How to Add Trim to Kitchen Cabinets

Wall of cabinets with doors removed
  • 4-40 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-2,000
What You'll Need
Measuring tape
Trim strips
Sand paper
Utility knife or shears
Recommended adhesive and applicator
Carpenter's level

Kitchen cabinets can be given a high-end look simply by adding trim. Trims are available in unfinished and finished forms. Unfinished trims are available in wood, which you may easily stain to match the color of your cabinets. On the other hand, finished trims may be bought to match the color of your existing cabinets. Trims are also available in plastic. You may add trim to kitchen cabinets yourself by following the simple steps mentioned below.

Selection of Trim

Select the trim from the variety available you think would best go with your kitchen cabinet. If you select a lightweight trim, it can be easily glued to the area. However, if your trim is ornate and heavy, it must be weighed after it is attached to the cabinet to ensure it is steadfastly glued to the surface. A careful selection is needed before starting with the installation.

Take Measurements

man measuring top of cabinet

With a yardstick or a measuring tape, measure the trim needed. Keep extra allowance to give a smooth finish later. Use a protractor to mark the corners. If it is a wooden trim, use sandpaper to ward off any imperfections and to give a smooth surface. Use a pencil to mark the area on the cabinet where it is to be placed. To check the markings, use the carpenter's level.

Cut the Trim

Use a relevant tool (saw, shears or utility knife) to cut the trim. The tool may vary depending upon the material of the trim.

Finish the Trim

person brushing something onto wood

It depends on you whether you want to add finishing touches to the trim before or after installing it. For instance, if your cabinets are blue and you would like to add black trim to it, you may paint the trim black before installation. If you intend to give the same color to the kitchen cabinet and the trim, paint them later. If it is a wooden trim, stain a sample of the wood to ensure you get the desired color.

Install the Trim to the Area

Add a thin line of the glue on the cabinet area marked with a pencil. Spread an even layer of glue on the trim. Use a moderate amount of glue i.e. neither should it be so thin that the trim would easily come off the cabinet, nor should it be so thick that the glue starts dripping off the trim. Wait till the glue is slightly sticky.

Place it on the desired area of the cabinet. Press hard. After 10 minutes, press again. This will assure the bond is firm. If trim is being placed on the cabinet doors that are lying flat, the trim should be covered with plastic wrap. Place a weight on it and leave it for 10 to 12 hours. If it is a wooden trim, simply nail it to the cabinet. This step completes the addition of trim to the kitchen cabinet.