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Kitchen Design: Adding Moldings to Upper Cabinets

Updated on September 4, 2011
This kitchen that I remodeled was missing something.  Adding decorative moldings to the top of the cabinets finishes the look and makes the cabinets look taller.
This kitchen that I remodeled was missing something. Adding decorative moldings to the top of the cabinets finishes the look and makes the cabinets look taller. | Source

Kitchen design is always interesting as it is a very personal space that reflects a person’s or families’ style, their persona, and their taste.In many cases, there are space constraints to deal with and it can be quite interesting trying to manipulate the design layout that is the most functional and gives the client what they are looking for in terms of style.One trick that I have learned over the years is that taller cabinets are not necessarily functional as most people cannot reach the top shelves on these cabinets anyways.For this reason, there is often a substantial gap between the ceiling and the top of the cabinets that is basically a dust collection zone.A simple solution to finish this area off is to add moldings.

Molding Options to Add to the Top of Cabinets

In order to cover the substantial gap, typical crown molding is usually not enough to span the distance from the face frame of the cabinet to the ceiling.There are two solutions to cover this distance. The first is adding an initial decorative molding typically used as base molding around a room.Installing a 2x4 run on top of the upper cabinets flush to the face frame gives you a substantial nailing support.The molding is simply turned upside down to reveal the decorative edge and nailed into place using a finish nail gun.Gluing the mitered edges of the molding will add to its strength and prevent the gaps from shifting over time.All corners should also be supported by 2x4s so that they do not shift when installing the crown molding.The crown molding is then added over the large base molding which brings the moldings all the way up to the ceiling.This is the action that the homeowners chose for the kitchen depicted above and it turned out very nice.

Another method is adding molding to the top of the crown molding.Typically, the crown molding is installed first on top of the cabinets using the same 2x4 method as I used for the re-utilized base moldings as a rim board for the upper cabinets.Then a finished 1x4 is installed by sliding the boards on the ceiling so that they project roughly about 1 inch from the face of the top of the crown molding and they are nailed into place with a finish nail gun into the ceiling joists.Then a 1x1 inch decorative molding is added underneath the 1x4 pushing tight against the crown molding and giving it the appearance of a large singular molding.

Either of these choices works well for bringing some major decorative flare to the upper cabinets. If you are adding this to an existing kitchen, you can purchase the moldings at your local building supply store and remove a cabinet door to match the finish of the cabinets to the moldings.This is often best performed by a professional as matching stain and paint finishes is trickier than it seems.


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