How to Install Crown Molding on Kitchen Cabinets?

How to Install Crown Molding on Kitchen Cabinets

Crown molding is more than just a decorative element; it’s a transformative addition that elevates the look and feel of your kitchen. Often associated with high-end design, crown molding on kitchen cabinets bridges the gap between the cabinetry and ceiling, creating a seamless and sophisticated appearance.

While the installation process may initially appear complex, this guide simplifies it, allowing even those with basic DIY skills to add this elegant touch to their kitchen.

Materials and Tools Required 

Before embarking on this project, it’s essential to have the right tools and materials. The quality and suitability of your tools can significantly affect the ease of installation and the final appearance. Here’s what you need:

  • Crown Molding: Choose a style that complements your kitchen’s aesthetic. The molding should be proportional to your cabinets and ceiling height.
  • Measuring Tape and Pencil: Precision in measurement is crucial for a flawless fit. A good quality measuring tape and a pencil are indispensable for accurate markings.
  • Miter Saw: This tool ensures clean and precise cuts, especially for the intricate angles required in crown molding.
  • Nail Gun or Hammer and Finishing Nails: A nail gun can significantly speed up the process, but a hammer and finishing nails are just as effective for a more hands-on approach.
  • Wood Glue: This adds an extra layer of adhesion, ensuring a secure and lasting bond.
  • Caulk and Caulk Gun: Used for filling gaps, caulking helps in achieving a professional, finished look.
  • Sandpaper or Fine File: Essential for smoothing out any rough edges post-cutting and post-installation.
  • Paint or Stain: This is optional but can be used to either match the molding with your cabinets or provide a contrasting accent.

Measuring and Planning

The success of your installation hinges significantly on the planning phase. Start by taking comprehensive measurements of the cabinet tops, factoring in all angles and corners. It’s also vital to consider the overall design.

Do you prefer a subtle, understated look, or are you aiming for something more bold and pronounced? Remember, the molding should complement, not overwhelm, your kitchen’s design. It’s also essential to accurately plan for the corners – they can be tricky and require precise cutting for a perfect fit.

Cutting the Molding

Cutting the molding is perhaps the most skill-intensive part of the process. Each piece must be cut to the exact length and angle. For standard outside and inside corners, cuts are typically made at 45 degrees, but always double-check against the actual angle of your walls, as they can often be slightly off from perfect right angles.

The coping saw comes into play for inside corners, allowing the molding to fit tightly against its adjoining piece. It’s advisable to practice on scrap pieces to hone your technique.

Dry Fitting

Dry fitting is an essential step not to be overlooked. It involves temporarily placing the cut molding on top of the cabinets without permanent attachment.

This step allows you to check the fit of each piece and make any necessary adjustments. It’s much easier to trim or re-cut a piece of molding during this stage than after it has been glued and nailed in place.

Attachment Process

Attaching the molding requires patience and precision. Start by applying a thin layer of wood glue on the edges of the molding that will be in contact with the cabinets.

This helps in creating a stronger bond. Then, using a nail gun or hammer, secure the molding with finishing nails. Be mindful of the nail length – it should be adequate to secure the molding firmly without piercing through the cabinet’s surface.

It’s often helpful to have an assistant to hold the molding in place during this step.

Caulking and Finishing

After the molding is attached, the next step is to make it look like an integral part of the cabinet. Caulking fills any gaps between the molding and the cabinets, creating a smooth, finished look.

Once the caulk is dry, sand any rough spots to ensure a uniform surface. If you’ve chosen to paint or stain the molding, now is the time to do it.

This can be an opportunity to either match the cabinets or add a contrasting design element.

Professional Tips for a Flawless Finish

To achieve that sought-after professional look, pay attention to the finer details. When cutting, make sure your angles are precise, and when coping, practice makes perfect.

Cabinets are not always perfectly level, so be prepared to adjust the angle of your cuts slightly to accommodate any irregularities. For added stability, try to nail into studs whenever possible.

Finally, patience is key. Take your time with each step to ensure a polished and elegant final product.


Installing crown molding on your kitchen cabinets is more than a simple upgrade; it’s a value-addition that brings a sense of luxury and completeness to your kitchen.

While it requires a bit of planning, precision, and patience, the result is a visually pleasing and gratifying improvement to your home. Remember, every kitchen is unique, so adapt these instructions to fit your space. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to call a professional.

With the right approach and attention to detail, your kitchen can achieve a balance of elegance and style, elevating your home’s overall aesthetic.

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