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The Ultimate Guide To Interior Molding And Trim

There are many options when it comes to updating the interior of your home – are you going to gut the main areas, renovate your kitchen or bathroom, or apply some new layers of paint? Regardless of what you choose, you have to consider what you want to do with your interior molding and trim. This guide can help.

Choosing Interior Molding and Trim for Your Home - All Climate Painting and Remodeling

When renovating a room, it’s easy to forget about the trim and molding. However, these decorative pieces are what will truly finish off a room. If you’re looking to install trim and/or molding in your room, then this is the guide for you. This guide covers:

  1. What counts as trim or molding
  2. What it does
  3. How you can install it in any home

What Is Trim And Molding?

Trim and molding is quite simply the decorative piece that covers up joints between two different surfaces. They take many different types, but you may be most familiar with window casings or base boards that sit between the floor and the bottom of the wall.

The trims are used to cover those joints, and add a decorative touch to a room. There are so many different styles of trim that you may not know which one to choose. If you’re not sure, look at what is already in your home. Do any of the moldings match what is described below?

Types Of Interior Molding And Trim

There are many different trims that can be used in a room. Here are the most common styles that you may see:

1. Base boards:

This is the most common trim you’ll see, and many homeowners consider it to be essential. It sits at the bottom of the wall, against the floor. It’s often there to protect your walls from brooms or mops when you’re cleaning your floors.

2. Ceiling molding:

You may know this as crown molding, but these are one and the same. This decorative piece is designed to cover the join between the wall and the ceiling.

3. Door and window casings:

These trims go around door and windows, aiming to cover the gab between the jamb and the adjoining wall. The outside edge of casings is usually flat, to enable other trims to butt cleanly into them.

4. Wall paneling:

This can be any kind of panel that covers the entire wall. It comes in several styles, such as bead boards and tongue and groove boards. If the panel only covers a portion of the wall, it is more commonly known as wainscotting.

5. Chair rail:

This trim is usually attached around 36 inches from the floor, and as the name implies, is designed to protect walls from the backs of chairs.

6. Picture molding:

These trims have a rounded edge which allows you to attach hooks to them. They allow you to hang paintings from the rail, rather than attaching them to the wall.

Chair Rail Trim on Walls - All Climate Painting and Remodeling

Chair Rail Trim

Common Trim Materials

Now you know the different types of interior molding and trim, you’ll need to know what materials they’re made of. They’re most commonly made out of one of three different materials, all with their own advantages. These are:

1. Wood:

Most commonly, trims are made out of common softwoods. These include pine and poplar amongst others. If the wood is to be stained rather than painted, the wood should be free of knots and made out of one length of wood. If it’s designed for painting, there may be imperfections in the wood that paint will hide.

2. MDF:

MDF is another paint grade trim that works well in many homes. It’s easy to finish and doesn’t require sanding. However, you will find it’s heavier and will require more labor to get it up on the wall. Once it’s painted though, it’s indistinguishable from softwood.

3. High Density Polyurethane:

This is a popular choice that’s gaining more traction in homes, thanks to all the advantages it brings. It comes already carved and patterned, so you won’t need to do it yourself. Additionally, it doesn’t require sanding or painting, and won’t rot. It also expands and contracts much less than wood, leading to less repairs overall.

Wainscotting - All Climate Painting and Remodeling

Wainscotting Mold

Picking The Right Trim

Now you know what’s available to you, you need to pick the trim that’s best for your home. First, take a look at what’s already in your home. It’s usually best to stick to the same architectural style that you already have, to ensure that everything looks good and has a sense of flow, from room to room.  

Also, when picking out your interior molding and trim, be sure not to go too overboard. It’s easy to get excited and pick out lots of trims you like, but these can easily overpower a room. Pick only a few that will work, and remember that less is more.

Remember to keep your trims to scale. One should not overpower the others. As a basic rule of thumb, in a basic 8 foot high room, no base board or crown molding should be more than six inches tall.

Painting Your Molding and Trim

Once the trim is installed, the walls and trim need to be painted. There are several option here for you.

Firstly, for a modern look, you can paint the trim to blend in with your walls. This means painting the same color, or a tinted version of it. Warm toned rooms need warm toned trims, and cool toned rooms need a cool trim. Stick with the same undertones to make the trims look good.

You can also go for a lighter look. This is often used in older homes, to highlight original trims. Many home owners like to paint their trims white, to show off the look of them. This does make a room feel lighter and airier, so it’s good for a smaller room.

Alternatively, you could go darker. A dark paint on your trims really outlines what the trim is surrounding. Some homeowners are going with this look for their window casings. If you do this, pick a color shade that’s several shades deeper than the color of your walls, to get the best effect.

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Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to know about trims and moldings, but now you have all the details. With this information, you can pick out the right styles, materials, and paint colors to really finish off your remodel. Use this guide to help you pick the right interior molding and trim, and you’ll have a room that looks finished and put together.

All Climate Painting and Remodeling can help you with all aspects of your project – whether you are looking for a full remodel, or a paint update, we work with you through the whole process. Have questions? Contact our team today.