Crown Jewels

Crown Jewels


For those who want a regal look in their homes, or simply love classic styling, crown molding is a popular choice. Crown molding is a design element that smooths the intersection of wall and ceiling by masking the otherwise harsh lines where the two meet. The molding is made of wood or wood compounds and installed at the top of the walls of any room – but it’s especially popular in highly visible areas such as living and dining rooms, according to Kathy Ziprik, public relations representative for manufacturing company Fypon, in Maumee, Ohio.

Crown molding’s popularity has grown in part because people are now willing to spend more money on the look they want. “We’re seeing a gentle swing from the really tight, belt-buckling times that we’ve experienced over the past decade or so,” Ziprik says.

Another reason for crown molding’s increased demand is because people are buying smaller houses and focusing on the finer details, says Dean Johnson, host of PBS home improvement show “Hometime.”

While “Hometime” is a do-it-yourself series, Johnson does not recommend installing crown molding on your own unless you have considerable experience with home improvement projects. On a scale of difficulty from one to 10, Johnson gives crown molding a six.

Just choosing the type of crown molding best for a particular house can be a difficult task to take on solo. The height of crown molding can range from one inch to 14 inches, Ziprik says. A variety of designs and styles allow the homeowner to create a personalized feel. However, be aware of what works best for your home.

For example, avoid crown molding with a shape that feels too large for the room is “kind of like wearing pants that don’t fit – they might be nice, but they’re just too big,” says Mark Clement, licensed contractor and co-host of the national radio show MyFixitUpLife.

Clement also contributes to do-it-yourself blogs and has been a guest on the DIY Network. He, too, warns against self-installing crown molding without previous experience.

If, however, you feel confident in your ability to tackle the project, be sure to conduct plenty of research beforehand. Watching how-to videos in addition to perusing books on home improvement will help ambitious DIYers prepare. Practice with one or two pieces before committing to an entire room, Clement suggests.

To estimate the cost of purchasing crown molding on your own, simply ask any home center for an estimated price per foot. The cost of hiring a professional will vary based on the size of the room, but a contractor also should be able to give you an estimated cost.

Regardless of how you choose to install it, crown molding can add to the property value of a home.

“Crown molding is one of the things that I always put in a house to help it sell faster,” Clement says. “It’s an easy upgrade to help differentiate your house from the house next door. Prospective buyers notice it right away.”

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