If you’re looking for a unique way to warm up one of the rooms in your home, here’s a stunning idea– lighted crown molding. Lights installed behind crown molding cast a soft glow onto the wall and ceiling.
Simply connect them to a dimmer switch, and add just the right amount of ambiance to any room. Now, doing this project does require skills in a couple of different areas– electrical and millwork. But if you’re reasonably handy around the house, you should be able to pull it off.
Here’s how. The first thing you’ll need to do is measure the circumference of the room to determine how much molding you’ll need. Remember to add an extra 15% for cuts and waste. You’ll also need to purchase the same amount of LED lights.
These come in different colors and can be connected together. Just be careful not to exceed the recommended length found on the box. Lighted crown molding is typically installed a few inches below the ceiling.
It’s supported by a backer strip cut at the same angle as your molding typically either 52 or 45 degrees. To determine the right placement, take a small section of molding and backer strip and drape the LED lights through the channel behind.
Experiment with the distance from the ceiling until you get the lighting effect you want. Now, measure the space between the ceiling and the backer strip, and make marks around the entire room using a stud finder to note the position of the studs.
Before putting up the crown molding you’ll need to put your other hat on and install a switched electrical outlet for the lights. If you have access from above, you may be able to run the wiring off a ceiling fan or an overhead light.
Cut a hole for the outlet next to one of the studs just above the line where the molding will go. After running power to the new location, install the electrical outlet by hooking up the hot and neutral wires to the appropriate terminals.
Attach the outlet for the box, and add a face plate. Then test the power to make sure it’s functioning properly. To install the molding, you’ll need to rip a piece of 2 by lumber at the correct angle, either 42 or 45 degrees, with a table saw.
When you’re done, it should look like this. Nail the backer strip to the studs along the mark at the top of the wall. Leave a gap of a few inches in the corners. Now, proceed with the installation of the crown molding, attaching the molding to the backer strip with a nail gun.
There are many ways to install crown molding. One of the easiest is to cope the inside corners. If you’re not familiar with the technique, it can be a little tricky. So make sure you follow along carefully.
It also helps to cut a set of crown templates. Place the first piece of crown molding all the way into the corner with the edge flush against the wall. Place the new piece of crown molding on your miter saw upside down and backwards.
If you’re doing an inside cut, you’ll need to cut at the proper angle for your molding– toward the full portion of the piece. Outside corners would be cut away from the full portion. Now, use a coping style to trim out the thickness of the molding along the cut line so it creates a clean edge to fit up against the opposite piece of molding.
Once you’ve finished installing the molding throughout the room, run a beat of cork between the crown and the wall, and seal the miter joints as well. Now, you can lay your lights along the channel behind the crown molding, connecting them together until you’ve gone all the way around the room.
Add a dimmer switch and you have the flexibility to raise the light level up or down to set just the right mood. You can find crown molding in many different styles, and you can even layer different types to provide that perfect accent to complement any decor.
Check out our complete line of molding products at The Home Depot. And look for more great home improvement projects on our website at homedepot.com.