Here’s how to create three great interior enhancements using little more than stock molding, elbow grease, and a little imagination.
Add Wood Casing to a Window
If the inside of your windows are plain drywall, dress them by trimming them out with stock window casing. Here’s how to go about it:
- Remove any blinds or curtains that might be in the way.
- If the window stool isn’t long enough for the casing, remove it and replace it with a longer board by cutting through the caulking with a utility knife, then using a pry bar and hammer to take it out.
- Cut the new window stool to width and length, allowing for a 3/8” reveal past the casing (casing width x 2 + 1/4″ casing reveals + 3/4″ stool reveals), and notch the corners to fit with a jigsaw.
- Fit the window stool on the window, and nail it in place.
- Miter the top window casing on each end, so the short miter length is 1/4″ longer than the width of the window opening to allow for a 1/8” reveal on each side.
- Position and nail the top window casing in place with a 1/8” reveal between the casing and window edge.
- Miter the top end of the side window casings and cut the bottom square to length.
- Position and nail each of the side casings in place, using wood glue on the miter cuts.
- Cut the window apron to the length with a 22½° angle on each end.
Window Casing Materials List
The materials to case an average size window costs about $55 and required approximately:
- 28’ window casing
- 7’ window stool
- 6d finishing nails
- Painter’s putty
- Wood glue
Watch video on Adding Window Casing to find out more.
Faux Wainscoting for Walls
To dress up the wall below the chair rail with the look of wainscoting, miter base cap molding, and apply it to the wall similar to picture frames. Here’s how to go about it:
- Measure the height and length of each section of wall where the molding will be applied.
- Subtract 9” from the height and 9” from the length to find the lengths to cut the molding, so there will be a 4½” margin between the baseboard, chair rail, and walls on all sides.
- Miter the ends of the molding, cutting each piece to the required length.
- Layout the pieces on a flat surface, then glue and nail the corners together, predrilling the holes to prevent splitting, to form four sided frames.
- Paint the molding first before installing.
- Attach the frames to the wall with construction adhesive.
- Position the frames on the wall, using scraps of wood or molding between the floor and frame to align the molding.
- Press the molding firmly into place, and reinforce with nails in the studs if needed.
- Set and fill any nails with spackling.
- Touch up any filled nail holes or dings with paint.
Faux Wainscoting Materials List
Making faux wainscoting panels for an average size room costs about $80 and required approximately:
- 90’ base cap molding
- 1 tube construction adhesive
- 6d finishing nails
- Wood glue
- Painter’s putty
Watch video on Installing Faux Wainscoting to find out more.
Floating Decorative Shelf
To dress up the wall in a child’s room, we made a 3’ long, floating decorative shelf using leftover lumber, plywood, and crown molding. Here’s how to go about it:
- Construct a 6” high by 6” deep by 28” long three-sided box from 3/4″ birch plywood with mitered corners and a rabbeted groove cut in the bottom edge to accept a plywood bottom.
- Assemble the box using wood glue and nails.
- Rout a pattern around three sides of a 3/4” x 10” x 3’ board, and attach it to the top of the box using nails and glue.
- Miter and attach 2¾” wide crown molding to the box under the shelf.
- Rip a piece of 3/4″ lumber 5” wide, then rip it down the middle at a 45° angle to create two cleats to hold the shelf to the wall.
- Attach one of the cleats to the back of the shelf inside the box with the bevel facing down.
- Attach the other cleat to the wall, using screws in the studs and additional anchors in the drywall or plaster, with the bevel facing up. When nailing or drilling into plaster, apply painter’s or masking tape to the wall before drilling to prevent chipping.
- Hang the shelf on the beveled wall cleat.
Floating Shelf Materials List
The floating shelf was made from scrap materials at little cost, and required approximately:
- Box: 1 – 3/4” x 12” x 36” piece of birch plywood
- Shelf: 1 – 3/4” x 12” x 36” pine board
- Molding: 1 – 2¾” x 6’ piece of crown molding
- Cleats: 1 – 3/4” x 6” x 30” pine board
- 6d finishing nails
- Wood glue
- Painter’s putty
- 3” screws
- Wall anchors
Watch video on Building a Decorative Shelf to find out more.
Other Tips from This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Caulking Tube Holders
To make storage for tubes of caulking in your shop, cut 2” I.D. diameter PVC pipe to 8” lengths, drill two sets of holes straight through the pipe, screw the pieces of pipe horizontally to the side of a shelf in your shop, and slide a caulking tube in each holder.
Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Ridgid Fuego Lithium-ion Drill
The Ridgid Fuego 2-speed cordless drill and driver has the highest torque in its class, includes an LED Flashlight, and is powered by Hyper lithium-ion battery which charges quicker and provides more power than standard lithium-ion batteries. The Ridgid Fuego cordless drill is available at The Home Depot and comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Ask Danny Lipford:
Finding a Reliable Contractor
The best way to find a reliable contractor for your home is by checking with your local homebuilders’ association, asking local architects, or asking for recommendations from friends or neighbors who have had similar work done on their homes. Then obtain estimates from several different contractors before deciding on one.
Check out three great interior home improvement projects that use molding:
Window Trim: Add wood casing trim molding around windows.
Wainscoting: Apply molding to walls to make faux wainscoting.
Wall Shelf: Build a floating wall shelf from stock molding.
- Tips for Cutting Molding (article)
- How to Turn Stock Molding into Custom Molding (video)
- Tips for Finishing Trim Molding (video)
- How to Cut and Install Crown Molding (video)
Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner, we’re creating some easy interior enhancements using nothing more than some stock moldings, elbow grease and a little imagination. Get your note pad ready, you’re going to want to remember these.
Are you looking for a few ways to improve the look of the interior of your home without spending a lot of money? Well, we’ve got some great projects for you this week. Involving using inexpensive moldings that can make such a difference in different areas of your home. Now, the first one we’re going to tackle is improving the look of the interior of these windows by simply just wrapping it with wood. This home belongs to my friend, Amy. All right, you ready to get this started?
Amy Hughes: I’m ready. Let’s do this.
Danny Lipford: She just moved in to this house and hasn’t even furnished this room yet, but she knows these windows need more than the mini blinds and curtain hardware left behind by the previous owner. The windows that you’ve probably seen has wood here, and this.
Amy Hughes: Right.
Danny Lipford: Well, we’re going to make it a little simpler. We’re going to sand this down so it looks like wood.
Amy Hughes: Okay.
I’m going to put that in and offset that like you normally would. Reveal.
Amy Hughes: Right.
And then we’ll paint all of this the trim color so that no one will know that’s not wood, except you.
Amy Hughes: Oh, okay.
Danny Lipford: So, that’ll make it a little simpler from that stand point. But what’s that going to make us have to do, We almost made it here.
Amy Hughes: Oh, I see.
Danny Lipford: But, you see, if we did that that would look a little odd. So, I mean it’s, and you don’t want, you know, you don’t want to add to that. So, we’re just going to replace this. That’s the easiest way. That way we can come out and trim this out the way it should be. And that’ll be pretty easy. So, all we need to do right now is… We’re probably going to take those other brackets down. Because you’re not going to… You don’t want any of that, do you?
Amy Hughes: Right, no. I’m not going to use those.
Danny Lipford: Okay, let’s go and take all that down.
Amy Hughes: Okay.
Danny Lipford: And then we’ll take this out and then we’ll start trimming them.
Amy Hughes: Cool! It’s going to look good.
Danny Lipford: After the unnecessary hardware’s removed and the holes filled in we turn our attention to the window stool. Cutting the caulk line between the stool and the surrounding surfaces should make it easier to remove, usually. But in this case these windows were replaced in recent years and the new window was sitting on top of the window stool. So, we’ll have to chisel the stool all flush with the window to make room for the new one.
Even if your window stool doesn’t extend under the window you will still want to clean off the old caulk before putting in the new piece. And measuring for that is our next chore. We’re going to have about eighth of an inch right there. We’ll make a mark there that’ll be covered up by the trim in a minute. And then we’re going to let that seal come out. Because that’s where the outside of this casing will be. We’ll let this come out about three-eighths of an inch. So, we’ll add three-quarters of an inch to our overall measurement.
Amy Hughes: Okay.
Danny Lipford: I’m also measuring for the top piece of casing using the same method. With those measurements we can begin making our cuts. For the stool material we have to rip about an inch and a half off of the edge since part of the old stool is still under the window. Then we cut it to the length we need before marking and cutting the notches where the stool fits into the window opening. The top piece of casing gets inward-facing 45s on each end where it meets the vertical pieces.
Back inside, the stool is a pretty snug fit. Even Amy’s pug Lilo, seems to approve. But we do have to notch out a small area in the middle to accommodate the mull strip between the two windows. Then we can nail the stool down to the window framing before moving to the upper piece of trim. The reveal up and you have to reveal over. You see that right there?
Amy Hughes: Uh-huh.
Danny Lipford: That point needs to be over an eight of an inch approximately.
Amy Hughes: Okay.
Danny Lipford: And you look like you’re right about in it there. When you’re nailing these pieces you want to work from one end to the other so you can maintain that reveal as you go. Now, we can measure for the apron. Okay, you know why it’s three-quarters? We got a three-eighths inch reveal on each end. Three-eighths, three-eighths, six-eighths.
Amy Hughes: I didn’t do so well in math class.
Danny Lipford: The verticals get one 45-degree cut to match the top and the apron gets 22 ½ degree cuts on either end. We nail the verticals starting from the miter cut working down. I’ll say it’s precisely cut, wouldn’t you say?
Amy Hughes: I would say that’s pretty precise.
Danny Lipford: Mmm-hmm. Yeah, hear that all the time. Not only are we making this window look better, Amy’s learning a lot as well. How’s that going? What happened?
Amy Hughes: Nothing. That’s the problem.
Danny Lipford: Hit it. Put it on there.
Amy Hughes: Okay, so I put it on there. Tap it.
Danny Lipford: Yeah.
Amy Hughes: I don’t think it’s moving.
Danny Lipford: I think seven, eight more hits you’re going to have that thing.
Amy Hughes: Ow!
Danny Lipford: Finally the apron goes in and we’re ready to putty the nail holes. Amy is sanding the dry wall return that’s exposed, to smooth out the texture so once we paint it, it will look like part of the wood trim. Especially after we caulk all of the joints where two pieces come together. And once that dries, we’re ready for paint.
Amy Hughes: Actually, I’m excited to have this. Now I’m feeling motivated. I was going to repaint this room so… It’s a good excuse to get it going. Get some furniture in here, get it all fixed up.
Danny Lipford: Oh, good. Lilo however doesn’t seem to share Amy’s enthusiasm. All right. I think at this point all you need to do is let it dry, sand it a little bit, put another coat of paint on, you’re done.
Amy Hughes: Well, thank you so much. It looks awesome. I can’t believe how big of a difference it really makes.
Danny Lipford: I know. Think about it. $55 worth of materials for one single window and double window to make this much of a difference.
Amy Hughes: That’s amazing.
Danny Lipford: Well, now that you’ve proven your skills as a painter I’ll help you get set up on the next window and then I’m out of here.
Amy Hughes: And then, I’m on my own, okay.
Joe Truini: I like using PVC pipe to solve storage problems around the workshop because it’s durable, it’s really inexpensive, and it comes in a wide variety of sizes. Today I’m using it to solve a problem of how to neatly store tubes of caulk. If you just set it on a shelf flat, they tend to roll around. And of course, if you stand them up they easily fall over and roll around the floor and you wind up chasing it.
So, what I did is I took some two-inch PVC pipe, and I cut it eight inches long, then I drilled a couple of half inch diameter holes in it so I can mount it to the side of the shelving unit. I’m just using one-inch screws. I’m just putting them right on the side of the unit. And now, there’s a really nice, easy way to store your tubes of caulk. Just slide them right in. Note, now this is two-inch diameter PVC. It’s a perfect diameter to set in the tubes of caulk. And now, when you need a tube of caulk you just pull it out. When you’re all done slide it right back into place.
Danny Lipford: This week we’re looking at several different ways to enhance the interior of your home by just using some simple stock moldings. Now, I hope you agree that Amy’s windows look a lot better now that we wrapped them with wood. And she told us that she just can’t stop looking at them. Now, she wants us to do all the other ones in the house. But right now, we’re focusing on a little room next to the entry way here, at homeowner Paige Stewart’s house. She wants to dress it up a little bit.
We’re going to do that by using a very simple base cap molding that we’ve already primed and painted. And we’re going to use this to create some little, simple panels on the wall. All I need, is a few measurements. Paige added the chair rail and two-toned paint scheme for this room several years ago. But now, we’re going to take that one step further by creating the illusion that the room has wainscoting. Alright, I’ll tell you what we’ll do, Paige. We’ll just kind of divide these areas up, get you to take the notes for us, then we’ll get you to help me cut and everything when we get outside.
Paige Stewart: Okay.
Danny Lipford: But we’ll just go a, b, c, d, right on around. Now, you’ve been thinking about this for a while, huh?
Paige Stewart: For a while, yeah. It’s actually a playroom for children for the most part. And I would like it to be a little more formal.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, well, this’ll do it. I tell you, just simply taking molding like that and creating the panels on here. And you’ve got kind of a neat situation, in that several of these areas are about the same size. And then the longer wall we have over here, we’ll probably divide that up into either two or three sections. So, that’ll it’ll kind of look like we know what we’re doing.
Paige Stewart: Okay.
Danny Lipford: So, let’s just try that. All right, let’s see if we get the first one here. I’ll give you these measurements here. By naming each section of wall as we go we’ll be able to label the pieces we cut and install them in just the right spot. The height of the chair rail is the same all the way around the room. So, that part of the equation will be very simple. If you can move all of the furniture before you start a project like this your chances of getting a consistent look are better all the way around. It’s also a good opportunity to find loose change and the kids’ lost toys. Look, $100.
Paige Stewart: Cool. It’s not as bad as I thought. It’s a chew toy. And he’s videoing it. No, you didn’t.
Danny Lipford: We want a four-and-a-half-inch margin around all sides. So if we subtract nine inches from the vertical dimension and nine from the horizontal one, we should have the exact length we need for each piece. Two vertical and two horizontal for each panel. Okay, now, let’s go see how we’re doing on the cutting.
Paige Stewart: That’s the best part.
Danny Lipford: A motorized miter saw is ideal for making these cuts, but an old-fashioned miter box will also work with these small, little pieces of molding. We’re building one frame to test our plan first. Gluing each joint, then pre-drilling the corners before nailing them together to prevent splitting. Now, the moment of truth. How does it look?
Paige Stewart: I think it’s the perfect size.
Danny Lipford: It seems like it has the right margins on it as far as proportion and everything. And by doing this, all of the outlets are the same height you know, all the way around the room, so it seems just right, it seems like the molding’s just right too. Look how the profiles kind of match up. Almost like a miniature version of the chair rail.
Paige Stewart: That makes a huge difference in a room.
Danny Lipford: It is pretty cool, isn’t it?
Paige Stewart: It is. That simple.
Danny Lipford: All right, well, We’ll cut the rest of them. We’ll just leave this one sitting there. We know our measurements are just what we need.
Paige Stewart: Okay.
Danny Lipford: Now, we can go into assembly-line mode. First, listing out all of the cut dimensions for each panel, then making all of the cuts one after the other so we get the most out of each piece of molding. When you’re measuring outside miter cuts it’s best to cut the first angle, then measure from that point. Rather than measure from a square end. Paige is stacking all of the pieces that make up a single panel together to avoid any confusion later. Okay, we put A in, so that’s B.
Paige Stewart: Okay.
Danny Lipford: No, you’re right. That’s C.
Paige Stewart: I love it when you say I’m right.
Danny Lipford: I know. I know that.
Paige Stewart: Wasn’t going to gloat but…
Danny Lipford: Okay. She’s also picking up this carpentry thing pretty well. Think you got it. Okay, I’m doing, It’s all you.
Paige Stewart: All me, so if it’s messed up… Okay.
Danny Lipford: Beautiful.
Paige Stewart: That’s what I like to hear.
Danny Lipford: With all of the pieces cut, the assembly of the panels go pretty quickly. And in no time we’re ready to start mounting them on the walls. But instead of relying on nails we’re using construction adhesive. This stuff from Titebond has a fast, initial grab, so, hopefully, we won’t even need nails. Once it’s in place you’ll have little time to make any final adjustment before applying some pressure. Then, it’s off to the next one. Occasionally, we’ll have to use a nail or two to tighten up the molding where there may be some dips in the drywall. That can really be a problem for the longer panels, but this time we got lucky. Look how smooth that is against the wall right there.
Paige Stewart: Yeah.
Danny Lipford: Now, that’s great. Before long, we’re done. I think your husband’s going to be surprised when he comes home and sees all the work that you did.
Paige Stewart: I think, even though I had your help on it, I think he’s going to be pleasantly surprised though.
Danny Lipford: But, you know, an average sized room like this, and it only cost $80 for the materials to do it, to make that much of a difference in, what, two-and-a-half, three hours of our time. Not too bad.
Paige Stewart: Exactly. He can’t complain over that.
Danny Lipford: I think it would be good to maybe have him help you take this right on down the hallway.
Paige Stewart: Oh, wow! We’ll see how that works out.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, see how that works out.
Paige Stewart: I’ll let you know.
Jodi Marks: If you’re in the market for a drill you might want to consider this one. This is the Ridgid Fuego. And it operates on a 12-volt lithium-ion battery. Now, this has got a lot of torque. As a matter of fact, it’s got the most torque in its class for a driver. And it operates on a hyper lithium-ion battery. Now, what that means is that it charges quicker, and it gives more pack to the punch when you’re using it.
Now, it also comes with this. It’s got a battery-operated flashlight that operates on an LED light. See how bright that is, Now, the drill actually has an LED light on it as well, so that when you’re using it you can see what you’re doing. Now, both of these come with a lifetime guarantee offered by Ridgid on all their products. That means that you get free batteries, free service, and free parts for life. Now, that’s a heck of a deal.
Danny Lipford: Hey, I hope you’re enjoying our interior enhancement show. We’ve already completed two different projects. Both, where we spent very little money but made a big, big difference. But, you know, sometimes the enhancements for the interior of your home actually start on the interior of your workshop. That’s where Allen is right now.
Allen Lyle: I’m one of those guys that loves to putter around in the shop for no reason. But it’s really good when I find stuff like this. Look at this. I’ve got a nice piece of 1 x 12 left over from a job site, some crown molding, here’s a scrap of 1 x 6. And look at this! A piece of three-quarter inch birch plywood. It’s a beautiful piece of wood. Not a lot to it. And honestly, you may not think this looks like much. But, I’ve got this idea swimming around in my head. And I thought I could really create a fun project for our interior enhancement show.
Danny Lipford: What Allen is building is a floating decorative shelf, which starts with a box made from that scrap plywood. Because this box carries the weight of the shelf it has to be strong, so Allen’s using a router table to cut a groove in the edge of these pieces of plywood.
Allen Lyle: I’m cutting this groove that will be a perimeter groove once I put these pieces together. And then the bottom is going to sit down inside that groove and cinch it all together. To make it even better, a good quality wood glue is going to be applied to all of these places to help really bond this well.
Danny Lipford: The wood glue and finish nails combine with the rabbit joint to make a great base. The top of the box is the 1 x 12 shelf board with a decorative edge added around the front and the sides. Once the top is nailed in place, Allen checks the fit of the crown molding, the real decorative touch. But before he nails it in place he’s adding the hidden element that makes the shelf float.
Allen Lyle: So, what we’re going to do is do a cleat on the inside, but we’re going to cut it a special way that will allow it to hang on the wall without any visible means of support.
Danny Lipford: After the cleat is cut to fit in the box from side to side, it’s ripped down to slightly less than the vertical dimension. Then, it’s ripped again.
Allen Lyle: We’re going to tilt our saw blade.
Danny Lipford: This time with a 45-degree bevel right in the middle.
Allen Lyle: Alright, so there’s our piece we just split. What I’m going to do is put this piece inside and attach it. This will go on the wall, this direction. So, when the two come together, here’s what you seeing. If I’m the wall, right here there’s my shelf, it’s going to lock into place just like that. And that’s what’s going to hold it on the wall.
Danny Lipford: So after a little more assembly followed by some primer and paint the shelf is ready for its new home in the room of a little girl named Mika. And Allen and her mom Sune are about to install it.
Allen Lyle: What do you think?
Sune Van Rooyen: I think it’s gorgeous.
Allen Lyle: Where?
Sune Van Rooyen: I think just about that high so she can’t reach it.
Allen Lyle: Okay.
Danny Lipford: After some more measuring and layout Mika and mom seem happy with the location.
Sune Van Rooyen: What do you think of your shelf?
Allen Lyle: Mika, did you see the shelf? What do you think? What are you going to put on this? Your brothers?
Mika Van Rooyen: No.
Allen Lyle: No? Okay.
Mika Van Rooyen: They’re too heavy.
Allen Lyle: They are too heavy, you’re right.
Danny Lipford: This wall is plaster, so applying tape over it before drilling the pilot holes prevents chipping and crumbling. Then they install anchors in the holes.
Sune Van Rooyen: That worked, kind of.
Danny Lipford: Before attaching the beveled cleat. With two screws going into the anchors and two screws into studs. Now, for the real test.
Sune Van Rooyen: That’s it. Wow!
Allen Lyle: That’s your floating shelf.
Sune Van Rooyen: Let me see. That looks great!
Martin asks: My wife and I want to have an addition built onto our home. How can we find a reliable contractor to do the job?
Danny Lipford: You can find a list of contractors in your local newspaper or your phonebook. But what I would recommend is to deal with contractors that routinely do the type of work that you want to have done at your house. I mean you wouldn’t want a guy that builds only new homes to be building an addition on to your existing home. So check with your local homebuilders’ association or local architects.
Or even better, check with some friends and neighbors that have had this type of work done recently at their house, and drop by and check it out and make sure the quality is what you’re expecting. Then get a list of three or four contractors, and invite them out to your house individually. Show them exactly what you want to have done, and what you’ll take care of yourself. That way you get an apples to apples estimate.
Amy Hughes: It looks so good! I can’t believe how big of a difference it makes.
Danny Lipford: This week we made some great improvements for some happy homeowners without breaking the bank for anyone. The windows in Amy’s front room look incredible with the new casings around them. Paige got the more formal look she wanted from our faux wainscoting. And Mika’s room has a great new decorative addition, thanks to the floating shelf that Allen created. Three different projects where we used nothing but just regular stock moldings.
But here’s a couple other things you need to think about. First of all if you know you’re going to paint the moldings, then you have an option of using different types of material like this medium density fiber board or some of the plastic composite moldings that are available. They hold paint great, but they don’t expand and contract as much which can be a problem when you have wood moldings.
But if you want a stained finish then you’re going to have to go with wood and use a clear molding like this and not a finger-joint material like this. It’s very common and paints very well, but is not what you want if you’re looking for a nice stained finish.
Hey, we want to see some of the projects that you’ve done where you’ve used just some simple stock moldings. We’d love to see a picture of it. Send it to us at todayshomeowner.com. Hey, thanks for being with us, this week and join us next week right here for more Today’s Homeowner.