If you would like your home to have the look and feel of a million dollar mansion without spending the million dollars we have some helpful hints on how to create a rich, quality appearance, without going broke. Crown molding, chair rails and wainscoting are just a few of the many elegant extras that can transform even the most modest home into a design dream.

Crown Molding

Designed to soften and decorate an otherwise stark, empty corner where the wall meets the ceiling, crown molding can actually create a visually stunning focal point using a wide variety of styles and materials.


Wood molding is available in a variety of wood species such as pine, spruce, poplar and oak as well as medium density fiberboard, and it comes in various styles from plain to decorative. When installing wood molding you may opt for a simple, single piece of crown molding or create a custom design by combining lengths of various styles of molding.

Danny Lipford installing crown molding.Installing wood molding is fairly straightforward as long as you take accurate measurements, plan carefully and are fairly comfortable using a miter and coping saw. Coping and mitering refer to the two types of cuts necessary to effectively join strips of molding together at the corners.

Select a style of molding based on the overall architectural style of your home as well as the decor in your room. Also, take care of all painting or staining prior to installation, as this is much easier and will provide better results.


As with many other home-related products, synthetic materials such as urethane now provide additional decorative choices in molding and due to the fact that it’s lightweight, make the job of installation much easier. Urethane crown molding resists splitting, cracking and peeling due to age and changes in temperature and humidity. In addition, various manufacturers now make available ready-made corner pieces that virtually eliminate the need for much of the cutting that wood requires.

Danny Lipford with wainscotting on wall.

Chair Rail

Traditionally installed to protect walls from chairs as they were moved away from the table, chair rails also provide both a decorative finish and a means to separate two different colors or finishes on a wall. Generally installed at around 36 inches high, chair rail is very simple to install and can easily be handled by most homeowners. The material used is a strip of molding available at any home center. Simply match the style with that of either your crown molding or the overall style of your room.


Wainscoting refers to the application of wood panels around the lower portion of a wall providing both protection to the wall as well as a rich finishing touch. There are many styles of wainscoting ranging from traditional to modern, and your selection would be based of course on individual preference as well as the overall style of your home.

In the past, wainscoting required custom millwork and a sizable investment and was quite a luxury item. However, a wainscoting kit that is now available makes the project an affordable option for many homeowners, costing a fraction of traditional wainscoting with an installation process that is as simple as putting together a child’s puzzle. The kit of parts includes pre-machined stiles, rails and panels that fit together by a tongue-and-groove joining system.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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