It’s probably the last detail you notice, but a little trim goes a long way to say something about you and your home. Trim work in your home does more than delineate where the walls, floors and ceilings stop and start. It also provides cues as to the style and character of a room. This includes baseboards, crown molding, windowsills and door casing. Homes can look incomplete without these finishing touches.
Historically, the Greeks and Romans established the classical rules of design and proportion using trim work. The use and styles of columns, ceiling and wall detail became indicative of your stature in society and a true sign of wealth. The styles of the very wealthy has always influenced the interior design industry and architectural features from Roman times and onward continue to be seen in today’s builds.
Crown molding is still a popular item today because it adds visual height to a room and separates the flat surface of the ceiling from the wall. This provides a visual break. It also invites us to use different treatments on the ceiling and walls, like two different colours of paint or a patterned wall paper on the walls and a painted ceiling. Crown is considered an upgrade in resale so it’s a desirable element in residential design today.
For multiple crown sizes and designs check out your local building centre or companies that specialize in trim. Trim now comes in wood, plaster and companies such as mouldexmouldings.com use composite material such as plaster coated Styrofoam for their crown applications. The latter is a great, lightweight option and looks like the real thing once installed.
As ceiling heights increase, so should your crown height. The beefier the better. Five to six inches of moulding for an eight-ft. ceiling height works best.
Opposite of crown molding, is the baseboard. It performs a similar job: to cover the space where the wall meets the floor. Baseboards have two parts; the actual board, and the rounded shoe molding that runs along the edge of the floor. Houses built in the early part of the last century tend to have higher base boards and then, over time, home-builders started installing shorter and less decorative ones presumably to save money. Today, seven-in. baseboards have become standard, and often extend to 10-in. for a richer look.
“Casing” describes the trim that wraps the perimeter of windows and doors. It is generally the same style as your baseboards for continuity. Like baseboard, casing has become more pronounced with sizes ranging from 3.5 to more than five in. wide.
We’re now seeing the return of the windowsill in new builds. Previously, casing simply wrapped the window on all four sides. Now a horizontal trim piece with a decorative profile edge is added to the bottom of the window to create a sill and a piece of trim is added below it, called an apron. This detail reflects a return to elegant windows and a demand for higher attention paid to all areas of a room to showcase craftsmanship and carpentry skills.
Main decisions like wall colour or furniture tend to be more important than thinking about trim work. But it’s details like the profile of a baseboard or the thickness of a window casing that subtly send a message about the style and quality of a space. Make every part of your space turn your house into a home.