Faux Frieze Molding in Foyer

Two Story Foyer Upgrade: Add Faux Frieze Molding


In architecture the frieze /ˈfriːz/ is the wide central section part of an entablature and may be plain in the Ionic or Doric order, or decorated with bas-reliefs.  – source, Wikipedia

Perfectly styled model homes are so fun to walk through, but they certainly can deceive you and your budget. By design, the “hook” is to get you to fall in love with the model. Once you sit your happy self down to write the contract, you fall out of your chair upon learning that the model is about $100,000+ more than the base price. (I didn’t fabricate that number, by the way. The beefed up + embellished model home in our development was almost $140K above the base price).

So, what makes up that crazy number? Everything you had already fallen in love with in the model home. Whomp..whomp…

Faux Frieze Molding in Foyer
Another option: to paint the wall between the bottom trim and crown, making it look like one, single piece.

Faux Frieze Molding

in our two story foyer

I built a white box with no upgrades, and we started with faux frieze molding in the two-story foyer. For several years, we didn’t have the right ladder to do any projects in that space. For this project, we hired it out because since we were both working and couldn’t dedicate the necessary time.

Showing you a shot at the top of our stairs even though there is a missing piece of molding. I can’t remember if this got knocked off, or if we ran out mid-project…but nonetheless, you can see we’re only human and back around to finishing things (eventually)! Also, we have doors filled with stickers upstairs, too (note, to my daughter’s room). Someday I’ll paint these doors black but I’m ok with  letting kid-things happen here for now :) If I do paint the outward facing door black, I’ll keep her interior door white (for more stickers!)

Frieze Molding Top of Stairs unfinished molding

Aside from the kids’ rooms, I haven’t spent much time on upgrades upstairs.  There is a landing with 1/2 finished railing (still painting this). But that’s on my radar to complete this spring. The landing is a space that always seems to be the laundry overflow, or it stays clean for a minute…then gets messy again.

Visit this post to see what paint color we used.

Below is an older picture of the same space. My photography skills have improved quite a bit since then…

frieze molding in foyer

Another older photo. I’m still unsure what to do with these windows which are technically on the second floor, but we need a ladder to reach them. If I put up window coverings would get dusty really fast. Any suggestions?

two story foyer frieze molding

Faux Frieze Molding, looking out over balcony
Paint in the foyer is also unfinished. My contractor moved on to other larger projects. Eventually we will finish this off!

Looking out over the balcony at the molding – near my son’s room.

Open ceiling looking towards the kitchen + dining rooms. My son’s room is to the right.

Similar view as above but from downstairs. I still feel like I’d like more molding above the kitchen, or even some old wood framing the opening to the kitchen.

Faux Frieze Molding view from downstairs looking towards kitchen

This isn’t frieze but a crown piece that we installed at the top of the open shelf. We installed this in the same way you normally would install crown at the ceiling.

Faux Frieze Molding Crown molding on open shelf

Once this frieze molding project was finished we installed the wainscoting to finish off the foyer.

So imagine — all of this entire space was builders-grade white with no molding. I built my home without the fancy upgrades and had a plain white box. To pay the builder for the molding upgrade package would have cost around $20K or more.

This frieze molding project cost about $700 (hired out to a contractor) including the two story foyer wall paint.

This post was originally posted in March of 2012. Updated with new photos Jan. 2017!

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  1. Wow, you waited seven years for your crown molding — what patience!

    To paint the frieze the molding color or leave it the dark wall color, that’s a tough one. I like the way yours looks right now, but you could also paint it an accent color. The beauty of a crown with an architrave molding like yours is that it opens you up to lots of new color possibilities.

    Jeanette, we’re wrestling with the very same question in our kitchen right now. Jennifer and I will check back to see what your final choice ends up being. Good luck!

    1. Frieze and architrave…ha, thanks for the education. (much needed). I have a lot of ideas without formal terminology. I use terms like “big gap between the crown and the trim piece”. I did decide to keep it dark. Thanks for your comments, I am pretty happy with the outcome.

  2. Shirley Guenther says:


    Love your frieze! Didn’t really notice the missing part of the time until you brought it to my attention! The Stickers? Your house is a home and I thought they were cute!!! Had a daughter and 2 granddaughters, I know some things about stickers!!!! (and scotch taping papers up all over EVERYTHING!)


  3. Jeanette.
    Your post is a great example of how you can achieve the look for less by doing research, or possibly DIY. You have a beautiful home.
    Happy Creating,
    Karen Marie

  4. SHWETA AHUJA says:

    Gorgeous I loved your tutorials. I have never soon one with details and such step by step like your wainscoting one. I am using that as my bible and will create the same on my staircase and foyer area. In the picture above ..where you add a trim below your crown creating a frieze molding in your foyer, what trim did you use? Can you share the link?

    1. Shweta, thank you! I appreciate that feedback. I will recreate that trim shopping list for the frieze post in a similar way. I am so glad our tutorials help! :)

  5. We also have the esquire model built by ryan homes. I saw the wainscoting and I love it. I painted my doors black years ago. I would love to know what you did with the “ formal dining room” area.