Lighted Crown Moulding Installation Tips

Advice on how to install dropped crown mouldings with rope lighting. August 23, 2006

I want to install crown molding with lighting in a bedroom. This is a standard 8' ceiling. I can't seem to find any good sources of how far the top edge of the crown should be dropped below the ceiling so that the lights shine out properly. I have seen this style referred to as "flying crown" but can find very little reference to it on the net. I've found several very good pages on installing crown in general but almost none for lighted crown.

Also I would like to know if there are any references for general crown design. Here in my region it is popular to either use a single piece of Ogee Crown or Dentil Crown. The other popular option is a single bead board behind that single piece of crown exposed for 1.5" or so. So I would like to see some designs of multiple stacked or other designs. I believe I want to use a Dentil but not sure what else would look good with it. I can't go too elaborate as the room is only about 20 x 14. Books, web sites, pictures, anything will be very helpful.

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor A:
I do this style of crown quite frequently. I usually refer to it simply as "drop down crown molding". I generally drop the molding down equal to or slightly greater than the width of the crown – 6 to 7 inches for 6" crown. I will also run a foam cove in the corner of the ceiling (mud and texture to match ceiling and wall) to give a smoother, more even lighting effect. When I use the foam cove, I try to match the top of the crown to the bottom of the foam, with maybe the slightest amount of overlap (approx 1/2"). This places the light at the proper location for even light dispersion. Measure the greatest vertical distance between the top of a window opening or door casing to determine the maximum size of crown. I'd recommend nothing larger than 6 inches for an 8' ceiling. Any larger and you begin to overpower the room. I use custom made to length rope lighting installed at the furthest distance from the wall. I can go into greater depth if need be.

From contributor B:
Also 45 your crown, you don't want to cope it. Coping is a pressure joint, which will push one piece high than the other. If you 45 it the pieces will fall onto each other. I also try if space and crown size will let me, to brad nail the back side of the 45s together.

From the original questioner:
I had another person respond to me via email and he suggested that what I am trying to do will look to heavy for an 8' ceiling. I am inclined to respect that opinion after looking at some other crown I installed and envisioning it dropped 6". I'm thinking the layout of this room is not conducive either. The room is basically entered and viewed from its width rather than it's length. So I'm afraid I will be making a room that already feels a bit shallow feel even more confined. I was curious about the foam cove though. I'm not familiar with that. I'm in central Virginia and perhaps it's something we don't normally see here.

I plan to 45 everything. I am not much at coping. I've tried a coping saw and Dremel tool. I'm not very good at either. I'm going to try to get the angles and math correct and cut miters based on instructions I've read here and elsewhere. So it looks like the lighted crown is out but I will take your advice on the normal crown I install.

From contributor A:
The foam cove I was referring to is just a simple 4", 6", or 8" cove that is covered with joint compound or plaster and then textured and painted to match the drywall. When you’re finished it appears as though the walls curve seamlessly into the ceiling. The molding run below that gives a very dramatic appearance without a lot of effort. The foam is available from any foam manufacturer. The foam itself is extremely cheap and the install is not too terribly expensive. You have to have somebody decent to do the plaster work as any imperfections will be magnified by the lighting. I don't usually do a drop down style molding in any room unless the ceiling is 9 + feet tall. Otherwise it tends to overpower the room. For your room I'd just consider doing a simple 2 piece built up style running an inverted baseboard with a 4 to 4.5 " molding. It will give you good detail without overpowering the ceiling too much. 45's are okay (not my preferred style except in drop down applications, but adequate) in MDF, just be sure to glue all of the corners and run a suitable backing.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor D:
We just completed a renovation on an 8 foot ceiling where we added a bulkhead and installed wall washers in the bulkhead. On the outside of the bulkhead we installed crown with rope lighting and it looks amazing. The bulkhead is 12" down from the ceiling and 18" out from the wall. I believe it is a great way to add the crown/ropelight technique and adding different height dimensions to the room.