With the cost of cabinetry, countertops, appliances and plumbing fixtures constantly increasing, it is becoming more difficult for Kitchen Designers to develop show stopping projects on a budget.

The solution to this is to integrate mouldings into your Kitchen Designs.

With a background in both Kitchen Design and Moulding Product Design & Development, I have seen how Kitchens and Mouldings are a perfect match.

Follow along to see how you can use simple mouldings to bring the WOW factor to all your Kitchen Design projects, including the budget ones.

The Kitchen Before

A basic builder grade kitchen seen in new home builds and basic renovations.
Standard builders kitchen for a new build or renovation

This kitchen represents a builder’s grade kitchen with stock cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and a simple lower peninsula functioning as an informal dining area.

This is a very typical Kitchen Design you would see in a new home build or a basic remodel upgrade.

While it is an acceptable kitchen design that would work in many spaces,

There is so much more potential with this design!

Here are some areas that could use some help:

  • The dark stained cabinetry throughout provides no contrast in the room making the kitchen feel a bit flat
  • The peninsula chops the kitchen in half and places diners in the middle of the work area
  • There is no trim in the room other than the baseboard making the room seem unfinished
  • The high ceiling is ignored in this design
  • Blank wall space at both ends of the kitchen are opportunities for more storage

This Kitchen could be dramatically upgraded through the creative use of mouldings!

The Upgraded Kitchen

A standard builder's kitchen is given a major upgrade through the use of mouldings and trim
Standard builder’s kitchen given the WOW factor through the use of mouldings and trim

It’s amazing what a bit of moulding and trim can accomplish!

To begin with, the ceiling treatment defines the kitchen space.

Ceiling Treatment

Many designers refer to the ceiling as the 5th wall, making it a prime space to do something special in a kitchen, since the walls are dominated by cabinets and appliances.

By incorporating false beams, bead board and crown moulding the original flat ceiling is transformed.

This coffered ceiling was developed by placing light weight hollow beams in a square grid pattern.

Bead board paneling was then placed inside each square.


Calculate your coffers based on the panel sizes of the bead board you plan to use. Most bead board panels are available in 4′ x 4′ or 4′ by 8′ sheets. Specifying your squares smaller than these sizes eliminates seams and gives a more custom look to your design.

Once the bead board was installed, crown moulding was run around the inside of each square to cover the joint of where the bead board met the beams and to add dimension to the ceiling treatment.

Painting the ceiling treatment white keeps it feeling light in this 9′ high room where as dark beams would have overwhelmed the space.

Coffee Bar

To the left of the windows an area was designed to house everything needed for an on-trend coffee bar.

A basic open shelf with sides that go down to the counter was built, and all exposed areas were stained to match the cabinetry.

Bead board material left over from the ceiling treatment was placed in the backsplash area.


Repeat an element in your design to bring rhythm (a Principle of Design) to your room. In this case, bead board paneling is featured in the ceiling treatment, the backsplash area and on the back wall of the mudroom cabinet.

The shelving unit was them trimmed out in solid wood, contemporary chair rail, including the front of the shelves. The whole unit was then stained to match the original cabinetry.

This basic open shelf became a stylish on-trend coffee bar and the perfect addition to that end of the kitchen.

Custom island in a builder's grade kitchen made from basic boxes and trim
Custom Island added to the Kitchen

With an island being the most asked for element in a kitchen by homeowners, it was decided to replace the peninsula with a large kitchen island.

The island produced better flow in the space and offered an opportunity to add some contrast to the color scheme.

The island was built from two large white open shelving units.

A dining bar was constructed off the back of the shelving by using two square posts and strapping to support the countertop.

The entire island structure was then trimmed out in mouldings.

The sides of the island were trimmed using casings mitered at the corners, and the same casing was used to detail the back.

A detailed baseboard forms a furniture kick around the perimeter of the island.

To add detail to the posts, panel moulding was added to all four sides and then finished off with the same baseboard forming a plinth at the floor.

This approach was a very cost-effective way to add a custom island to this stock kitchen.

The removal of the peninsula left a gap in the back wall run of base cabinetry so a rolling cart was designed to replace it.

The cart was constructed from 2x4s and plywood. A complimentary set of mouldings with simpler details was used to finish the cart.

These simpler mouldings worked well with the existing shaker styled cabinets, while painting the unit white echoed the new island.

The butcher block top offered a great surface for rolling out bread or chopping vegetables and the long towel bar allows the unit to be rolled around to where it is needed in the kitchen.

To finish off the back wall of this kitchen the windows were trimmed in a wood casing and stained to match the existing cabinets.

Between the two windows the same casing was used to construct a frame for a chalkboard. This element gives a bistro feel to the kitchen and is ideal for making grocery lists or displaying the evening menu.

The final element added to this stock kitchen was a custom mini mudroom cabinet.

With the family traffic arriving into the home from a door off the kitchen, this was an ideal addition to the space.

To construct it, two open shelves were installed against the wall. The upper one as a single wide space and the lower one with a divider.

The open shelves were trimmed with the same casing material as the coffee bar cabinet for continuity in the design.

To protect the back wall, a sheet of bead board was placed between the two shelving units and painted white. The bead board was then encased with stained casing material to finish off the unit.

5 double hooks hung at different heights provide hanging space for the whole family.


Look for unique opportunities to include mouldings in each of your kitchen designs. By making this a habit, you will build up a portfolio of signature offerings and differentiate your designs from the competition.

As shown, designing with mouldings is an excellent way to get a custom look in a predominantly stock kitchen. It is also very cost-effective. Your clients will be happy you suggested it!

To learn more about how you can incorporate mouldings into your Kitchen Designs, check out our course INTERIOR FINISHINGS FOR KITCHEN DESIGNERS. This course will help you take your Kitchen Design career to the next level!

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I’d love to see how your incorporate mouldings into your Kitchen Designs. Please leave a comment below or drop me a line.

Jan Rutgers B.Sc. H.Ec.

Jan Rutgers is a Professional Kitchen Designer with more than 25 years experience. During her career she has designed over 1000 kitchens learning valuable skills with each one! She is the founder of VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she educates and mentors people passionate about the Kitchen Design Industry.

2 Comments on “How to Elevate Your Kitchen Designs with Mouldings

    • Thanks Nicole!
      It was a fun project to work on.

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