Is Using Baseboard for Crown Molding a Good Idea?
Written by Milan Jara on 3rd Oct 2022
People have been using baseboard for crown molding for a long time. It is easy to install, and you don’t have to figure out angles. But is it a good idea?
Is there a difference between baseboards and crown molding? While both have similar purposes, they are different in their applications. Crown molding has a decorative purpose as it incorporates design elements than the rest of the room. Baseboard molding is also decorative; it covers where the wall and floor meet. We discuss whether using baseboard for crown molding is a good idea.
The main difference between crown molding and baseboards is that baseboards are flat while crown molding is angled. Both types of molding work fluidly in a home and typically complement each other. They are designed to finish a room. Many people will select both types to match each other, providing a more sophisticated and cohesive look.
Baseboards are more common than crown molding in many homes as they look great and are functional. Since they aren’t angled, installation is easier for those who like to DIY. Baseboards provide a tighter joint between a wall and the floor as walls tend to not be entirely straight.
Using Baseboard for Crown Molding
Can you use baseboards for crown molding? The answer to this question is yes, you can. Many homeowners choose to incorporate this as it is easy to install. However, be aware that it can appear okay for some applications, but it is often best to use it for its intended function, which is along the floor.
Flat baseboards will not give a space the profile that crown molding will. Additionally, crown molding frequently covers imperfections in your ceiling, which is especially useful in an older home where there is shifting from the house settling over time.
Unfortunately, baseboards will not be able to hide every flaw. Flat baseboards will break when placed near a ceiling because they will not receive the necessary support in the middle.
What About Using Crown Molding for a Baseboard?
You can use crown molding for baseboards, but we don’t recommend it. Since it is angled, it would likely not sit against the floor correctly. It may not look as good as you would like. Additional reasons to avoid doing this include:
- Children, pets, and adults can accidentally step on the molding, and it can break. Again, crown molding is angled and doesn’t rest flush against the wall. Crown molding is not supported in the middle and will cause breakage.
- Crown molding is not designed for this purpose.
- Moldings are often dense foam. They will quickly show any dings when placed along the floor.
Things to Consider
If the purpose behind using baseboards for crown molding is monetary, consider utilizing a crown molding composed of medium-density fiberboard (MDF). MDF molding is made by combining resin and sawdust under pressure.
This blend forms your trim pieces and provides a more cost-effective option. While you can paint most decorative molding, you may find some designs containing a thin veneer that you can stain. The only downside to this material is that it is softer and prone to scratches and nicks.
Polystyrene or Styrofoam can also be used and is excellent for budget-conscious consumers. It is easy to snap to cut and installs with little effort using a foam-safe adhesive. The downside is that the texture looks like foam (imagine a disposable coffee cup) and may easily dent. If you want a smoother texture, use two to three coats of quality paint to smooth out its surface texture.
The best crown molding to use is wood molding. It is the industry standard, and you can stain it to match the woodwork in the home. Plain wood crown molding is on the lower end of the financial spectrum, while going more ornate will cost more money.
You will also need to consider your design. If you choose to install baseboard trim as crown molding, it will need to be in a more common space. Look at the room you want to upgrade and decide whether the plainness of baseboards will enhance it or detract from its beauty.
Ceiling height matters, too. If you have a low ceiling, you may want plainer decorative molding. Extensive detailed crown molding will overwhelm the space. You will not want to use baseboards for high ceilings in a spacious room as they will underwhelm the space and look out of place.
To achieve balance in the room, crown molding needs to be the same size and style as your other trim, including window trims, cabinet trims, chair rail molding, and baseboards. Also, if the trim is stained, stain your crown molding. If painted, paint the wall molding. Keep everything consistent for the best results.
Conclusion: Is it a Good Idea?
Both crown molding and baseboards have their place in a home and are designed for different purposes. While you can use baseboards for crown molding, because of the design it isn’t advisable. However, many homeowners do and still will incorporate it into the look of their homes.
Whether to incorporate it or not will depend on the individual. Some homeowners do this because it provides a quick, easy installation. There is no matching of angles involved in putting it up. It is cohesive and matches easily with the rest of the home’s design. However, baseboards are not meant for this purpose.
When using baseboards for crown molding, it should be in a space with low ceilings or a room requiring fewer decorative elements. Installing it may save you money and be easier in the short term. However, as a long-term solution, you may regret your decision. In the end, it may not look as nice as you had envisioned and may not be as durable as you had hoped.