Crown Molding Vs Baseboards; What’s the Difference? 

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baseboard crown molding

Both baseboards and crown molding serve as decorative materials. Plus, they cover the joint or seam between the interior wall and ceiling or floor. However, despite serving the same purpose, there are some notable differences between these materials. Not to forget that some homeowners wonder whether you can use baseboards as crown molding. While others ask whether baseboards and crown molding have to match! Whichever question you might be having regarding crown molding vs baseboards, this is the perfect post for you as I’ll answer all of them! Without further ado, let’s get started! 

Crown Molding 

Also known as cornice/ ceiling molding, crown molding is the transitional piece of trim installed between the ceiling and the wall. Initially, crown molding started as a simple cover for hiding the gap formed where the ceiling and the wall meet. However, in recent years, it has evolved into a decorative masterpiece for home beautification. 

In addition, it is used for several functions at home. For instance, it’s ideal for providing an elegant finish to a room, wall furnishing, concealing wall & ceiling irregularities, and increasing home value

When it comes to construction, crown molding is available in various materials, but the most commonly used ones are wood and plastic. As for crown molding sizing, standard pieces range from 3 – 5”. However, taller walls such as 10-ft walls can handle crown molding sizes ranging from 5 – 7”. Check out these tips on crown molding sizes when choosing the ideal piece for your home. 


A baseboard refers to the molding that runs along the bottom of the wall to act as a transition piece between the wall and the floor. At the same time, it hides the joint formed where both surfaces meet and protects the floor from things like vacuum cleaners, and brooms. 

Baseboards can either be intricate or simple. However, typical baseboards feature a simple detail cut along the edge. Also, there is usually a small, separate semi-circular (quarter round/ base shoe molding)piece of trim installed along the bottom edge of the baseboard molding. This piece of trim is commonly used with hard floor surfaces like tile, vinyl, or wood and acts as a transition between the floor and the baseboard. 

Similar to crown molding, baseboards are usually made of plastic and wood. Plastic baseboards are available in various colors, while wooden baseboards are easily paintable to match your room’s color. 

In addition, standard baseboards are 3-5” wide. However, modern baseboards are getting a bit taller, with some designers recommending 6 – 8” wide options for 10-foot walls. 

What’s the difference between crown molding and baseboards? 

The main difference between these types of trims is that baseboards are installed at the bottom of the wall, while crown molding is installed at the top of the walls. Another notable difference between crown molding vs baseboards lies in how these trims are installed. Specifically, baseboards are installed flat against the wall, while crown molding is installed at an angle. For this reason, a baseboard is much easier to install than crown molding. 

Other than that, both types of trims serve the same purpose of beautifying your space. In addition, baseboards form a tight joint between the wall and floor and preserve the drywall.

Does crown molding and baseboard have to match? 

When building or renovating your home, one of the most interesting steps is choosing the colors. Your color option helps to decorate and create the desired mood in your indoor space. However, choosing the ideal colors to use on your baseboards and crown molding can be a bit confusing. 

Luckily, you can use the same color on your crown molding and baseboard to create harmony. As an alternative, you can use different colors on the crown molding and baseboard to reflect your personality and creativity. 

In short, while you can match your crown molding and baseboard, that doesn’t always have to be the case. For instance, you can use a lighter shade on your crown molding and a darker color on your baseboards to create an outstanding style. A brighter crown molding attracts people’s attention to the ceiling, while a darker baseboard makes the room feel bigger. In addition, you can choose to match the crown molding and baseboards with the color of your walls to create a unique visual effect. Whichever the case, your color option will be mainly influenced by your personal style and preference. 

3 different ways to match your baseboards and crown molding 

Crown molding trims the top of the walls to act as a frame for your home’s decor, while baseboards pull the design together at the bottom of the walls. So, while crown molding and baseboards don’t necessarily have to match, it’s good to ensure that they have a similar element to create that cohesive look. Interestingly, the following elements will help you accomplish that balanced look! 

1. Paint Color 

The paint color is the easiest way to ensure that your baseboards and crown molding match. White is the most popular color option for interior trim since it doesn’t clash with any design. For that, it’s a great color to match your crown molding and baseboards in almost any space. 

However, white might not be the perfect option for historic homes. In that case, consider using a cream or off-white color, especially if the room has deep dark walls. Alternatively, consider matching the crown molding and baseboards to the wall color for a unique aesthetic and visual effect. 

Overall, the room looks cohesive and comes together nicely when all the trims are painted in the same color. On the same note, there are some factors you should consider when choosing the ideal color for your crown molding. These include; 

  • Home’s decor/ style. Select a crown molding color that complements the existing style or decor of your home. 
  • Floor- ceiling height. A room with a high ceiling height requires a darker/ bolder crown molding paint to draw attention to the ceiling. 
  • Size of the room. A smaller room requires a paint color that will make it feel bigger. 

What’s the best type of paint for use in baseboards and crown molding? 

After determining the paint color to use in your interior trims, the next step is to figure out what type of paint and finish to use. Many professional painters recommend using a glossier paint finish on molding to make it pop. A glossier finish allows more natural light to bounce off the trim. However, if you don’t want your baseboards to pop, consider using the same finish as the wall. 

As for the type of paint, there are 2 commonly used options on interior trims; oil-based and latex. 

Oil-based paint dries to leave a glass-like finish. More notably, it’s highly durable, making it an excellent option for baseboards, since they get hit and scuffed often. On the downside, oil-based paints contain high levels of VOCs. Therefore, you cannot use the room until the paint is fully dry. In addition, oil-based paints are a bit difficult to clean up after painting compared to their latex (water-based) counterparts. 

On the other hand, water-based (latex) paint comes in several different finishes. So, if you don’t want the mirror-like/ ultra-shine finish produced by oil-based paint, choose a gloss or semi-gloss, instead of a high-gloss finish. 

Better yet, this type of paint produces low levels of VOCs when drying, allowing you to use the room sooner. Plus, it’s quite easy to clean up after use, since you only need water and some dish soap to clean it off your brushes. 

2. Size 

The size of interior trim mainly depends on the style you want to achieve and the room proportion. Unfortunately, this can be a bit tricky for historic homes and some architectural designs since they’ve different proportions than modern homes. 

Generally speaking, if your ceiling is 8 feet high, designers recommend installing baseboards that are at least 5.25” high. Installing baseboards that are smaller than this can make the space look out of proportion. For crown molding, try making it the same size as your baseboards to create uniformity and give the room a symmetrical, cohesive look. Alternatively, you can install a larger crown molding to make the ceiling look higher. 

3. Style 

Style is one of the most difficult elements to use to ensure that your baseboards and crown molding match. One reason for this is that there are different styles of molding available such as Bohemian, Farmhouse, and Georgian. Other popular options include; Modern farmhouse, Colonial Revival, Federal, Gingerbread, Rustic, Scandinavian, Pre-colonial, and Modern. 

On the bright side, this allows you to match various styles to create a look that suits you best. In essence, you should style to match the style of crown molding and baseboards to ensure that the room is cohesive. Alternatively, you can create a customized trim by joining different styles of moldings together to fit the exact style you want. 

Can you use crown molding as baseboards? 

Although some people use crown molding as baseboards, it will not provide pleasing results. Besides, considering that crown molding is slanted, it will connect to the floor at an angle. Plus, most crown moldings will get bent on the floor since they’re usually made from dense foam. On the same note, people will step on the molding and break it because it’s not flushed to the wall. 

In short, while it’s possible to use crown molding as baseboards, it’s not recommended since it’s not made for that application. The same case applies to using baseboards as crown molding. A flat baseboard will not give the appearance that crown molding does or even cover the flaws in the ceiling. In addition, a baseboard can break when instead close to the ceiling.

Final Words 

To sum up, a baseboard is a decorative material used below the wall to cover the joints formed where the walls and the floor meet. While crown molding can be used on top of the walls, cabinets, and columns for decorative purposes. More importantly, the two complement each other and can be installed in the same room, but you don’t necessarily have to match them. However, matching their size, style, or the paint color will give the room a more cohesive appearance. 

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