Q. When I’m trimming the junction between a wall and ceiling with crown, cove, or bed molding, what kind of paint finish should I apply to the trim? Complicating matters a bit, what if the ceiling is not drywall but is painted T&G beadboard?

A. Scott Burt, owner of Topcoat Finishes in Jericho, Vt., and a presenter at JLC Live, responds: In most cases, molding profiles are painted to match the rest of the trim package in a room, not the ceiling. Think of situations where the trim is not white, but the ceiling is. So, for example, when door and window casings are finished with a light gray paint, you’d use the same color on any crown molding as well. In the case of a beadboard ceiling, both the crown molding and the beadboard would typically be painted to match the trim scheme in the rest of the room.

Crown, cove, or bed molding is typically used to trim the joint between drywall and a T&G wood ceiling.
This trim should be painted with a satin gloss to match a room’s door and window casings and other trim, not the ceiling.

We typically paint moldings and other wood trim with a satin (rather than semi-gloss) finish to match the door and window casings. We find it to be the most forgiving finish, and pleasing to the eye and touch. In the case of a ceiling finished with a flat white ceiling paint, it might be tempting to use the paint on the crown as well, but it’s rare to see wood features painted with flat paint.

Photos by Andrew Wormer

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