Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How to Add Cabinet Molding

Today’s post is brought to you by Nate. 

He is going to tell you all about adding simple molding to plain ol’ boring cabinets and how my brother can’t measure…

Adding molding to old cabinets, DIY, tutorial

The first step in the molding process was picking out the molding.  We need something simple and on the thinner side.  We purchased the molding above from Lowe’s.

The next step in adding cabinet molding was deciding where to place the molding on the cabinet.  We used a spare piece of wood and marked 1” from the edge with chalk.  The 1” placement did not look right so we went to 2.5” in from the edges.  Ike approved of the 2.5”.

Adding molding to old cabinets, DIY, tutorial

Marshall (Michelle’s little brother) provided us with all of the dimensions before hand. (They were all incorrect.  Always measure from the edges.  It makes things a lot easier when installing. I could cut all the pieces (with a miter saw at 45 degrees on each side) the weekend before to save some time. Or so I thought.

On all of the doors, I marked the selected length in from all sides.  I laid out the pieces to make sure the person that originally measured did so correctly.  After discovering that all doors were measured incorrectly, I made the necessary adjustments and remarked all of the doors (I should have verified before marking all doors, but I assumed he knew what he was doing.  A learning lesson for both of us.).

Adding molding to old cabinets, DIY, tutorial

Adding molding to old cabinets, DIY, tutorial

I put a little bead of wood glue on the molding and placed it on the door at the selected marks. I then used a brad nail gun to securely attach to the molding to the doors. I used 5/8” brads as they were just long enough to get through the molding into the door but not all the way through the door.  Repeat on all doors.  Fill in the holes and corners with wood filler and sand.

Adding molding to old cabinets, DIY, tutorial

I also installed molding on a plain area of the cabinets.

Adding molding to old cabinets, DIY, tutorial

The next step is to paint over the entire thing (read about that here and here) and enjoy the added dimension.

Adding molding to old cabinets, DIY, tutorial

Adding molding to old cabinets, DIY, tutorial

$50 in molding definitely helped improve the looks of this kitchen.

Adding molding to old cabinets, DIY, tutorial
Adding molding to old cabinets, DIY, tutorial

Read about the paint we used hereSee more before and after photos here

Anyone’s kitchen in need of some molding love?  Anyone else out there struggle with measuring?


  1. Wow. That transformation is amazing! It's looking great!

  2. Such a huge difference. The molding makes the cabinets look like such an upgrade! I have 4 doors on our entertainment center that I'd like to add molding to at some point in the future. They are too plain as is.

  3. Wow...$50 and a lot of time goes a long way....I would love my cabinets painted white....such a huge task!

  4. I just can't get over what an immense difference a little molding and paint can make! Oh and definitely convince him to paint that door :) Great job.

  5. Again, that kitchen is turning out stunning! Does not even look like the same kitchen. I would love to put molding around the house, but I do have trouble with all the measurement lingo, it gives me a headache. Ike looks adorable as always, how do you manage to take pictures of him just sitting there, my dogs never stay still?

  6. Thanks for this! We are looking to trim a Malm dresser and I emailed this tutorial to my dad to help him understand what I wanted :) You (and Nate) rock!

    Also, was going to ask, how did you decide where to place the cabinet handles? From the photo it looks like the knobs aren't on every door?

    1. My brother kept the original hinges and latches (after lots and lots of scrubbing..he saved ~80 doing so). The cabinets have some weird latch thing that only requires 1 knob to open...less money to spend on hardware.

  7. Awesome! That's $50 WELL spent. Looks great - wish I had a brother to help.

  8. seriously your bro's kitchen looks amazing!!! And to think it was so cheap... this is making me feel like a total loser for not doing ours yet!!! :( I need to get on it! Tell Nate "nice job" on the moldings! Such a great and simple way to add character and update old cabinets!!!

  9. Nice to hear from Nate! And those cabinets look soooo much better now! When are you coming to help me paint my cabinets?

  10. This looks great! Between the moulding and the paint, it's like a new kitchen. I'm pretty horrible with measurements. It's mostly because I don't take my time and get in a hurry. All's well that ends well, right?

  11. How easy! Except the measuring part.. I've screwed up measuring before too. :(

  12. Yes!!! I've toyed with doing this to our existing cabinets because it would sure beat replacing them. They are so plain and flat and ugly. Glad to know it's cheap and fairly easy IF you know how to measure. That's what Rick is for. :P

    That kitchen looks beautiful now. Your brother's lucky to have handy siblings like you guys. ;)

  13. What a difference that made! The cabinets looks awesome; well done!

  14. I wonder if Marshall measured properly? Either way, nice project! Really dresses the joint up. Nice job Nate.

  15. The kitchen looks great and you brother does deserve a little teasing for all the free labor made that much harder. I love the idea for molding design and placement. I had been thinking about trying to add trim to make mine look shaker-esk and this this gives me something else to think about.

  16. That SUCKS about the bad measurements. But I'm pretty sure I couldn't be trusted to do it correctly either. The new moldings are my FAVORITE part of the whole kitchen.

  17. Wow, the kitchen looks fabulous! Much better than what it looked like before and I'm really loving the cabinet molding. It looks like it would be a fairly easy and inexpensive job to do:)

  18. Prepare the doors and drawer fronts before attaching moldings. Get advice from a paint store on sanding and priming your laminate cabinets, but in general a primer mixed with a bonding agent may be a good solution.

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  45. My kitchen is almost identical to yours but is still outdated. You have inspired me to tackle it! My question is how did you decide how far in from the edge of the doors to put the molding? Our kitchen is original to our 1947 house and the doors to the left of the sink are larger in width than the doors to the right of the sink. I'm not sure if i should measure of the edge of the door or make all the trim the same size?

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