Know Your Moldings: 10 Popular Trim Styles to Spiff Up Any Space

Cove or crown, batten or baseboard? Differentiate between the molding types most commonly used in homes today.

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  1. Decorative Moldings


    Moldings exist in myriad forms. Each is designed for a specific purpose—framing a door, for example, or providing a visual transition at the junction of walls and flooring. So many types of molding decorate our homes today, it's often difficult to distinguish them. But here's the good news: You never again have to be confused between batten and baseboard. Click through to know your molding styles, once and for all!

  2. Casing


    Casing is designed to cover the unfinished gap between walls and door or window frames. Though different variations are readily found, the width of casing usually spans two or three inches.

  3. Baseboard


    Used to trim walls where they join flooring, baseboards usually measure three to five inches and feature simple styling. Often, baseboard is accented with a small piece of quarter-round (semi-circular) trim.

  4. Crown


    This type of molding is the "crowning" architectural feature of a room, as it decorates the transition between walls and the ceiling. Crown moldings, also known as cornice moldings, typically boast intricate silhouettes.

  5. Chair Rail


    Chair railing is functional molding meant to protect walls from being damaged by furniture. Of course, it can also serve a purely decorative function, delineating two different types of wall coverings—paint and wallpaper, for instance.

  6. Picture Rail


    Picture railing allows artwork frames to be hung without nails having to be driven directly into the wall. Often combined with crown molding, this molding type is one or two inches tall and appears seven to nine feet off the floor.

  7. Cove


    Also known as coving, cove molding is plain, concave-shaped trim employed where walls and ceilings meet. It can also be used on stairs, at the meeting of risers and treads. In essence, cove may be considered a less ornate version of crown.

  8. Dentil


    An ornamental detail with a Classical pedigree, dentil molding consists of small, evenly spaced blocks in a repeating pattern. Incorporated into crown molding, dentils are frequently found in historic homes.

  9. Egg-and-Dart


    Mostly seen together with crown or chair railing, egg-and-dart molding includes oval egg shapes (modeled after ancient Greek template ornament) alternating with V-like darts.

  10. Batten


    Batten, also called board-and-batten, is a trim piece used to hide the joint between two pieces of paneling.

  11. Bead, Pearl


    Bead and pearl moldings are two different, though very similar, types of trim. Both feature a row of small, symmetrical spheres. Paired often with other designs—leaves, darts, or spindles—this variety of molding typically accompanies crown or chair railing.

  12. For More...


    If you are interested in more about walls and ceilings, consider:

    5 Ways to Give a New House Architectural Charm

    Character Building: A Case for Moldings

    Bob Vila Radio: Historic Trim

    Greenside Design Build, LLC

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