According to the Encyclopedia Britannica (for those of you not old enough to remember a shelf of these in your classroom, google it) “Molding (which can also be spelled moulding) in architecture and the decorative arts, is a defining, transitional or terminal element that contours or outlines the edges and surfaces on surfaces…” It can be made of any applied material, such as plaster, wood, or wood alternatives.
Molding Serves Four Functions:
- it adds decoration to a room on the walls or ceiling (strip molding or trim)
- it is a decorative finishing element that is used for capping cabinets, columns and most often covers a gap between the top of walls and the ceiling, (crown mold)
- it protects the wall surface at the floor (baseboard and shoe mold)
- it frames or trims a door or window (casing)
Strip Molding or Trim
Strip molding or trim adds a decorative component without offering the walls or ceiling much protection. It can break up walls or ceilings to allow creative wallcovering combinations or to draw the eye to various features. It can be creative in design and result in a beautiful aesthetic.
Chair rail is one of the simplest and most common types of strip molding. It is a straight horizontal strip that typically runs across the room and divides the wall into an upper and lower half. Traditionally it was used to literally keep the backs of chairs from hitting the wall, however now it is typically a design element.
Paneling is another type of molding and can be used on walls as well as ceilings. It is decorative thin sheets of wood (panels) framed together by narrower and thicker strips of wood. Wainscoting is a specific form of panel molding that typically runs only up to the height of a chair rail or lower.
One of the most known types of molding with a plethora of decorative molding profiles to choose from, crown molding adds an elegant aesthetic to dress up a room. There are many types of crown molding; from simple clean lines to the more decorative crown, such as cove, dentil, and bead pearl. Many realtors consider crown molding a nice detail that can increase the appraised value of a house.
Baseboard and Shoe Molding
The baseboard is a popular type of trim and serves as the counterpart to crown molding. It covers the joint where the wall meets the floor, is not as noticeable, and can be much plainer than crown molding. Paired with baseboard and stained or painted to match the trim, shoe molding is a small, thin rounded strip of molding that adds a decorative touch and covers any gaps that may exist between the bottom of the baseboard trim and the floor.
This type of molding typically is used to “trim” the perimeter of windows and doors. It is typically less wide (tall) but thicker than baseboard. It can be both decorative and functional, enhancing the look of a door. It conceals the space between the wall and the door jamb. Door casings come in a wide variety of styles from clean and simple to ornate and elegant.
See Some of Our Molding Work
Some examples of molding and trim we have used in some of our renovations to enhance the aesthetic of the spaces:
Check out the crown around the cabinetry in this kitchen remodel. To see wall molding and other details view the whole project.
Note the molding that brings this stairway to life. See the whole project to see trim around the fireplace and chair rail in the powder bath.
Note the crown molding and ceiling trim details as well as the window casing in this remodel. See the whole project.
Note the chair rail around this powder bath with gold leaf painted trim. See the whole project.
Note the use of tile used as baseboard in this master bath. See the whole project.
Note the use of painted baseboard with stained shoe mold in this powder bath. See the whole project.
With a little extra thought, care and design, molding and trim can add an eye-catching aesthetic. Not only can the results be spectacular, but they can add to the overall value of your home. Love where you live!