Crown molding is one thing that can make a home look complete.
If a home has finishing touches and details like crown molding, the overall look is going to be impressive and appear much more valuable.
If you are looking to sell your home or you simply want to finish off the look of any room, crown molding can be a perfect way to do it.
The problem with crown molding, of course, is that it is expensive.
With the current prices of both wood and labor, you can expect to be coming out of pocket quite heavily with the price of crown molding.
There are, however, some other options on the market that can help you save quite a bit of money but still get that great-looking completed room.
Let’s take a look at ten affordable crown molding alternatives that could work for any home.
10 Affordable Crown Molding Alternatives (Complete List)
1. Wallpaper Border
If you are new to the world of home decor and design, you may not remember how big wallpaper was at one point.
However, it was very popular for many years.
Then wallpaper kind of went out of style, but today, it is back and stronger than ever.
People are getting creative about how they use wallpaper in their homes.
They will wallpaper just one wall for an accent or get quite bold and wallpaper an entire room.
One great option for a crown molding alternative is to put up a wallpaper border.
The border is not going to look exactly like crown molding, but it will bring some detail and some attention to the upper borders of the room.
Wallpaper typically needs a special installer who is capable of putting the paper up, matching up patterns, and dealing with all of that wallpaper glue.
There is an art to installing wallpaper similar to how you have to paint or spackle or a room because wallpaper is not always as easy as it looks.
However, things have changed a bit, and the most popular type of wallpaper that people are using right now is a peel-and-stick type of paper.
This wallpaper is straightforward to work with, and it is going to make it much easier to get the project done.
When you can use the peel-and-stick wallpaper and install it completely on your own, you will also save money on the installation process.
As you can imagine, the biggest expense when it comes to crown molding is the installation.
If you can switch to wallpaper and then be able to install it all yourself, the affordability of this project is only going to increase.
If you can’t afford crown molding, you can always just paint the wall and forget about the molding completely.
Paint is one of the cheapest ways to transform a home, but you have to make sure that you know what you are doing when you paint.
If you’re going to paint the wall instead of putting crown molding up, there are some things that you need to do to ensure that this turns out properly.
The biggest issue is the transition from the wall to the ceiling and ensuring that there is going to be a very clean line between the two.
You must ensure that the cut-in or the edge is perfect.
This applies the plain paint on the wall, but also, when you do install crown molding, you need to ensure that it is painted properly.
Painter’s tape is the best product to use to ensure that you are creating a clean line.
For the most part, the tape will do the trick to create that clean edge, but there is one extra trick that many great painters will use.
This trick is to do touch-up work with an artist brush.
Sometimes there are small sections that don’t turn out quite right with the larger paintbrushes.
When this happens, you can touch up with an artist’s brush to get that perfect and clean angle around the border of the room.
3. Foam Molding
Foam molding is an alternative specifically made for those who don’t want the expense or the weight of the crown molding.
Depending on the quality of the foam molding you choose and where you are placing it, you will notice that this can look almost exactly like high-end crown molding.
The great thing about foam molding is that it is starting to become more popular, and there are more options on the market.
With the addition of these extra options, we have also seen a decrease in the pricing.
Some of the newer types of foam molding have a peel-and-stick backing.
This helps to ensure that your installation process is going to be even easier than traditional crown molding.
The foam molding can also be glued or nailed to the wall.
One of the issues that you have to look out for with foam molding is ensuring that it is going to match from one piece to the next.
It can be a little tricky to get the molding to match up and look cohesive around the entire room, especially at the corners.
Once you get going with this, however, most will tell you that it’s quite easy to deal with, and the overall process is by far a lot simpler than it would be with traditional crown molding.
This should be one of your first options to look at when you decide to go with an alternative to wood crown molding in your home.
4. MDF Crown Molding
MDF is also known as medium density fiberboard.
This is a product that is partly made up of wood, but it has some artificial components as well.
Those components are going to make the MDF more affordable and a bit easier to work with as well.
One thing that you will notice immediately about the MDF is that you can paint it, sand it, and cut it just like you can wood crown molding.
The fact that you can touch up and change it through the years is a major benefit to going with MDF crown molding.
On the edges of MDF crown molding, you can use spackle and then smooth it out to ensure that the molding looks as though it is one custom piece throughout the entire room.
Since MDF molding is just as popular and useful as wood crown molding, it is something that you can find in a lot of different styles.
Regardless of the type of look that you want in your home, the MDF can really make it look quite a bit better.
MDF molding is easy to hang and will last for many years in your home.
You won’t have to worry about replacing this because the MDF is a high-quality alternative to crown molding.
5. Salvaged Crown Molding
If you are in the process of building a home, you should know quite a bit about salvage.
When you salvage products for your home, you can save an incredible amount of money.
The products that you are getting when you salvage from a house that is being torn down or renovated can vary in quality.
Some of the products will be like new and others will require a bit of work.
Crown molding is one of the best things to salvage because it can really be restored to its original condition if you do this properly.
If you find real wood crown molding from an old home, simply sand it down, restore it, and use it in your own home.
This process is going to save you so much time and money, and you will notice that the products end up looking just as beautiful as they once did.
One of the most important parts of using salvaged molding is to take very accurate measurements.
You will need to ensure that the salvaged wood is going to be enough to cover the entire room in your home.
It’s often very difficult to find a match to the salvaged molding, and this could leave you with one small section of your room not properly covered with molding.
If you have friends who are contractors, talk to them about projects they are doing and see if you can get any of their scraps.
You will find that people like to change the style in their home, and they will change out their molding without even thinking that it could still be useful somewhere else.
Take advantage of this and put a bit of work into the molding that you find, and you will end up with something that looks great on your walls.
6. Built-Up Hand Designed Crown
Crown molding can get quite large.
If you look at the different types of molding available in the stores, you may be shocked at how much some of this molding costs because of the size.
Each layer of this ornate crown molding has a different pattern and style, and that is what increases the cost.
However, if you have some patience and some time, you can create this look and design yourself.
You don’t need to purchase the crown molding entirely built up into these finished pieces if you can do it yourself.
By purchasing smaller pieces of wood and then building them up on top of each other, you can create the same look at a fraction of the price.
The built-up hand-designed crown molding is going to make it quite a bit easier to get that formal look without the price.
It’s a good idea to plan this out carefully prior to starting the project because you will need to ensure that the overall cost is actually going to save you money.
In addition, you will have to put in quite a bit more time doing this project than you would if you bought the molding as a single piece.
If you are good with woodworking and have the proper tools necessary to create some custom designed pieces, the built-up hand-designed crown could be a perfect choice.
Always ensure that you are able to take a project like this on before you purchase all the supplies.
Maybe you can start with a small piece of molding installed on a piece of furniture and see if you are truly ready and willing to do an entire room.
7. Faux Crown Molding With Paint
Just as you can create own crown molding by building up smaller pieces of wood, you can also do this with paint.
For this look, you are going to put a piece of small crown molding at the top of the design and another a bit further down the wall.
Then you will take paint and fill in this space between the molding.
In the end, the overall effect is that the paint and the wood are going to look as though they are all part of one piece of molding.
The process works quite well.
If you use a high-end paint, this look is much easier to obtain.
The high-end paint allows you to properly blend the wood and the plain paint on the wall, so this really stands out as a complete option.
Make sure that the color you choose for the molding is also a good complement to the color on the wall of your room.
If the color of the wall is very close to that of the molding, this process tends to not stand out quite as well, and it can be easier to tell that it’s not a true crown molding around the room.
The most important part of this process is to ensure that you are careful and paying attention to detail.
If you are smart about the detail and the overall design of this project, the result will be a much better-looking finished room.
8. Simple Trim
As soon as a product is considered a finished piece for a room, the pricing is going to increase.
Finished work is always higher in price because it is not a necessity.
You will have a hard time winning an argument about crown molding being a necessary part of a home.
Certainly, water, heat, walls, plumbing, and all of those things will be a necessary part of a home, but crown molding is not quite the same.
The crown molding addition is going to be considered a premium choice, and that will immediately raise the price.
However, there is another type of trim on the market that is meant for basic installation, and this is not priced nearly as high as the expensive crown molding.
If you are fine with going with something that is a bit less impressive and you simply want that border around your room, a simple trim is a great choice.
The overall look may not bring the same “wow” factor to the room, but it certainly looks a bit better than the room without any molding around the ceiling.
Keep an eye on different types of trim at your local home improvement warehouse.
If you are only doing a small room, you may be able to wait until something goes on clearance and pick up the pieces that you need at a significantly reduced price.
If you are new to woodworking projects, the simple trim is also going to make it easier to get a project done with a limited number of tools.
9. DIY Freehand Crown Molding Designs
A freehand crown molding is basically the idea of painting your own crown molding into place.
If you are good at art, this is going to be a great option to consider.
However, before you take this project on, make sure you are ready for all that it will entail.
If you are doing a large room like a living room or a master bedroom, you will have hours of work in front of you.
The good news is that, in the end, you will save quite a bit of money from the cost of traditional crown molding.
The DIY freehand crown molding will only cost you the paint and some brushes, but you must have the knowledge and skill to get this done correctly.
Some people will do a pattern or a design while others will try and paint something that looks exactly like crown molding.
Whatever you decide to do, always try to consider resale value.
Anytime you make an adjustment or a change to your home, you will want to consider the impact that it will have on the long-term value.
Everything you do should be to help the house sell for more money at some point.
If you can be smart about this, not only will you save money along the way, but you will also make a bunch more in the end.
10. Stencil Art
Last but certainly not least is the idea of a stencil as an affordable alternative to crown molding.
The crown molding concept is really just to help provide a transition between the wall and the ceiling of the room.
If you think that you can do this with a stencil, it can bring a nice finishing touch to the room.
One of the great things about stencils is that they don’t have to be used by artists.
Stencils are created more for those who have limited artistic ability.
As long as you have some patience and you can properly measure and position the stencil, you should have no issues completing a stencil around your border.
It’s essential to carefully choose the colors you use in your stencil around the room.
If you are not careful about the colors, you may limit your ability to decorate the room in the colors of your choice.
For instance, putting red paint in the stencil may change the way that you can use certain blues and greens in your decorating.
When it comes to costs, the stencil will be affordable, and you can even make some of them on your own if you would like.
As long as you keep some consistency in your design, stencil art is a great choice to consider moving forward with.
Hopefully, you now feel as though you have some better choices for crown molding alternatives.
With the current price of wood continuing to rise, it is wise to consider your other options.
Most people find that combining a different material or paint and a smaller crown molding is the perfect solution.
This will give you the results that you are looking for at a significantly reduced price.
Keep this in mind as you continue your search for affordable ways to work on and fix up a home.
Remember that one of the best ways to save is to simply make sure that you are working on some of these projects yourself because, as soon as labor is involved, the pricing goes way up.