Trim: Office

While planning my office, I fell in love with a box pattern so much, that we added it as trim.  The custom cabinets Ben built were already in place, so we wanted to have the top of the trim match the top of the cabinets.

Our cabinets are 36 inches high, not including the Brazilian cherry top, so our total trim height is 36 inches.

After determining the trim height, measure each wall, marking the center.  If you have cabinets, mark the center of the area between the wall and cabinet to make the design centered on the visible area.  Then, mark the center of the height.  The easiest way to calculate the center is to add the height of the baseboard and top trim pieces then subtract that number from your total height.  For example, we used 5 inch base board, 2 inch top trim and a 1 inch thick ‘shelf.’  Subrtact 8 from 36 to get 28 inches.  Now, divide in half and mark.

To create your box grid trim, first install the baseboard.  Now you’re ready to start creating the boxes.

We wanted 10 inches of space inside the boxes, so Ben marked 5 inches each side from his center lines.  We cut 3/4 inch thick MDF sheets to our dimensions, but you can also use square stock trim.

After ripping down the pieces, Ben cut the horizontal box trim 14 inches long to allow the vertical box pieces to butt into the horizontals.  Secure the horizontal pieces to the wall, keeping level.  Once the horizontals are in, add the vertical pieces to complete the box.  After completing one box, measure from the outside of the box to the baseboard and top trim.  Cut several pieces to length, ours are 7 inches on all sides,  nailing centered on the box.  Use the additional pieces as spacers to continue creating the boxes.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  Then, fill the nail holes, sand, prime and paint both the trim and wall.

12 thoughts on “Trim: Office

  1. you make it sound so easy! what kind of saw/tool do you use to cut the pieces?

    it looks great, and I love that you continued the detail under the desk.

    1. Hi Carole,

      We use a table saw to cut the pieces to the desired width, then a meiter saw to cut to length. If you don’t have a meiter/chop saw, you can use any saw that will cut a straight line. Hope it helps!


  2. Awesome! Thank you so much for the step-by-step turtorial. Your work looks amazing. Hopefully I will be doing something similar very soon!

    1. Hi Jill,

      You’re so very welcome! Thanks for reading…I’m glad we can provide some inspiration. We would love to see your pictures if you do a project similar to ours.


    1. Hi Sara,

      Thanks so much for stopping by! When I saw your woman cave I was stunned (first by how great it was, secondly by the similarities)! Great minds think alike!


  3. Love all your super creative ideas! Finally got my husband inspired and we installed a wall of trim on our upstairs landing based on your square bathroom design using MDF and it’s looking great! Two questions: Do you caulk around all the MDF pieces and what do you do where each piece butts into the other? My husband used wood filler to create a smooth line and the sanding is killing me! LOL! Do you think that’s necessary?? Thanks for your feedback! Love your work!

    1. Hi Vickie! Thank you so much for your kind words! That’s fantastic that you’ve installed trim. We’re honored to have inspired you. We do caulk around all the trim, where it meets the wall. And unfortunately, we do fill all nail holes and areas where the trim pieces butt together. If you use a fine grit sandpaper in hand sander, the work will go much quicker. We recomment caulking because things will always settle. The more elasticity, the better, but make sure it’s paintable. We often use DAP Indoor/Outdoor paintable caulk. We would love to see your landing once you’ve finished, please.

      Happy (or not so happy, but necessary) filling and sanding! 🙂

  4. Thanks very much for the feedback! I tried the hand sander this morning, and you’re right, much better! I will try to shoot you pics when we’re finished (what address do I use to send email?). Can you tell me what product that you use to fill holes and to fill the joints? Eagerly awaiting your next project! Your work is very inspirational!

    1. Hi Vickie,

      You can e mail pictures to or post on our Facebook to share with everyone. As for filling, we use a DAP brand filler. I don’t remember which exactly, but anything is fine for nail holes. The most important thing is to scrape the area with your spatula in two directions. This will help fill the entire hole in one pass, but you still should do a second coat, just to be sure. You can use this for joints as well, but caulking can also work depending on the size. Just smooth the caulk out with your finger, paying close attention to the edges. Make sure the caulk is sort of ‘feathered’ into the area so you don’t have a big crease. Again, I would recommend DAP Indoor/Outdoor paintable caulk. Hope this helps!

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