How to trick out your trim molding in 5 easy steps

How to trick out your trim moldingThe trim molding in this entire house is the most boring, basic, builder grade molding available.  It’s funny to me the things builders skimp on.   There is no need to live with blah trim!  Trick out your existing trim by adding another layer of trim moulding (or two or three layers) to really amp up the awesomeness of your doors and windows!

How to trick out your trim molding


I could have stopped with adding a second layer of molding to the existing trim.  Some of you liked that better.

How to trick out your trim molding


But, you know how I feel about window treatments, I don’t like that empty space above the window and I don’t NEED any sort of window treatment for functional purposes so I decided to use trim to raise the window height.  (It may look top heavy now in an empty room but trust me, when the room is “occupied”, it will look great.)

How to trick out your trim molding


So here is how to trick out your existing trim molding in 5 easy steps.


Starting with blah skimpy molding with mitered corners.


How to trick out your trim molding


1.  Add an additional layer of molding with mitered corners to match the corners of your existing trim.


How to trick out your trim molding


2.  Add a piece of MDF that extends beyond your molding by 1″ on each side and is a similar thickness to the outer edge of your second layer of molding.  The height will vary depending on your ceiling height.  Mine is 3/4″ thick and 14″ tall.

How to trick out your trim molding

3.  Add a detailed molding in proportion to the height of your MDF.  I added one piece of small trim at the bottom of the MDF and another piece of the same trim about 5″ up — upside down.

How to trick out your trim molding


*Make sure to wrap the detailed trim around the edge of the MDF with a “return” with 45 degree beveled cuts.

How to trick out your trim molding


4.  Add crown molding to the top, wrapping around the MDF with a return (cut as an outside corner using your preferred method of cutting crown molding).  How to trick out your trim molding

You could take your cross header all the way to the ceiling and integrate the crown molding into the crown molding for the entire room.  (I would have done this but I got lazy on account of I had JUST installed the crown molding before I decided to do this treatment.)

If you don’t like painting everything white, install wood molding that you can stain.

How to trick out your trim molding


That was easy, right?  ;-)
How to trick out your trim molding-


  1. what is an easy way to miter the corners

  2. This looks amazing! We too have considered beefing up our moldings but we have a sill that sticks out on either side of the windows. Any suggestions? trim it out anyway and notch around the existing sill? try and cut back the sill so it’s flush with the 1st piece of window molding? (probably hard to do cleanly) Or do we just accept that fact that we probably would need to redo it all to beef it up? I would really appreciate your input! Love your blog and all your projects! : )

  3. Really nice tut!! My house was built with only basic trim around all doors (probably came with the door casing) and only sill trim on the windows. Looks so very boring and silly in my mind. But since it is all white I know I can paint the trim ahead and then help my husband through with the install.

  4. Linda @ Calling it Home says:

    Love this idea, and a great tutorial.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Love your transformation. Our house currently has no window trim, but has door trim and I want to add more trim.

    How would you do your techinque for a house that has those square pieces (decorative corner blocks is what one place online called them) at the corners of each door and window? Thanks!

  6. It looks fabulous. Thanks for the 5 easy steps!

  7. what a transformation!! I love the ceiling, too. It definitely has a wow factor. :)

  8. Kelsey Schweitzer says:

    Great tips for building your own door headers! We actually just posted a similar article on The Timeless House blog–3 Rules for Building Door Headers. Check it out and let us know what you think!

  9. Love this idea. Do you think it would work in a room that doesn’t have crown molding? Because of the “open-conceptness” of our house, adding crown molding would mean adding it to almost the entire house – something I’m not prepared to do. Would fancy shmancy windows look weird with plan ceilings?

  10. This is five easy steps and although I am not a huge fan of the “top heavy” molding, I repeat “you are a MASTER and so many appreciate the great options/tips you give us for our homes!” And I bet you will have the end result looking great. Always love your work Sandra. I am saving this tutorial “just in case” someday….

  11. Doing this!!! Your office is going to look awesome! I’d love to hear what you would recommend for vaulted ceiling. I hate them. My living room has a 9′ that vaults to 18′ on the other side of the room. Kinda tricky for me to figure out the cuts. The ceiling is also popcorn. After living here 22 years I’m FINALLY going to change it as much as I can.

  12. Michele @ The Scrap Shoppe says:

    This is AWESOME, Sandra! I’m going to need you to take a trip to middle TN and hook my windows up. Mkay? Love it! :)

Speak Your Mind