Upgrade a Space with Decorative Molding

If you want to take a room from bland to beautiful there’s no better way than decorative molding. Whether it’s baseboards, door and window casings, crown molding or a decorative design of your own choosing, molding adds a finishing touch that makes a room feel complete.

Molding is available in a lot of styles, ranging from ultra simple to elaborate. Ultimately you can choose whatever you want based on your personal style and the style of your home, but keep in mind that simple and classic will always get you the best return on investment.


Baseboards are used where the floor and the wall meet. They conceal any gaps between the two and help to protect the base of the wall from scuffs and nicks. Baseboards can help set the tone for the room.

Style & Size:

Baseboards are usually very simple and accentuated with quarter round trim. They often measure 3” to 5” in height as a standard, however if you want to emphasize the architectural details in your home opt for something between 7” and 9”.

Window and Door Casings

Window and door casings are used to create a decorative transition between the windows and doors and the walls. They also play a functional role in that they can help stop drafts, dust, and even pests from entering the home through any gaps.

Style & Size:

In the majority of homes, window and door casings are simple and measure 2” to 3” in width, however they tend to get slightly bigger and more elaborate in older and more traditional homes.

Chair Rail

Chair rail was originally used to help protect walls from being dinged by the backs of chairs. But more than anything they’re used as a decorative tool to establish the proportions of a room.

Style & Size:

Usually installed at 32” to 36”, but it really comes down to personal preference. A good rule of thumb is to install at about 25% to 30% the height of the wall. I personally like to elaborate on traditional chair rail be creating picture boxes.


Wainscotting is paneling that lines the lower part of a wall. Its main purpose is decorative, however in the past it was sometimes used as a way to add extra insulation to a wall. It usually consists of pieces of molding that are put together in square or rectangular shapes below the chair rail.

Style & Size:

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to height, but ⅓ of the height of the wall is a good place to start. And the number of panels will depend on the length of your walls. Just remember to take outlets and switch plates into account when measuring so that you don’t cover any of them.

Crown Molding

Crown molding is used where the walls meet the ceiling. In most cases it adds subtle character and can help draw the eye upward, while in others it can be very decorative and quite a bit of detail.

Style & Size:

The ideal size for crown molding depends on the height of the wall. An 8-foot ceiling will look best with crown that’s between 3” and 6”. For every foot you add to the ceiling add an inch to the height of the molding.



Photos courtesy of Buyers BootcampScott’s House Call & Income Property.

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