How to Use Molding & Trim To Add Character To Your Home

Custom Gray Vertical Trim in Bedroom

We’re huge fans of adding trim and molding to the home! Although it can be expensive, especially if you fancy more intricate designs and etching, these additions instantly elevate your homing, adding beauty and tons of character even before furniture, paint colors and textiles are added to the space, creating a truly custom home feel. It is a worthy investment that will totally transform your home for the better!

We highly encourage you to consider this addition to your home, and we hope that dreaming up these styles will be as fun for you as it is for us! There are various types of molding and trim styles and uses, so we thought it would be helpful to create a beginner’s guide to the different types you’ll often find in a home. 

Keep reading to learn about the various types of molding and trim styles, and how they can add character to the home. 

Crown Molding

Crown molding is one of the most well-known and used types of trim for traditional homes. It sits right at the top of the wall, aptly “crowning” the room, finishing the vertical space with a touch of depth and interest.  

Crown molding can be as simple or intricate as you’d like! There’s cove molding, which gently slopes downward from the ceiling in a concave shape, dentil molding, found in historic homes that are known for their intricate detailing, bead & pearl molding, egg & dart molding…and more

While crown molding not only helps add character and historic charm to a home, it has many other practical uses as well. It can help add volume to a room with low ceilings, finish off a room or built-in cabinetry for a cohesive, polished look, bring cohesion to oddly shaped rooms, or highlight other architectural features in the home such as unique ceiling details or framing pocket doors, arched doorways or bay windows. 

Baseboards

Bedroom space with open door showing the bathroom and the trim along the baseboards and doorframe.
Image via Scene Therapy

Baseboards sit at—you guessed it!—the base of the wall. They can vary in height and can be simple, as pictured here, or be etched with more intricate details. We are huge fans of taller baseboards, particularly ones that are 5” – 8” inches tall. The taller height helps the baseboards make more of a statement in the room, instead of just fading into the background, and we are all for that presence! It also brings a truly custom feel to your home and levels up your home’s style. Our favorite part of baseboards is that they add a fun element of cohesion to a room, by pulling a consistent design element all throughout the home.

And if you want to showcase even more of your personality and style in your home, try painting your baseboards and interior doors a soothing or bold color to contrast with the wall paint color for a real showstopper of a home! 

Casing

Casing refers to the trim found along the outside frame of a door or window. While casing serves mainly a functional purpose—to disguise any gaps between drywall and door or window frames—they can also add personality to a space. In some cases, casing can take on the same color of the surrounding wall, and other times, they’re fitted in a contrasting color. We’ve seen intricately designed casings in old homes and hotels, often with ornate, mantle-like designs at the top of the door or window, and then the side and bottom casing are kept simple. 

Being one of the most visible trims in a home, this is an excellent molding you can use to set the stage for your overall design style. If you’re going for a more modern and contemporary look, keep your casing rather simple. If you want a more historical, transitional, or traditional look, select a casing that has more detail and intricate elements. And if you are a big fan of juxtaposition like we are, then consider using intricate molding details throughout the home and combining that with furniture that has cleaner, more simple, modern lines to create a design with tons of visual interest and excitement!  

Decorative Molding

Living room space utilizing decorative molding along the walls.
Image via McGee & Co.

Decorative molding has the power to fill a relatively simple room with a ton of character, all the while making it look expensive, and for that we’re huge fans! Picture frame molding has become wildly popular lately, a finish that was first only seen in upscale European homes. It’s quite a simple concept: very thin pieces of trim are laid out in large box-shapes along a wall to create a simple, elevated look.

There’s an endless amount of decorative moldings to choose from, and different designs complement different home styles. This is when a chat with your interior designer becomes extremely valuable. They’ll be able to help you find and choose molding and trim styles that can bring about a room that’s truly unique. 

Chair Rail & Picture Rail

Chair rail molding sits a few feet from the ground in one horizontal line that spans the length of the wall. Historically it was used to protect walls from the backs of chairs, which is why the typical height is typically 30” to 32” off the floor. Though the height really should be determined in relation to your ceiling height so the room maintains the correct proportionality, which trim moldings help to delineate. Today chair rails are used less for practical purposes and more for aesthetics. This molding detail adds warmth and elegance to a room providing a comforting and welcoming atmosphere. Chair rails are often used in dining rooms and breakfast nooks, but can also be added to bedrooms and hallways! In most cases, it also indicates a change in color between the paint color above, and it can include additional trim designs below to add depth to the area between the chair rail molding and baseboards.

Picture rail molding has a similar concept, a horizontal line that spans the length of the wall, however it is usually a few feet below the ceiling instead of closer to the floor. Historically, it was used to hang artwork on plaster walls that were more difficult to penetrate, but today it’s a great way to add height to a room because it helps to draw the eyes upwards. 

Final Thoughts

When selecting any of these individual moldings for your home, you need to keep in mind the styles of the existing moldings and trim in your home. All trim elements throughout your home should compliment each, as they all work together collectively in a room. And if you are building a new home, or renovating and need to select all of these different types of molding for your home, make sure to review them all together before finalizing to ensure they all work together properly and do not compete with each other or that you are pulling too many different styles and elements together, as you’ll miss out on creating the elevated cohesion these moldings and trims are meant to bring to your space. 

If you need help on your molding and trim journey, reach out, we’d be happy to help you get this important piece of your home just right!

Do any of these styles stand out to you? Let us know in the comments!

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Interior Designer Andrea Durcik Columbus Ohio

meet Andrea!

Traveling, animals, and all things design encompass Andrea’s life, fueling her creative energy every step of the way.

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