Once you have decided on a beautifully hand-finished floor, putting thought into your choice of trim work is the key to giving your room a stylish, polished look. The right trim unites the floor, walls, window and door frames, and fixtures into a coherent whole. And there are countless options for each type of trim, from clean lines for a modern room to more decorative styles perfect for Victorian-style homes and more traditional settings.
As you flip through catalogues and website pages of trim, think about the period and style of the architecture, the color and texture of each element of the room, as well as the type of atmosphere and furnishings you want for the space.
Here are six common types of trim you may consider:
Crown Molding: Traditionally found in a more decorative setting, this popular trim between the wall and ceiling has evolved, with more streamlined designs available for modern rooms, as well as more ornate styles. Crown moldings are great to consider when you have showcase fixtures such as chandeliers, as they draw the eye toward the ceiling.
Baseboards: The baseboard is the most common type of trim, and for good reason. They cover the uneven joint between the wall and the floor and protect the wall from wayward feet, furniture, etc. Whatever style you choose, consider a quarter round or a shoe molding added to the bottom to make the baseboard thicker and help cover any expansion or contraction of the floor.
Chair Rails: Also known as dado rails (in architecture, the dado is the lower part of a wall), chair rails are a type of molding fixed horizontally to the wall around the perimeter of the room. The purpose originally was both aesthetic and functional, as the paneling below covered the area of wall affected by dampness rising from the floor, as well as scuffs from chairs and traffic. Chair rails split the wall, allowing for two wall areas with different treatments, e.g. wallpaper above and paint below. They can help create a more varied and dynamic color palette to the room.
Wainscot: Wainscot is paneling of vertical wooden pieces on the lower part of the wall. In antiquity, oaken boards were used to make rooms with stone walls more comfortable by insulating the lower part of the walls. In modern usage, wainscot is used for decorative purposes, giving your space the feel of the drawing rooms of yesteryear.
Window and Door Casings: The trim around your windows and doors finishes the room and should be integrated with the style of your baseboard and other elements to give the room a unified look. Choose from casings made of a single layer of wood or high-profile casings common in traditional and Victorian-style homes. Some manufacturers offer ready-made casings that give a hand-crafted look without the carpentry skills.
Wall Frame Moldings: Also known as Picture Frame Moldings, these design elements are frames attached to the wall, creating spaces for paintings, photos, or other hangings. They’re a great way to break up large expanses of space and in halls, stairways or big living or dining rooms. Choose an accent color for the frame that makes the artwork or other features of the room pop. Some homeowners even paint the inside of the frame a different color from the rest of the wall, creating a two-tone look.