PRO: Tom Silva, TOH general contractor
SECRET: Embellish a plain, white-painted box-style newel post by trimming its square cap with molding in clear-finished cherry or oak. "A little detail, such as base-cap or panel molding with a tapered profile, softens the severity of the square edge, and the two-tone effect with the warm wood gives the whole newel a more decorative look," says Tom. Miter the corners, glue their flat backs against the sides of the cap, and tack in place with finishing nails. For even more detail, skirt the underside of the newel's 1× top with panel molding as well. Just flip the molding upside down so that the wider part of the tapered profile butts against the underside of the 1× top.