Trim, also known as moldings are one of the best ways to add depth and beauty to any room. Baseboards, casings, crown moldings and chair railings, trim is a design element that adds depth, detail and richness to any room. Most people building a new home don’t give trim much thought. Consider the size, style and material being used. How they flow together from room to room and how they match the overall style of the home. Do you want a colonial finish, a contemporary or modern one or something totally unique. if your building a new home you’ll be asking yourself what trim should I use. This article will try to help you with that.
Trim is sold in a wide variety of sizes, material and styles. And that’s just the stock variety. Custom trim layers different trims together to create a look impossible to achieve by using simply whats in stock. Trim is by far the best way to make any home stand out a look like a million bucks. For this you’ll not only need a great design but a custom home builder with the skill and experience required. High end trim work is one of the hardest things in finish work to truly do right.
Let’s look at some of the various trim elements below and try to answer the question. What trim should I use?
Interior Trim Types. What trim should I use?
1. Base Moldings
Base trim is at the bottom of the wall where the wall and floor meet. Old fashioned base trim was made of 3 parts. A shoe (the small curved piece that sits on the floor and is nailed to the baseboard). The baseboard (the tall, flat piece). The cap (an ornamental piece that sits on top of the baseboard). Modern base moldings which you’ll find in the majority of homes are 2 parts. Part 1 is the baseboard which combines the baseboard and cap into one piece. Part 2 which is the shoe.
It might appear like a small detail but your baseboards will alter the look of the entire home. Baseboard moldings typically range from 4″ – 7″ which makes a huge difference in the look of the home. That’s not even getting into the style or material.
The best trim depends upon a variety of aspects, including your house’s style, other style components in the space, the product you select, and your budget plan.
Wainscoting is a way of finishing the lower area of the wall with something more ornate than sheet rock. Base trim is generally still included with wainscoting even if it’s something as simple a shoe molding. Styles are almost unlimited with wainscoting including simple wood panels, bead board, raised panels and horizontal wood paneling. The finish is generally all white or stained with a semi gloss finish but it doesn’t have to be. We have many clients who have painted their wainscoting to match an overall color scheme in a room such as a bathroom or laundry. When asking the questions what Trim Should I Use, the answer may be wainscoting.
Wainscoting is a beautiful way to finish the look of walls or stairs and works in any room of the house.
3. Chair rail.
Chair rail sits approximately 3′ off the floor at the height of a typical chair. Protecting the wall from any furniture that gets placed against it. The key when installing chair rail is splitting the wall into two sections and getting those proportions correct.
Many clients also paint the 2 areas different colors which should fit with your overall color scheme for the room and home.
4. Window trim.
The most common way of trimming a window is to use 4 pieces of trim cut at a 45 degree angle. Nailed together they form a frame which is nailed to the sides of the window. Because all 4 sides match this is a cheap and easy way to trim any size window.
Another common way is to use a frame around 3 sides of the window with a separate piece of trim cut for a sill.
Having a deep sill to place objects on can be an advantage if you plan on decorating your window. The horizontal piece below the shelf, called the apron, can be shaped and sized as you like. The shelf can be shallow or deep, depending on what you’d like to place there and you’re overall design.
The final way is to use custom trim. Separate pieces of trim for the top, sides and bottom of the window. Because each piece is different the trim can be richly detailed and unique. Each piece is cut and installed installed separately, getting you the exact profile and look you’ll want. There is no way to achieve the look of custom trim work from a stock piece of trim found at a Home Depot or Lowes.
5. Door trim.
Much like window trim, door trim is traditionally installed as a frame with 3 sides because for obvious reasons door trim has no bottom.
Though not always the case, door trim generally matches the window trim in style. So for example if your windows have colonial trim you would generally trim the door colonial, not craftsmen or some other style. Changing size however while keeping styles the same is a great way of distinguishing door from window trim. For example, a large door might deserve a larger and more robust trim than say a small window.
Generally we tend to match the size of the door or window to the size of the trim. Keep in mind his has nothing to do with style. Even when using the same style, trim sizes can vary a great deal.
As with windows the most elaborate way to trim a door is to use a custom design. Separate pieces of trim for the top and sides. Because each piece is different the trim can be richly detailed and quite ornate. Each piece is cut and installed installed separately, getting you the exact profile and look you’ll want. There is no way to achieve the look of custom trim work from a stock piece of trim found at a Home Depot or Lowes.
Door and window trim can flow together along with chair rail, wainscoting and other trims to make one cohesive look.
6. Crown molding.
At the top of the wall is the crown molding. Just like other trims the choice of profile and size are almost unlimited.
What’s especially nice about crown molding is its ability to make a wonderful transition between wall and ceiling and create a cap to any wall or cabinet. Rather than have an abrupt sharp corner, crown molding lets the eye ease into moving from one plane to another.
Just adding something as simple as a basic crown molding can transform even the most basic room into something rich and elegant.
When asking the questions what Trim Should I Use, the answer may be a crown molding.
7. Coffered Ceiling.
If you’d like to add dimension and character to a plain room, nothing beats the beauty of a coffered ceiling. Capture the elegance and texture of early Renaissance architectural style through coffered ceilings. Coffered ceiling designs create quite the focal point and should be used sparingly.
Lights are typically encorporated into the coffered ceiling adding an additional element to the design.
When asking the questions what Trim Should I Use, the answer may be a coffered ceiling.
8. Built Ins.
Whether you’ve got a small space you want to maximize, a huge wall you don’t know what to do with, or an awkward niche in the corner of a room, built in shelving can be the answer. Older homes like to show off with hardwood wood floors, ornate multi layered trim and beautiful built in shelves and cabinets. Rarely do you see built in shelves on anything but the most expensive of homes. Find ways to bring these traditional elements into newer homes and give your home a rich ornate look that not many homes can duplicate.
What Trim Should I Use? All Of Them.
Here are a few pics of homes that successfully brought together the look of base, window, wainscoting, chair, and coffered ceiling into one elegant and beautiful design.
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