How to Select the Size of Crown Molding


Crown molding is a type of finish trim designed for installation at the top of a wall. While this trim can seem relatively simple, buyers actually have a number of factors that must be considered when choosing crown molding. Among the most important decisions is what size of crown molding to use. Molding that's too large can be overwhelming in some rooms, while too-small molding may not make an impact in a larger space. To choose the right size of crown molding for your home, consider things like ceiling height, molding function and whether other types of molding will be used nearby.

  • Consider the ceiling height in each room. As a general rule of thumb, larger crown molding should be used in rooms with high ceilings, while rooms with shorter ceilings will look better with smaller molding. According to the Glass Creek Remodeling Company, a room with a 7-foot ceiling will require molding that's 3 inches or smaller, while a room with an 8-foot ceiling requires molding ranging from 3 to 4 inches. A room with a 17-foot ceiling can accommodate molding that's 10 inches tall or even larger.

  • Decide if you will use other types of molding in addition to your crown molding. Many homeowners combine thinner strips of trim known as picture rail with traditional crown molding. If you plan to use picture rail, choose crown molding that's about an inch smaller than you'd otherwise plan to use. The two types of trim will combine to create a dramatic look, and crown molding that's too large can make this look too overwhelming in a small space.

  • Consider what function you hope to achieve by adding molding. Many homeowners use this trim to contribute to the appearance of the room. Others may use crown molding to hide wires and cables for speakers, lights and other fixtures. If you are using molding to conceal wires, choose trim that is large enough to achieve this function.

  • Compare your crown molding to your baseboards. The size of crown molding should be roughly the same as the size of the baseboards in the room. This helps to achieve a balanced, proportional look. If you are using larger baseboards, you may be able to successfully use larger crown molding than you would in a room with smaller baseboards.

  • Evaluate costs. Larger pieces of crown molding tend to cost more. This is true for molding that's higher, thicker, or longer than average. To keep costs down, choose smaller molding in shorter lengths.

  • Determine how the molding will be installed. While larger pieces of crown molding can seem too overwhelming when installed at the top of a shorter wall, they can be used in other ways. In a smaller room, larger pieces of crown molding installed along the ceiling can be used to make the room look larger. To achieve this look, install identical molding sections both at the top of the wall and on the ceiling, creating a mirror image. This will allow you to successfully use larger or more elaborate molding in a small or short room.

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