Guest Post: Decorchick's Molding Makeover

Today's guest post comes from Emily, author of Decorchick. Not only is she sharing a before + after but she was kind enough to show how she added architectural interest for less than a $100 (plus a little family time!). Loads of info in this guest post but check out her blog for all the deets. Take it away Emily.


Hi there. It's such an honor to be guest posting on Brooklyn Limestone today! I just finished a big project (with the help of my Dad) and transformed our staircase wall with lots of moulding. I couldn't be happier with the results and I will be showing you the makeover today. :)

So, let's take a look at the before photos shall we?

And now....the after!

Ahhh, don't you love moulding??

We continued the rail to that little wall behind the cabinet and I painted it out in a semi-gloss white as well. We will eventually add a few boxes on that wall also.

I was actually smart for once and painted the wall white before we added any boxes. I know, can you believe it? I actually followed my own advice. :)

When you are trying to do wainscoting up a staircase, you are going to have odd angles and cuts. But this new little gadget my Dad introduced me to is so cool. You just set it on your angle, say for instance our staircase banister, and it tells you exactly what angle it's sitting at.

Pretty neat right? Oh, and those are my Dad's hands. I don't have man-hands and hairy wrists.

The angle of my staircase is 37 degrees, so the cuts were all made to compliment that.

For the moulding, I chose to use the foam stuff. The pieces I bought were 7ft in length and cost $2.38 for each piece. I ended up buying 27 pieces. So that is $64.26 just for the moulding for the stair boxes.

First thing we did was cut all of the pieces for all 21 boxes.

Then we used this make-shift template so we could glue each piece together at the right angle, and on a flat surface.

We glued 2 pieces at a time with hot glue, and let them cool.

Some pieces cooling...

And then we would glue a box together.

And eventually got all of these.

Then we put up the frames temporarily with double-sided tape to get the spacing correct, nailed them in with a nail gun, and added the chair rail. The rail is not an actual "chair rail" but is window casing trim. It is decorative like a chair rail and has a nice ledge to it.

Then came a LOT of caulking and spackling of all of the boxes and chair rail, more painting, and then done! And please, if you need to cover nail holes, use spackle and not caulking. I already knew this but for some dumb reason I used caulk and ended up redoing it with spackle. Caulk does not sand well and it gets rubbery. With spackle, it sands down nicely and you can't even see the holes. Just my little tip!

I'll just show you all more after photos because I know that's what you really care about. :)

So what do you think? I think this is one of, if not, my favorite transformation so far! I think I always say that though. :) This wall was always a challenge to decorate, so that's why it's been empty for 2 years now. I think having the wall more as an architectural feature was the way to go for sure.

To see how the design of the staircase came about, you can read about that here. To see a more detailed how-to of the moulding boxes you can read that here.

Source list:

  • Starburst Mirror - Pier 1 for $69 (was on sale over half off! The original price was $149)
  • Candle Sconces - Hobby Lobby $30 each (with half off)
  • Flameless candles - Pier 1. I already had these candles but had to buy one more for about $14. Pier 1 flameless candles are my favorite because they glow from the bottom up, instead of just the top like a lot of others do.
  • Materials - $64.26 for moulding boxes, and approximately $20 for the chair rail.
  • Wall color - Baguette from Sherwin Williams

I hope you enjoyed my staircase makeover, and thank you so much for inviting me in to be a guest on this fabulous blog! I really am quite humbled. I would love it if you would come and visit my site too. :)


  1. Oh, I am so glad to see this post! I have had Emily's stairs bookmarked for a while and had so many questions about the how-to's. Thank you thank you!


  2. Isn't it gorgeous! Okay, I seriously need to get me one of those gadgets!

  3. Beautiful transformation!

  4. Stunning! It's so nice to see you & your dad worked together. I've wanted to do this up my stairs but I was overwhelmed by've made it look (deceptively) easy! Could be dangerous ;)

    Any idea what the tool is called?


  5. Awesome gadget!! And I love that the molding goes above the banister. I think a lot of people would have just done boxes below, but this looks so much better!

  6. What a great transformation! I am going to file this one away for future use!

  7. What a difference a little decorative molding can make!


  8. Phillylass10:37 AM


  9. What a difference, and for less than $100. Wow!

  10. It turned out FANTASTIC! I love how you carried the molding down from the stairs, past the door opening and onto the wall to finish the look! That was $100 WELL SPENT! (I also have sconce envy!!)

  11. Brilliant, simply brilliant! Your tutorial is so much appreciated!! Your entry is now a real show stopper.


  12. That turned out absolutely stunning! Makes me wish I had stairs.

  13. The "enhancement power" of moulding is just amazing. Great job!

  14. Thanks so much for having me as a guest today! And thank you for all of the sweet comments BL readers. :)

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. So gorgeous, and almost exactly what I've been hoping to do with my stairs! Totally emailed it to my husband as soon as I saw the first photo! Great job!

  17. Its amazing how mouldings can transform a space. Your stairs look amazing. I wish I thought of painting the area before putting the mouldings up in our dining room.

  18. Also wanted to mention that tool is called a Protractor.

  19. I'm super impressed.

  20. Emily, you must have the patience of Jobe, because that is just beautiful work, I would not have the patience to do this. Love your work.

  21. Just beautiful! I love how the molding just bringing it all together and makes it AWESOME! GREAT work with wonderful details!

  22. Awesome transformation! I'm going to buy that cool protractor for both my dad and husband for Christmas!

  23. Anonymous8:01 PM

    Wow! Terrific job! I love the panelled mouldings!

  24. Anonymous10:11 PM

    Awesome! We did a much smaller version in our dining room awhile back.


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