How to Create an Accent Wall with Picture Frame Molding

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure statement here.

It’s finally finished. The last project for my Living Room update was adding Picture Frame Molding over my Fireplace Built-ins. It’s fulfilling to see my Living Room finally come together after so many projects. Sure there are always a few more pieces of furniture to refinish, but overall I’m considering this room done.

If it’s your first time visiting, I’ve installed laminate flooring, trimmed out all my windows, built an over-mantle, installed built-ins, updated and painted my french doors, stenciled walls, and updated furniture. This has been a long journey, but very satisfying to design and create.

Picture Framed Molding above Fireplace Built-Ins in a Living Room.

Now for some before pictures…

Minon Costumes - it's my only before picture of my living room flooring.
Flooring: Sorry…it’s the only picture I could find.
Pictures of Living Room before it's updated.
Pictures of Living Room before it's updated.
Before Window Trim
Pictures of Living Room before it's updated.
Before French Door Farmhouse Molding
Pictures of Living Room before it's updated.
Before Stenciling & Picture Frame Molding

I can’t believe how many times I’ve moved the furniture around. Thinking about a time-lapse video of this room makes me LOL. 🙂 I’m also terrible at taking before pictures. I spend more time looking through old photos (getting lost in family memories) to find before pictures than I do writing the blog post! I’ve gotten a little better lately, but the struggle is real.

O.K…Enough with the reminiscing and on to the DIY Picture Frame Molding.




The walls were stenciled before installing the Picture Frame Molding. I started by finding the center of each wall, both vertical and horizontal.

Measuring to install Picture Frame Molding

Then I decided how tall and wide I wanted my picture frame molding to be. Based on my design, I chose for it to be 4 foot by 4 foot. So, I marked a line 2 feet from center on both the left and right side. Then I held a 4 foot level to the marks and drew a light pencil line. This process was repeated for the top and bottom. Finally, I ran blue painter’s tape along the inside of the line. See the image below. It’s also a good idea to find and mark where your wall studs are and make sure some of your brad nails go into the stud for extra support.

Measuring to install Picture Frame Molding

Repeat this process on both sides of the fireplace.


Measuring Molding
Painting Picture Frame Molding
  1. All of my measurements are taken from the blue painters tape at this point. Cut the chair rail molding on a 45 degree angle to match the outside height of your tape (my measurement was exactly 4 feet as planned).
  2. Repeat this process for all four sides of your square. Then cut the four sides of chair rail for the other side of the fireplace. You will have 8 pieces of molding when finished.
  3. It’s easier to paint the molding before it is installed. I applied two coats of paint. The chair rail comes primed, but the panel molding is not. Since the painting process raises the grain on raw wood, you will need to paint the panel molding with primer and sand it. Then add your final coat to the panel molding.
  4. Attach the chair rail to the outside of the taped square with a brad nailer. Note: Many people use glue and brad nails to attach the molding to the wall. I did not use glue. This gives me the option to remove it later, if I want to. If I had added glue, it would rip the surface of the drywall when removed. It is not as secure this way, but I accept that risk.
  5. Cut the panel molding (smaller molding) on a 45 degree angle to match the inside height of your square. For my first cut, I used the inside measurement of the tape. After that I used my molding as a guide for my other three sides.
  6. Repeat this process for all four sides of your square. Then cut the four sides of panel molding for the other side of the fireplace. You will have 8 pieces of panel molding when finished.
  7. Attach the panel molding to the inside of your painter’s tape.
  8. When all your molding is attached, remove the painter’s tape.


Caulking is one of those steps that cannot be skipped. It gives a nice finished look to any molding project. I’ve learned a few tips along the years that really make it easier.

  1. Before you start have some damp paper towels handy. You can use theses to clean off extra caulk and keep your finger wet when smoothing an edge.
  2. When you cut the tip of your caulk, smaller is better. I never use the built in spout cutter hole on the side of the caulk gun handle. It doesn’t give me enough control over the angle of the cut or the size of the hole. Instead, I use a pair of rubber cutting scissors and cut the opening on a nice angle. I only cut the tip large enough to insert the tube opening rod.
  3. Newer caulk guns are more helpful because of their smooth pressure and pressure release lever. This gives you more control over the flow of the caulk and stopping it when you are done with a pass.
  4. If you are new to caulking, you can use painters tape to protect the wall or surface that you don’t want to get caulk on. This also leaves a nice clean line when the tape is removed. It is easier to remove before the caulk is dry.
  5. Be sure to buy paintable caulk when working with moldings.
  6. Never use caulk to fill holes in wood. It will shrink. You should use wood filler to fill nail holes.


  1. Use your putty knife to fill all holes and knots with wood filler.
  2. Then caulk to fill and smooth all gaps between moldings and wall.  Let the caulk dry.
  3. Lightly sand wood filler. Wipe down dust. Then touch up with paint.
Picture Framed Molding above Fireplace Built-Ins in a Living Room.

Do you like learning budget friendly ways to spruce up your home? Follow me on PINTEREST. Want free access to my printables and cut files? Just subscribe at the bottom of this page. You’ll receive a welcome letter and regular updates on my blog posts along with access to my FREE PRINTABLES AND CUT FILES LIBRARY.

Save this idea for later! Did you know that you can hover over the images below, click on the red Pinterest circle, and save it to your HOME IMPROVEMENT BOARD on Pinterest? Give it a try below.

Picture Framed Molding above Fireplace Built-Ins in a Living Room.
Picture Framed Molding above Fireplace Built-Ins in a Living Room.

I’m so glad you stopped by to check out my DIY Picture Frame Molding. I hope it inspires and helps you with your own project!




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *