9 Ways to Dress Up a Room with Molding

Just as the right tie can really make a suit, or a well-chosen accessory can add some pop to an outfit, molding can turn a plain square room into a true showpiece. When you're considering how best to add trim to any room, don’t just think ceilings and floors. Trim works well along the middle of a wall, three-quarters down from the ceiling, around windows and doors, or along the edges of architectural features such as built-in bookcases or recessed panels in walls or ceilings. When it comes to trim styles, you are really limited only by your imagination: You can go with chunky, wide, or layered trim for a bold look, or opt for delicate, narrow trim to keep things elegant. Plus, you can buy molding in a variety of materials, from paintable, stainable woods to lightweight, plastic molding that doesn’t need finishing.

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  1. Sweet and Simple


    Sometimes simplest really is best. If you have a room that already has a striking detail like this vaulted nook, you won’t want your trim to compete with it. Opt instead for plain molding to quietly frame other parts of the room while letting its star feature shine.

    Related: 9 Ways to Personalize Your Sleeping Sanctuary


  2. Trim Trio


    The use of multiple bands of trim in a room can create a dramatic effect. Here, the base molding and chair rail frame out the crisp wainscoting, while a thinner and more subdued strip of molding separates the gray- and blue-painted sections of the wall. Not using crown molding ensures that the trim doesn't look overpowering.

    Related:  20 Ways to Make a Small Bathroom Big


  3. Too Much Can Be Just Enough!


    Even plain trim can yield striking results when it is used generously. Here, molding not only frames the doorways and the base and top of the walls, but it also continues beyond, framing out beams and turning an ordinary ceiling into a real eye-catcher, even in comparison with the gorgeous flooring.


  4. Lighten Up


    Wood trim can create a stately, old-world look in any home, but it can wind up looking heavy. Here, the wood trim runs up onto the ceiling, generating a sense of lightness. The trim also frames the ceiling light fixture—a quick and easy way to turn a dull expanse into a true “highlight.”

    Related: Which Lighting Where? 9 Pro Tips for Improved Illumination


  5. Trim It Thin


    To create a clean, modern look, use thin trim around open doorways, along the baseboard, and at the juncture of the ceiling and walls. Understated trim doesn’t steal space from the room, establishing instead an airy feel. Paint the trim just a shade darker than the walls for a calm and classy look.

    Related:  8 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Dining Room


  6. Outside In


    Trim doesn’t always have to be placed around windows—sometimes it can be put in them as well. If you have deep-set windows, consider trimming the insides of the frames with a material like this light wood to create a fresh, Scandinavian-style feel. Painting this “inside” trim with a bold color would take the room in a more whimsical, but equally modern, direction.

    Related:  10 Tips for Designing a Scandinavian-Style Interior


  7. Divide and Cozy Up


    In large, vaulted interiors, running trim around the room at about the level of a typical ceiling can create the sense of a virtual ceiling. This circle of molding adds a cozy factor to a room that might otherwise feel too large and soaring. Note how the middle band of trim is painted a slightly different color to add visual interest.

    Related:  What's the Best Color for Living Rooms? Experts Weigh In


  8. Crowned Cabinets


    Molding doesn’t have to be attached only to doors, walls, and ceilings. It can also be used to add a sense of elegance to kitchen cabinets. Don’t be afraid to go bold—large, intricate crown moldings on top of plain cabinets can set a dramatic tone in the kitchen.

    Related:  I'm Dreaming of a White... Kitchen: 10 Bright Beauties to Behold


  9. Here Some Trim, There Some Trim


    Not only does the trim used here frame the archways and visually separate the floor from the walls, it also creates sophisticated painted panels on the walls. Using trim to construct a “picture frame of color” on the walls is a cheap and affordable way to jazz up any room.


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