Moldings and trim serve as decoration and ornamentation for your cabinetry. They also can conceal joints or smooth the transition between the cabinets and the ceiling and floor.
In minimalist contemporary kitchens, you'll find little, if any, molding. Yet a French Country kitchen would not be complete without stacked crown molding and corbels. More traditional and formal styles typically call for more elaborate detailing, while transitional or eclectic looks might use just a few standouts, such as rope molding on cabinet doors and bun feet on an island.
Molding doesn't need to blend seamlessly into your cabinetry. Add interest by juxtaposing finishes and staggering cabinet depth. For example, consider having your crown molding stained a deep green to accent knotty alder cabinets. Or "bump out" your cooktop area with split spindles.
Most often, molding and trim are made from hardwoods such as oak, maple, and cherry or painted softwoods like pine. Your cabinetmaker may offer a wide selection, or you may want to choose from an independent manufacturer or shop for a wider range of materials, shapes, sizes and pricing.
Metal can bring a modern kitchen to life. Metal onlays in stainless steel, bronze, copper and nickel are a great and subtle way to emphasize your hardware. Even better, metal feet are a great addition to generally unornamented laminate cabinetry.
Polystyrene and polyurethane molding, made from plastic or resin, offer an affordable alternative. These products are much more resistant to warping, rotting or insects than wood is, and they can be painted any color.