How to install molding and add interest to basic walls from Thrifty Decor Chick Leave a comment

I’ve been working on this wall molding project for almost four months and
it’s finally done!! Geesh. I started it right after I finished the
HUGE wall of bookcases
in the basement but I kept getting distracted by other projects that were
brighter and shinier. ūüėȬ†

It took longer than expected because when do a project like this, one thing
always snowballs into a million other smaller projects. Every. time. But I’m
REALLY loving how it turned out and I’m also really happy I added all of the
smaller projects. 

When I finished the wall of built ins down here, I knew right away that the
other walls needed something: 

dark Westchester gray walls and built in

I’ve planned to do these molding boxes for a long time, but knew I needed to
wait until after the built ins were done to determine the size. 

We LOVE the dark, moody gray we have down here (Westchester Gray), but
painting the walls made me even more sure that the wainscoting would look
REALLY good:

Disney ride poster wall

I had to decide on the design first — I only had three wall sections that I
wanted to add trim to. I took a photo of one wall and then added lines using
my phone editing. 

The traditional two boxes was what I initially wanted to do: 

Figuring out size of panel molding

But I thought I’d try out adding one more at the top and loved it:¬†

Three box panel molding

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Simple decorative trim for wainscoting

You can find it at Menard’s, Home Depot and Lowe’s. It was harder to find
this time though! It feels like everyone in the world is working on DIY
projects right now. ūüôā¬†

I painted our walls in a flat sheen, but I always use semi-gloss on trim.
I painted so many of these eight foot pieces…with brushes,
rollers, and then with my favorite find, this little paint pad: 

Painting pad for trim
It was great because I could just dunk it in the paint in the can — no need
to pour into a tray. It got into the little groves easily and made quick
work of the painting. I think I got mine at the dollar store, but this is a whole set! I usually wait until the trim is on the wall to paint, but since I was
doing a different sheen I painted before. 
installed the crown molding
and then cut scrap pieces of wood in the sizes I needed to space out my
boxes. Each box was 3.5 inches away from the nearest wall (except for around
the window where I did twice that to accommodate for the drapes). 
I spaced each panel two inches from the top, bottom and between each box:

Using measured scrap to space trim

Having those cut helps tremendously…you can easily check to see that
everything is spaced out the way they should be. I also checked for level as
I was installing them as well. 

I finally bit the bullet a few months ago and bought
this battery-powered nail gun
and it is a game changer! I’ve been carrying around a compressor and
fighting the air tubing for 15 years. The cordless nailer is SO much more
convenient, but definitely heavier. 

The molding needs to be cut at a 45 degree angle because of the detail:

45 degree cut for wall molding boxes

This is why I usually paint after the trim is on the wall — after caulking
and filling holes, you have to do more coats anyway: 

Filling and caulking trim work

Although I didn’t caulk at all with this trim. It fits pretty flat against the
wall. Get the nails into studs where possible, and for other spots you can
nail at an angle to secure it well. 

When I was done I knew there were some more things I wanted to tackle. Those
skinny molding boxes at the top were crying out for some lighting! I so wish I
had all of these ideas in my head when we were building, because I would have
added electricity then. 

Brass battery operated art lights

I moved some of the art around, changed up some of the decor and painted the
baseboards to match the rest of the walls. At the last minute I also added
some additional trim in the angled part under the stairs:

Panel molding under stairs

That took me forEVER. The angles were not computing in my head and it was a
couple hours of checking angles and going up and down the stairs to the garage
to cut. Twenty-five times or so.

Large round wicker art

Holy cats, I love them so much. So, so much. I want to hang them all over the
house! They look so good and you get the whole (huge!) set for under

All of the projects were SO worth it…it looks so good!!:

Panel molding on dark gray walls

Dark gray walls with wood and brass accents

Gray bookcase and wall molding

Three panel wainscoting on walls

Large gray sectional with chaise

I always love crown molding in a room too. It’s a traditional touch that adds
so much character. 

I love this space most at night when we have the recessed and bookcase lights
dimmed and the art lights turned on:

Dark gray walls with wood accents
Vintage wood dresser gray walls

Huge framed ikea world map

The molding is the perfect finishing touch down here. If I’ve said it
once I’ve said it a million times…trim work makes SUCH a big difference
for not a lot of money. I spent about $150 for the molding, but it usually
costs less than that. (The trim has gone up $2 each since I bought it a few
months ago!)

I used a lot because of the three sections and large size, so this project
could easily be done for under $100!

Here are a few before and after pics…this space has seen so many DIY
projects over the past four years!: 

We are spending more time down here than ever! It’s definitely our favorite
spot in the house lately: 

Large wall panels using molding

I’m so happy to have another project crossed off the list. Now onto easier items like some organizing!¬†

Questions? Here are the projects and items in our basement family

Built in bookcase how-to

Drapes and giant map are from IKEA

Dresser is vintage

Rug was a HomeGoods find years ago

Cyberspace dark blue walls with molding

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