Decorative Moldings – Art For Your Walls

“Do you want to get your house to stand out from the crowd? Answer: consider decorative moldings.”

The modern homeowner wants that extra something that will make their house different.

Even builders and lumber suppliers recognize the fact there is a change in the expections from home owners when it comes to “looks”; decorative molding will make the difference.


Decorative Molding – Glossary Terms

To get an idea what decorative moldings are comprised of, let’s take a look at these most used moldings:

  1. Baseboard Molding – decorative molding with protective role as well; it conceals the joint between the wall and floor. Usually the widths vary from 3″ to 6″.


  2. Crown Moldings – also named cornices; this type of molding is used to conceal the joint between the ceiling and walls, soften the transition between the two. Their widths vary between 4″ and 6″, and they are installed mostly at 45 degrees angle.


  3. Casings – this type of decorative trim is used to conceal seams around doors and windows. Their widths vary from 1″ to 3″.


  4. Chair Railing Molding – an attractive separation between the upper and lower walls. This type of decorative trim is applied on the wall at 30″ to 32″ above the floor. In the past it was put at that height to protect the wall against chair backs; nowadays it has more a decorative role. It can be made of a single band or more built up pieces of casing or band molding to add scale.


  5. Panel Molding – these type of molding lays flush on the wall, instead of concealing joints between floor , walls or ceiling. It adds built-in character and elegance to any room.
    Wainscoting – is a paneling style applied to the wall between the chair rail and it runs between 32″ to 38″.It adds architectural dimension to the walls.


  6. Ceiling Trims – most seen ones are ceiling medallions. A ceiling medallion will decorate the center of your ceiling and making it stand out, with or without a light fixture. Panel moldings are also being used to make different pattern ceilings.


  7. Wall Niches – can become a focal point for the room. Use them as an accent feature to display a floral arrangement, a small piece of art, or a trophy. The most used places where you will find wall niches are hallways, foyers, livingrooms and bathrooms.

Some of Our Most Read Pages

  • A Modern and Inexpensive Crown Molding: Polyurethane Molding
  • Panel Molding Ideas: Tips and How-To
  • Ceiling Medallions
  • 5 Easy Steps to Install Polyurethane Crown Molding

What Are They Made Of?

  1. MDF( medium density fiberboard) – is a wood product made from bonded wood pulp. The result is a material that has no knots, grain patterns, pitch pockets, sap streaks or knots. The MDF molding is a dimensional stable material, flexible, with a smooth and flat surface.
  2. Lightweight MDF – is similar to MDF but not as dense than MDF. It is lighter in weight, and it’s used for indoor moldings. Usually comes primed, same as MDF.
  3. Wood – hardwoods or lightwoods, they were the traditional materials used for moldings, giving class and sophistication to any room.Some of the most used ones are: mahogany, red cedar, maple, pine, hemlock and red oak. They are expensive and prone to water damage, warping and shrinking, plus they can be damaged by insects. It requires experience when installing and it’s higher maintenance.
  4. Polyurethane – more durable than wood and lighter than MDF, they are easy to be installed by a DIY person. It is the newest type of molding available on the market.
    Resistant to water damage, humidity and general impact, it makes polyurethane molding one of the favourite choices when planning to make an indoor or outdoor installation.
  5. Plaster moldings – originally these type of decorative moldings were made of plaster. They added beautiful, stunning and intricate architectural features to a room, but they were complicated to install and transport.Plaster moldings are porous, so there is a need for finishing after they dry. Latex, stain, varnish, oil paint can be used.

    Money wise, plaster moldings are the most expensive type of molding available.

Color Ideas for Decorative Moldings

White – is one of the most used colors for molding. Choosing gloss or semi-gloss white trims in your house will make them an easy match with the color of the doors, windows, ceiling and give a sharp overall appearance.
They will successfully match any decor type.

Stained molding – brings out the grain of the wood and the carvings; is usually used when you want to emphasize the color of the classic or period furniture in the house. The color of the molding should match the color of the furniture. Used mostly in traditional or period type decor.

Faux finish – gold leaf, metallic or antique metallic finish should be used for moldings when you desire to enhance the furniture style in your house, be it Queen Anne or Victorian. Because of the intricate style of the molding itself, coupled with the faux finish, it is advisable to have high ceilings, so the moldings won’t overpower the room.