first we were not going to install any picture rail molding in the kitchen.  Then we decided we’d install it just on the brick wall.  Then we decided we wanted it in the rest of the kitchen.

how to hang plates from picture rail molding

Jennifer standing proud in front of her latest decorating project — hanging plates from the picture rail.

picture rail molding painted white

how to install picture rail moldingHow to Install Picture Rail Molding on a Brick Wall: PICTURE RAIL-108

Step by step tutorial how we we installed this picture rail molding.






hang decorative plates on brick wallPicture Rail Pays Off, and I Hang My Plates for $116.39

Jennifer shows you her method for hanging plates from our picture rail molding.  Post includes prices and materials.






Porch Door: A Greek Revival Eared Architrave $74.60


This door trim style is known by a few different names: lugged, shouldered and eared architrave.  For the sake of being consistent on our blog however, we’ve decided to use eared architrave when referring to it.

neoclassical door trim molding

An eared architrave in a modern kitchen.

When I showed Jennifer all of the different door trim styles that would look nice in our house — simple casings, pilastered surrounds, corner blocks and eared architraves — she was immediately drawn to this style, and so it will be the dominant door trim style downstairs.

It’s uncommon to find this style in newer homes (unless they are built by the kind of people who hand their builders blank checks), but it’s quite common to find it in all three of the major North American architectural styles: Georgian, American Victorian and Greek Revival.

diy mdf kitchen door trim molding

Below  This is how the door trim looked before we added the picture rail molding and painted the inside reveal dark blue.

kitchen door trim molding

This simple eared architrave is very easy to make yourself.  We posted step by step instructions below.

Posts in This Porch Door Series

  1. How to Make an Eared Architrave Part 1: Materials from Lowes $74.60  Here I’ve included the materials list and their prices, demolition, and how I made the plinth blocks and scribers out of simple MDF molding.
  2. How to Make an Eared Architrave Part 2: DOOR TRIM-103  This post shows step by step how I assemble all 18 pieces of molding that make up this pattern.  It’s really easy to do, and I’ll show you how.

 Half Bathroom & Laundry Room Door Trim c. $35.00 ea.

We used about the same amount of materials to make each of these door surrounds as we did to make the larger porch door surround.

We had to make a few alterations to each door surround, but they are esentialy the same as the large one.  Here’s a post with a little more detail about the limiting factors of both.

white painted door trim molding


Small Window Valance Box $14.54


We don’t have much room around this little window for a whole surround, so we made a delicate valance box to hide the upper part of the blinds.  It looks nice painted white, but Jennifer wants to experiment with painting the frieze and applique, so this is just a start.

valance cornice box kitchen tutorial

I’ve assigned this the pattern number VALANCE BOX-101.

Below  Jennifer likes all of her cooking tools within easy reach (this is her cooking command center), so the window trim design we came up with had to accommodate them staying where they are.

diy window valance box

A favorite corner of Jennifer’s Nest.

kitchen window diy valance boxHow to Build a Valance Box for $14.54

This is probably the most detailed set of steps — video and step-by-step pictures — on how to build a valance box on the entire Al Gore-created internet.

I’m not saying posting this many steps is a good thing, but here they are anyway.




Wainscoting $137.00 & Pilasters $40.83

The area in front of the brick wall in the kitchen serves as our dining room, and to the right of that space is this awkward transition space between the foyer/living room that we just didn’t know what to do with.

wainscoting and pilastrs on brick wall

Coming up with a balanced molding treatment for this area was was no small thing.

One minute we were sure what we wanted and then the next minute we’d see something that would make that design not work, and then back to the drawing board for another go of molding combinations.

wainscoting in small kitchen

But all the back and forth was worth it because we are so happy with the final results.

This classical design is another based on Andrea Palladio’s interpretation of the ancient Greek orders.  Francis Terry designed something similar for Highland Park House in Dallas, Texas, and the paint scheme was inspired by rooms designed by Robert Adam.

how to make a pilaster from mdf

The “weight” of the architrave rests on the pilaster which rests on the pedestal.

Above and Below  The trick to designing your pilasters is to make them appear to be supporting something — no tacking them to the wall willy-nilly.

After a few different combinations, we were quite confident that the pilasters should appear to support not only our architrave (the picture rail molding), but also this low ceiling (below) between the kitchen and foyer/living room.

how to install diy mdf kitchen moldings

The Doric pilaster supports the architrave and the low ceiling.

diy mdf kitchen wainscoting

The pedestal supports the pilaster and is integrated into the wainscoting. It’s very easy to do it yourself.

installing moldigns on brick wallWainscoting in Our Kitchen: Indecision 2012

After tossing around so many wainscoting patterns we finally settled on a design that we hope will look balanced on this awkward brick wall.  Here are some sketches that helped us come to a final decision.





how to paint wainscotingKitchen Paint Color Samples: Thank You Robert Adam!

Here’s a look at some paint color combinations we tried on our kitchen moldings.






diy pilaster column

How to Make Our Kitchen Pilasters for $13.61 ea: PILASTER-104

Step by step instructions and material list for making these simple pilasters.






kitchen wainscotingWAINSCOTING-109 Part I

It only cost $137.00 to install 13′ feet of this wainscoting.

You’ll find the complete list of materials and prices and the first installation steps here.





how to paint wainscotingWAINSCOTING-109 How to Paint

(coming soon) How to paint the wainscoting.







Baseboard Molding $40.00


Jennifer was attracted to this Greek Revival or Georgian style baseboard right from the start.  I was really happy she chose this one because I’ve been wanting to install a baseboard like this for many years, and now I get to install it in my own home where I get to enjoy it every day.

white painted mdf baseboard molding

We love how this baseboard turned out. It will be installed in most of the other rooms in our house.

how to install kitchen baseboard moldings

large mdf white painted moldingBASEBOARD-110 DIY for $2.00/lf

This post gives you all the details you need to build this beautiful, classically proportioned baseboard.






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