How to Install Trim on Kitchen Cupboards

Updated February 21, 2017

Installing trim on your kitchen cupboards can add a stylish touch to your kitchen by creating a visual accent on otherwise plain cabinetry. You can add trim to the doors as well as the bottoms and sides of kitchen cupboards. With the correct tools and materials, you can install kitchen cupboard trim easily on your own.

Select and purchase a type of trim board that will that will be aesthetically consistent with the style of the cupboards and the decor of your kitchen. Be as creative as you wish with the customisation of your trim.

Remove hinges and doors from the cupboards. Remove the knobs or handles from the doors if they have them.

Thoroughly wash the cupboards or areas of wall where the trim will be attached using a degreaser. Sand those areas if the cupboards or walls have any flaking paint, or if they have glue, paint or stain lines left from old trim (if you are doing a replacement).

Measure and cut the trim boards to frame cupboard doors or to fit at the bottom or sides of your cupboards. Cut corners at 45-degree angles using a handsaw and mitre box, or with a chop saw that has a high quality blade that won't splinter the edges of the wood.

Sand the boards and their edges until they are smooth. Do this by hand and/or with an orbital sander.

Paint or stain the wood either to match or to complement the cupboards. Paint and stain only the sides of wood that will be showing. Apply stain by sponging it on in the same direction of the wood grain. Allow it to dry for a bit, wipe off any drips and add a second coat if it appears blotchy or if you want a darker tone. Use a primer coat before painting. Paint two coats if necessary and sand in between.

Attach the trim with wood glue and nails. Use finishing nails and a hammer, or brad nails and a nail gun.

Reattach the knobs or handles to the doors. Reattach hinges and doors.


Add crown moulding to the top of your cupboard for an extra touch of elegance. Design trims such as rope trim and patterned trim are also available. Add an internal frame using French Provincial trim for the cottage look.

Things You'll Need

  • Trim boards
  • Mitre saw
  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain or paint
  • Wood glue
  • Finishing nails or brads
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.