Adding molding to kitchen cabinets...

Printer-friendly version
Asked By: 

I'm getting ready to paint my small kitchen. I have a black oven and a beige kitchen counter, floor and walls. The kitchen is too small to use a darker color. I would also like to know how to place molding on my flat cabinet doors, so that I can have two different colors. Can you help me please?

Thank you.


Putting molding onto your cabinets will change the overall feeling of your kitchen. Molding is one of the fastest projects you can do to update a kitchen. When you put molding on the fronts of your cabinets, you'll watch them go from flat and dull to beautiful panels that show off your kitchen. Cooking will have a whole new meaning. Though you may want to think twice about painting the molding black on your beige cabinets as it might make your kitchen feel even smaller.
Now of course, the answer you've been waiting, here goes. The first you'll need to decide what kind of a look you want. This will determine the kind of molding to purchase and how to cut it. If you would like to have more of a mission style (more square and flat) then purchase a 1" flat molding and cut it to match the outside edge on the front of the door. As the molding is flat, all cuts should be made at 90 degree angles. This way you'll only have to but up the straight edges. If you would like to add more detail then we suggest you place a piece of molding 1/3 of the way down in the middle. Then cut another piece to dissect that one into 2 small boxes. This is a very common mission style.
If you are looking for more of a traditional panel look you'll want to purchase molding with more detail. As this type of molding isn't flat you will need to cut it at 45 degree angles. This will allow for the edges to come together properly. What you'll need to cut the molding for either this or the mission style above either a miter box or a miter saw. You may find that you will have better control over your cut when you do it by hand with the miter box.
Before you get started cutting you will have to decide where you would like to place the molding on the door. It can be placed right up against the edge or it can be placed &#189;" to 2" in. Once this is done you'll need to measure and begin cutting. The best way to adhere these pieces of molding is to nail them on with something called a brad. A brad is a "headless nail". The reason why this is so important is that once you've gotten it nailed in, you'll take a tool called a counter setter, place it at the top of the nail and hit it with your hammer. When it's done right all you have left is a small hole that you can fill with spackle if you're painting over it or wood filler if you're staining. (Make sure to fill in any gaps with this as well before painting/staining). Now you've got the recipe, start cookin'&#8252;
Jane Tip: If you plan on painting the molding, then MDF (medium density fiberboard) will fit your needs and help out as it usually comes already primed and usually costs less. Though if you plan on staining it, then purchase a higher quality molding with a better looking grain. Check to see if you prefer the look of your stain on pine or oak as the same finish will appear differently on these woods. If you're not sure, purchase a small piece of molding and test the stain to see if you like the look.
Good luck! We hope this helps!

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 



I love this and it will be very helpful. The all important question is what type of molding do I buy. I went and came home with a few but tehy dont seem to be the right fit. I would like something very traditional. Can you help????

I can completely relate!! When I put molding in on my cabinet doors it was really scary to chose one. I was afraid that I would pick something awful and I would end up having to live with it.

My first suggestion is figure out how wide you want the molding to be. This is really easy, all you have to do is cut out strips of paper and tape them up to the cabinet door to see how it would look. Remember, you don't have to put the molding right up to the edge (I actually placed mine 1" away). Once you've figured out how big you want it to be, that will definitely limit your choices.

Next, when you buy molding I find it's really hard to know how it's going to look because half of the beauty of it is in the mitered corners. So if you can just cut one corner on each to see how they look when they are lined up.

All I can say after that is to take a deep breath and choose one. I guarantee that you won't make a bad decision. Besides if you're not sure you can always attach a few different types of molding to a few doors to choose. Though for me, I just get frustrated if I have to make too many decisions.

Regardless of what you choose, it will be the right one for you. Just trust in your own abilities and go for it!

Hug 'n hammers,



Heidi: Your project came out beautifully and I would like to know how long it took you to complete it? Also would I be able to obtain larger photos to give me a better idea of the material you used? I really like the order of your material and I would like to use the same. Tks, H

Heidi. Thanks so much for your encouragement and advice. Did you use one or two moldings....they look great. I will have to be sure to take before and after pictures. One more question. I have the doors that have a strip of wood(oaak looking) on the bottom of the cabinet that is the pull to opene the cabinets. I am debating whether I should cut that strip off. I would like to attach handles or knobs of some kind. What do you think?

I actually used 3 different types of molding. One for the the cabinet doors, a second for the crown molding and a third for the base of the top cabinets. As for what you should do with that strip of wood, it's kind of hard for me to say without seeing a picture though if you are looking for a tradional look, you probably will need to remove it and put on handles. If you get a chance go ahead and put up a picture so that I can better see what you mean. Hope this helps Hugs 'n hammers, Heidi

Hi, this is for the pp who posted the pictures. How did you attach the moulding to your cabinet doors? I am thinking of doing this, and wondering if I should glue, or nail them. Thanks