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Wall trims are a fine example of functionality and style. They can easily hide joints, gaps, and other imperfections on surfaces —- an unavoidable part of any construction. Apart from this feature, they make a surface beautiful while making a bold design statement. It would be correct to say that they are an inexpensive way to transform the look of a space. Whether you want a formal, traditional, or modern design for your home — you can choose from different wall trim styles during a well-planned and cost-effective home remodeling or new construction.
What is wall trim?
A wall trim — also called interior trim — is a general term often used to describe all types of molding and millwork. It is used to frame windows, doors, walls, floors, even ceilings — defining the architectural style of a room.
Popular wall trim materials
For a wall trim, you can use MDF, natural wood, or poly trim. Wood is more solid and durable than either plastic or MDF. But, it tends to shrink a bit. If you want the natural clear-coat or stained wood look, use natural wood such as hemlock. And, if you plan to paint the trim, you can use either MDF or plastic. MDF is the cheapest trim material. But, it can break easily. A plastic polymer trim may be slightly more expensive but is more durable than MDF and does not shrink as wood does. We suggest, you do your research and choose the best for your home.
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Types of wall trims
There are many wall trims to choose from. The most popular and functional ones are chair rail, wainscoting, crown molding, baseboards, picture frame wall molding, window and door casing, and picture or plate rail.
Now that you understand a little about wall trims, let’s take you through these beautiful seven types of trims. So, here goes.
A typical chair rail is a horizontal wall trim that rests just above the middle of your wall, which is three feet above the floor. A rule of thumb is to install chair rail molding at 25% of the height of the room. This where your dining chairs may make contact with the wall. The initial idea behind chair rails was simple — to protect walls from damage caused by chairs. Today, however, the design has caught on as a popular decorative element of a room.
You can use these wall trims to create a subtle bifurcation in your room that is pleasing to the eye. Try painting one color above the chair rail and a complementary one below. Or, you can set them above wainscoting to give a nice texture to the room.
- Elegant and easy to install
- Gives a fine texture to a wall
- Prevents dining chairs from scraping the wall
- Is functional as well as attractive
- Goes well with wainscoting
- It attracts dust. Since it is placed just below eye level, it needs regular dusting and cleaning
- If wrongly installed, it may make the whole room look disproportionate
Whether your home décor is casual or formal, wainscoting beautifully adds finishing touches to any room. It’s both a decorative as well as a protective feature for many rooms.
Wainscoting is not necessarily a wall trim; it’s more of a wood paneling against a wall. But, it adds a nice texture to a wall and is most commonly found under a chair rail. It is created between the baseboards and chair or picture rail of your home.
There are various wainscoting styles such as smooth boxes, rustic panels, and intricate grooves. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that wainscoting lets a wall showcase the room’s style. If you want a sophisticated formal interior design, go for the elegant raised panels. For a quaint, country home, beadboards are best.
- This paneling creates a nice texture for a room
- It makes the room seem taller
- Hides flaws in the walls
- Adds the rich warmth of wood without overpowering the room
- Requires regular maintenance; sealing or oiling
- Is sensitive to humidity and temperature
You can find crown molding at the intersection of walls and ceilings. Therefore, it is constructed typically at a 45-degree angle. What’s more, it has a hollow space behind it. It can single-handedly increase the value of your home with its luxurious feel.
Crown molding is available in different styles and shapes. You can enhance it further by adding baseboards below it to give it a longer, more pronounced look.
Since crown molding is highly decorative, it can make a room dreamy, be it your living room, dining room, or even foyer.
- You need not worry about the finish of a drywall junction where the wall meets the ceiling, crown molding covers all flaws
- Gives a fine finish to the room
- Difficult to effectively cut gap-free angles with crown molding
- You need to learn the skill before installing a smart-looking crown molding
- May require hiring a professional carpenter/contractor
Have you noticed long strips of wood along the walls in stylish homes? That’s baseboard for you. They allow for a smooth transition from wall to floor and give a finished look to your room.
Baseboards are the most common trims of all the wall trim styles. And, they are the easiest to install too. The best part is, there are many shapes, styles, and sizes to choose from. They can be very narrow all the way up to 6 inches wide. Generally, they measure three to five inches in a standard-sized home.
Baseboards are usually simple and accented with a small piece of quarter-round trim. You can install baseboards in practically any room. We know that baseboards dress up a room and give a defining line at the bottom of the walls. However, there is yet another feature: they effectively hide gaps between the bottoms of the walls and the flooring.
- Provides an aesthetic appeal to any room
- When correctly installed on a wall, it prevents drafts from entering the house
- There are lots of options in terms of textures, sizes, and materials
- Over time, it may develop gaps near the floor
- You will have to reposition the quarter round or change the baseboard itself in case of such damage
Picture frame wall molding
Wall picture frame molding is a purely decorative wall element that may not be a common type of trim but is gaining popularity. It is especially preferred by homeowners who are striving for a very formal, English decor for their house.
Why is it called a picture frame, you may ask? That’s because it is most commonly used when four pieces of molding assemble together to create the look of a picture frame. Looks very formal yet creative.
These can be painted a different color from the wall or the same. For instance, if you want to display a shadow effect in your room, you can paint the same color as the wall. Since they are more formal and quite elegant, we see them often in dining and living rooms.
- Gives an elegant look to home decor
- Easy to create and install
- More beautiful than functional
- Improved aesthetics might be the only gain
Do not confuse a picture rail with picture frame molding. Picture rail is actually similar to a chair rail but much higher on the wall. The reason it’s called a picture rail is that it served the purpose of holding the hooks for hanging pictures with wire traditionally. Even today, many people prefer to attach their artwork to picture rails and not directly to the wall. Because of their aesthetic appeal, you can have this horizontal wall frame molding continue throughout the room. They look great in traditional-style homes, especially in living rooms.
Interestingly, picture rails are installed at the same height as the top of a door frame. Did you know, these picture rails are not only visually pleasing, but they also create an extra layer of protection for your walls too.
- Quite functional; allows you to move pictures in and out of rooms with ease
- Easily breaks up the monotony of rooms with very tall ceilings
- Aesthetically pleasing
- It may interfere with windows due to its height
Window and door casing
Such casing defines the perimeter of a window opening or doorframe. It also covers any unfinished gap between walls and door or window frames. It can go along any window or door to give a complete look to any house.
We love these border-like door and window trims. They complement any theme for your home while giving extra protection to your windows or doors.
You will not find it difficult to find one that matches your home decor. They are available in many widths and styles. Though these variations are readily found, the width of the casing usually is two or three inches. You can always color them according to your requirements.
- It effortlessly gives any room a finished look
- Choosing the correct door or window casing in terms of its material may need some research on the part of a homeowner
- Installation is better left to a professional contractor
Whether you have a modern, traditional, contemporary, or a country home — wall trims bring a beautiful finish to any style. They create an easy and smooth transition from ceiling to floor, and can greatly increase the value of your home. They resonate well with home buyers. We hope our comprehensive article on popular and beautiful wall trim styles helps you choose the best for your home.