Decorative Molding Installation: Wood & Crown


One of the most traditional and important design elements in the home is decorative molding installation. With the exception of modern design, architectural and decorative molding have played an important role in the decorative arts. From very high-end homes with elaborate wall and crown molding details to more modest ranch homes with equally modest moldings, decorative molding installation highlights the architecture and brings structure to a room.

Decorative molding can be used from floor to ceiling, if desired, and while the end results can be as sumptuous as one can imagine, it is not necessarily expensive or difficult to install.

Baseboard molding & wainscoting

Starting at the floor, we have baseboard molding, which visually connects the floor to the wall and hides the seam between the two. Baseboard molding can be as small as a one-inch quarter round piece up to a six-inch-tall board with decorative carvings. The wainscot, the area generally below a chair rail, is often covered in decorative paneling, but it can be embellished with applied wood molding as well for a paneled look at a fraction of the cost. This involves applying small strips of decorative molding to create separate sections on the wall.

Chair rail & faux wood paneling

Further up the wall, a chair rail might be installed -- usually 3 feet off the ground, but sometimes as high as five feet. The function of a chair rail is to protect the walls from chairs being pushed up against them. We generally see chair rails in dining rooms for this purpose. Decorative molding may be applied to the wall above or below the chair rail. Similarly, faux wood panels can be created with applied molding to create boxes, or sections, in the wall. This adds character and formality to a plain wall.

Crown molding

At the top of the wall is crown molding, which, like baseboard, is a connecting point between the wall and another surface: in this case, the ceiling. It’s usually the crown molding that gets the most attention, whether it is a simple 1-inch quarter-round piece or an ornate 18-inch construction of different styles, such as dentil, egg and dart, and picture rail. Picture rail moldings are the most practical type of decorative molding. Their function is to hold a hook from which art and mirrors can be hung without having to hammer nails or brackets into the wall; this is particularly useful on plaster walls.

Decorative moldings are both functional and beautiful. When used in the proper scale and style for the home in question, wood molding installation adds structure and generally increases the perceived value of a space as well.

Hire a carpenter to preserve the beauty of your home's moldings or to add wainscoting, chair rails, and other decorative touches.

Updated October 29, 2018.

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