Window Framing Enhancement: DIY with simple molding

Window framing is an inexpensive way to add a finishing touch to your windows. In many homes, the builder will not frame windows or closets to match the door frames. When designing our nursery we decided to frame both the window and closet. The whole update, including chalking, putty, and paint total, took about two and a half hours per small window. From a cost perspective, this project will cost you approximately $30-100 per window. The larger the window, the more molding you will need, and therefore costs increase.

Due to the simplicity of the update, instead of just framing the nursery, we decided to update all the windows in the house. As we continue adding color to the builder’s white walls, the impact of the window framing will significantly enhance the custom look of each room. This simple DIY project helped bring our home from builder grade to WOW!

Colonial Window Framing Enhancement

The colonial window frame is considered a traditional look. You may typically see this around the doorways. This simplistic look works well in smaller rooms, such as guestrooms or children’s bedrooms. I recommend framing the window and closet with the same molding to provide a consistent look throughout the room. Colonial molding is in our loft area and all the bedrooms in our home, except the master bedroom. There are also multiple sizes of colonial molding. We used the 2 1/4 molding, however, if you want a more distinctive look, use 3 1/2 molding. Try to shop sales as much as possible, molding can be quite expensive. Wait for the rebates at Menard’s and if you are a veteran or active military, Lowe’s will provide a discount.

 Before and after window framing
Before and after window framing

Craftsman Window Framing Enhancement

Craftsman window framing is a more modern look and is significantly more eye-catching. Windows in larger open concept rooms are great candidates for craftsman molding. The look is heavier than the colonial, so you do want to be selective on where you install this type of molding. In our home, we installed craftsman molding on our family room window and our master bedroom window. Our master has a large three pain window and vaulted ceiling, and the living room is part of an open concept design.

Materials needed for Window Framing:

The same basic preparation materials are needed for both the colonial and craftsman window framing enhancements. The items that differ are the complexity, type of wood, and different cuts you will need to make. I’ve only linked products we use regularly and that are of good quality.

  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Molding (your choice of style and size)
  • Miter Saw and Table Saw (we use a Craftsman table saw that is no longer sold). Our Miter saw is awesome.
  • Drill, drill bits, and screws (for craftsman molding)
  • Nail gun, compressor, and finishing nails
  • Liquid nails
  • Caulk
  • Putty
  • Paint

Complete the job

With any project before you kick off, make sure all your supplies/materials are in good and safe working condition. Taking this step before you start your project will hopefully minimize unnecessary trips to the hardware store. Perhaps your liquid nails only has 1/2 a tube left or your putty has dried up; put them on the list. After you have gathered your supplies it is time to start your project! Check out our detailed Craftsman video tutorial below.


Video Tutorial
Craftsman window framing


  1. Determine the size of colonial molding desired.
  2. Measure the window to determine how much molding to purchase. You will waste ~2 feet of molding due to the 45-degree cuts. Make sure to take that into account.
  3. Purchase supplies/materials
  4. If you are unfamiliar with how to use any of the tools (miter saw, nail gun, etc) make sure to read instruction manuals or seek out some guidance on YouTube.
  5. Start with the top piece, measure the top section of the window. Using a miter saw, cut each end at a 45-degree angle. The cut angle will start at the measured length of the window.
  6. Dry fit the top piece. You will see the 45-degree angle pieces extend beyond the length of the window.
  7. Measure and cut both side pieces.
  8. With a second person to help, dry-fit all three pieces to make sure the fit is accurate. Make any adjustments required. With a pencil, after making sure your molding is level, mark the placement.
  9. Apply liquid nails in an “S” pattern to the top piece.
  10. Secure the top piece with a nail gun.
  11. Apply liquid nails in an “S” pattern to the side pieces, one at a time.
  12. Secure the side pieces with a nail gun.
  13. Measure and cut the bottom molding section. On this piece, the 45-degree angles will cut in versus out on the top and side pieces.
  14. Dry fit the bottom piece. Make any adjustments required. Once satisfied with the placement, level and use a pencil to mark placement.
  15. Apply liquid nails.
  16. Secure the bottom piece with a nail gun.
  17. Caulk between the molding and drywall.
  18. Putty the nail holes.
  19. Sand the nail holes.
  20. Paint!
Colonial window framing

Happy updating!

Emily M

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