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Everything You Need to Know About Interior Molding

Everything You Need to Know About Interior Molding

crown molding with lightingThe interior molding in your home—also called trim—is a design feature that can make or break a space.

Your molding joins two different surfaces and materials in a graceful way. It acts as a casing around windows and doors, and a meeting point of your walls with your ceiling or floor.

When you stop to think about just how important molding is for the look and feel of a space, then selecting the design, material and size suddenly looms as a stressful to-do. How tall should molding be? What types of molding should you consider for each space? What are some of the molding mistakes other homeowners make that you could avoid?

Knowing that molding will be a PERMANENT fixture in your home means you do not want it to clash with the other selections you make. The good news is that you have seemingly limitless options to select the absolute perfect molding. …And the bad news is that there are SEEMINGLY LIMITLESS OPTIONS that can ultimately overwhelm you!

Start with some popular types of molding and then get into size and other tips to make the perfect molding selection. Keep reading to get that and more!!


types of crown molding by profileTYPES of molding

Molding styles are identified and even named by their profile, or how they look when viewed from either end.

Before even looking at molding styles, it’s helpful to refresh your memory on the molding categories. These are more general distinctions to divide molding into where it’s put on the wall.

Molding categories include:

  • Baseboards: these cover the joint between the floor and wall. It not only adds character and elegance, it also protects the bottom of the wall.
  • Ceiling molding: also called crown molding, this covers the joint between the wall and the ceiling.
  • Door or window casing: these create a frame around doors and windows to hide the gap between the jamb and the adjacent wall.
  • Base shoe: this is a quarter-round trim that fits against the floor and the baseboard. Just picture two flat sides forming a 90-degree angle with the other half perfectly rounded, forming a quarter circle.
  • Wall paneling: this can cover a whole wall or just a portion of one.
  • Cap molding: this fits over the top of your wall paneling.

crown molding

Some types of molding can serve dual purposes, too! A baseboard, for example, can often be used as a door casing…

Do note that many of these were designed to be combined, like baseboards and base shoes…


Molding Designs

Just take a look at the most popular molding designs…which ones do you have in your home? Which do you find most elegant? Which do you find most modern?

Types of trim and molding


types of baseboard materials and shapesMolding HEIGHT

Most door and window casings will come in pretty standard sizes, but ceiling molding and baseboards (in particular) will come in various sizes, usually 3, 5 and 8-inch heights.

If you work with a carpenter to create custom molding, that opens up a WHOLE new world of possibilities, too. How do you choose?!

Ultimately, the height of your molding will depend on the room and surroundings…specifically:

  • The height of your walls: if you have walls any higher than the standard eight feet, consider wider molding.
  • The square footage of the room: crown molding is especially popular in smaller rooms because it helps create a larger look.
  • Objects the molding will come into contact with: whether you have electrical receptacles, plumbing, cabinets or doors in the way, that’s another factor to consider.
  • Return on enjoyment: I’ve written about this before…return on enjoyment is all about choosing what YOU really want so you can really get the most out of your selection. Personal preference is the weightiest factor to consider.

That last point is an important one for many reasons. Among them, if you’re sure to choose the style you like best, that means it will go that much better with how your style has already played out in other rooms of your house!

Get your interior design style instantly with our quiz

Which brings me to…


Tips for Interior Molding

I have a LOT more tips where these came from, but here are the most important nuggets to keep in mind when selecting your molding…

  1. Use trim consistently: this way, your home will not only be true to your style, it will be consistent within an architectural style. Although some rooms will have more molding, the style should flow seamlessly.
  2. Don’t go overboard: more formal rooms are generally those where more molding is used…and where less is needed, be careful not to overdo it. Focus on more molding in spaces like the dining and living rooms.
  3. Balance the crown molding and baseboards: whatever you do, once you do select the right size and style of molding, be sure to balance the size between the crown molding and baseboards!
  4. Consider existing molding: if you already have trim in any room, be sure your new molding goes well with it!
  5. The layout and build of your home: if you have a home with unusually shaped spaces, or vaulted ceilings, or 10-foot-tall walls, these are all considerations to work through with your designer when choosing the right molding…
  6. Once you do install new molding…SAVE some pieces!! You can save scraps from your molding installation for future repairs. The nuances in any molding, especially if you’ve had it done in a custom job, will be hard to reproduce later. Sometimes, getting a replacement piece of molding to look exactly the same is impossible, especially when working with natural materials like hardwood.
  7. Want to paint your molding? Avoid these nine DIY painting mistakes!

installing baseboards

Not sure who to contract to create your custom molding or install the molding you’ve elected? Download our free ebook guide to choosing the perfect contractor!!

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