Crown molding can be a beautiful addition to your home, but there can be too much of a good thing
Crown molding is a popular choice for many homes as a decorative finishing element that adds some flair to a room.
While you might just be considering crown molding because you like it, it can also beg another question: Can beautiful crown molding increase your home's value when and if it comes time to sell? The answer, though nuanced, could save (or make) you thousands of dollars.
Crown Molding Needs to Match Your Home
Crown molding is a type of decorative trim that separates a wall from a ceiling (or other edges) in your home. New crown molding should match a home's (and neighborhood's) aesthetic. For example, you wouldn't use the same trim design on an old colonial—which typically uses wood—as a modern home, which might use plaster or medium density fiberboard.
You should also keep in mind that standard crown molding is 3.25-inch for walls, doors, windows, and ceilings, while baseboards typically are an inch larger. Plan out the look of the room, and your home, before taking the plunge. You may also want to do some research to see what style of crown molding is common in your style of home.
Don’t Overdo It When Adding Crown Molding
Some home improvement experts say you should treat crown molding like a fresh paint job; it should liven up the room and add a new dimension to it. Like a fresh coat of paint, "more" is not always better, especially when it comes to resale value.
Getting too specific or custom with your crown molding, for example, could cost you. Not only will custom trim cost much more to install (up to five times the price per linear foot), but buyers may not share the same tastes as you and pass on the home for that reason. Keeping things simple is a good rule of thumb for any home improvement project, not just adding crown molding or trim.
If your heart isn’t set on crown molding, there are several common types of wood molding that you’ll typically see. The most attractive of the lot for the average homebuyer is baseboards, which offer advantages such as hiding scuffs or uneven surfaces on your floors, protecting wall paint, and shielding walls from scratches and vacuum bumps. Choosing a popular molding option may increase home value and wow potential buyers, so keep this in mind when making plans. Baseboards can also be easily removed and replaced with crown molding for a transformational room update.
The Rooms You Choose Matter
If ROI and resale value are your primary concerns, consider the rooms where you install crown molding. Typically, the rooms in a home most suited for this style of trim are limited to:
Rooms with tall walls can especially benefit from crown molding, as this touch can help break up the wall and define space. Crown molding on vaulted ceilings can also be a popular and attractive option.
It's a smart idea to leave trim out of rooms that won't matter when it comes to resale or home evaluation purposes. This includes offices, storage or utility areas, basements, and attics. If you still like the look, consider some of the best crown molding materials that are more functional than aesthetic, such as PVC or flex trim, for these spaces.
Consider Crown Molding Installation Costs
The cost of installing new trim can be high, with the average project being $1,217. Basic styles cost $2 to $3 per linear foot, while custom designs could be as much as $10 per linear foot, which could add hundreds or thousands to your project's price tag.
If your primary goal is to increase property value, consider tackling the project yourself. You'll need basic tools like a saw, stud finder, drill and a level, and you could cut your project's price in half by doing a DIY install. To save on labor costs, you could also tackle the most time-intensive aspect, which is removing the old crown molding and trim.
Each Crown Molding Project Is Unique
There's no one-size-fits-all answer to how much crown molding and trim improvements can improve your home's property value.
That said, here are a few final general guidelines that apply in most situations:
Trim that's outdated or damaged could detract buyers
New crown molding and trim could potentially attract buyers, but only to a point
Extensive or custom-designed crown molding is expensive and won't necessarily attract more buyers
Basically, if you don't have crown molding or it's in rough shape, putting new trim in could definitely increase resale value. However, overdoing it could cost you (literally).
Ask a crown molding specialist near you for help when starting your home improvement project.