You guys know how some molding chunkiness can make me go weak in the knees, right?
Nothing pretties up a room quite like crown molding. We installed it in almost every room when we bought the house – like here in our dining room:
And, of course, in our recent DIY built-in bookshelves project:
- but we skipped over a couple rooms, including the nursery.
So even though we’re redoing our nursery on a teeny-tiny budget, we still decided to spring for crown molding in this room, especially because I might still want to paint that ceiling a funky color, and I think you kinda need crown to make that look right.
Plus what’s one more project? It’s not like we’re on a deadline here.
So here’s how we install crown molding when we want it to look professional:
True story. He used to do this professionally, so he threw up the crown in this room within about an hour. But I took notes and lots of pics so I can show you all his secrets.
We bought our crown by the foot from Home Depot, which made it slightly cheaper than buying it from Lowe’s, where they don’t sell it by the foot. Total cost for this room was under $60 (about $1.14/foot).
1. Measure and cut crown for the 2 short walls.
We’re going to talk about crown installation in a typical four-walled room. Start with the two shorter walls (or pick any two opposite walls if your room is square). Measure those walls, then subtract about 3/16 of an inch from the wall length. This number will be the length of the crown on those walls. (So your crown will be slightly shorter than the wall length.)
2. Measure and cut crown for the 2 long walls.
This time, add 3/16 of an inch to the wall length, so your crown will be slightly longer than the wall. This will squeeze the corners to give your crown a better fit. Total pro tip.
To cut these pieces of crown, turn your crown upside down on the miter saw and seat it on your miter saw diagonally, like it’ll sit on the wall. (Except upside down.)
Now cut it at a 45-degree angle.
3. Install the crown on two short walls
Just nail that bad boy up right in the center with a nail gun or whatev.
Nail it right in the middle and walk away because who are you to worry about a little sagging at this point? You’re a hardcore crown molding installer. You’re not fazed.
Actually – leaving the outsides loose will allow you to adjust them later. For crown to look right, it has to fit the wall and ceiling correctly. You don’t want it to be too far from the ceiling or have a weird angle, so leaving the ends loose will give you some room to rotate these pieces so it looks right. (This is called “seating” the crown.)
4. Cope the two long pieces.
These pieces of crown need to fit the other two pieces like a jigsaw puzzle, so you’ll have to use a coping saw to cut away the extra – this is called “coping,” I think because it seems really tough and it makes you get all whiny but you have to cope with it and get it done anyway, whiner.
Essentially you want the ends of the crown to go from looking like the pic on the left to looking like a the pic on the right:
Here are a few pics of my dad doing this step:
But if you really want some great instructions, check out this handy video I found on youtube:
This is the hardest step, but for real you can do this.
5. Nail the coped pieces up to the other two walls
Admire how fantastically they fit together. Don’t forget to do this.
Because these two pieces were (purposely) cut too long for the wall, they bow out in the middle when you nail up the ends, see that?
But when you nail the center, it will all magically lay flat, and the corners will squeeze together to give you a tight fit you can be proud of.
6. Caulk, fill the nail holes and paint!
Anyone else like to add projects to your to-do list when it already looks ridiculously long? Ever tried to DIY crown molding?
P.S.: If you like this, make sure you check out all our construction projects here, like how we made our DIY built-in bookshelf wall:
…and our outdoor deck!