The interiors of homes built between the mid-1800s and early 1900s were often adorned with beautifully ornate plaster molding and millwork. Skilled plasterers worked on site to cast fancy cornices, large ceiling medallions and dentil crown molding.

You can still capture the formal elegance of yesteryear with modern reproduction molding. Today, a handful of companies are reproducing traditional cast-plaster molding out of durable plastics and high-density urethane foam. And, best of all, you can easily install this modern decoration yourself using simple carpentry tools.

We'll show you how to install an attractive round-top wall niche made of lightweight urethane foam. Its 7-inch-deep shelf provides a perfect place for displaying your favorite vase, clock or curio. This niche is designed to fit in a 2x4 wall between two 16-inch on-center studs. That means you don't have to reframe the opening. Just saw a hole in the drywall and pop in the niche.

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    Tools List

    • 16-foot tape measure
      Measuring tape

    • two-foot level

    • drywall saw
      Drywall saw

    • finish hammer

    • caulk gun
      Adhesive gun

    • pneumatic finish nailer
      Pneumatic nail gun

    Shopping List

    1. Urethane-foam wall niche

    2. Urethane adhesive
    used to adhere the niche to the wall surface

    3. Plastic drop cloth
    used to catch dust

    4. Painter’s tape
    for attaching drop cloth to wall

    5. Paint
    used to finish the niche

    6. 2 1/2-inch finishing nails
    for securing wall niche

    7. 2x4 blocking
    installed horizontally between studs at top and bottom of wall opening

    8. 2-inch drywall screws
    used to fasten 2x4 blocking to wall studs

    9. Spackling compound
    for filling nail holes