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The beauty of interior mouldings

Discover the different types of mouldings and materials they are made of. You’ll see how they can easily transform the look and feel of your home and bring a neat and sophisticated look.

Types of interior mouldings

Interior mouldings are available for diverse applications—both functional and decorative. Whether you’re looking to protect walls from chairs or simply wish to add an elegant touch, there is a moulding that is right for you.

We’ve compiled a guide to help you understand the most popular styles of mouldings and how you can incorporate them into your home.

1 - Baseboard

Usually made of three pieces: a flat face, a cap for decoration, and a quarter round. The baseboard is used to cover the gap where the wall meets the floor.

2 - Cornice

Any decorative trim that “crowns” the room, typically where the wall meets the ceiling.

3 - Door and window casing

Casings serve both functional and aesthetic purposes as they hide the joint between the wall and the jamb. Door and window casings should match or complement each other.

4 - Chair rail

Adds dimension to walls while simultaneously protecting from dents and scratches caused by chairs. Chair rails are commonly installed around 30" to 36" from the floor.

5 - Wainscoting

Layered panels applied to the lower portion of the wall for protection as well as decorative purposes. Wainscoting adds warmth and interest to a plain wall while protecting it from chairs, children and pets.

6 - Plinth block

Piece of wood higher than the baseboard and used as a base for the door frame.

7 - Pediment

A pediment is a decorative element placed over a door or window. It is made of a moulded frame and a tympanum.

8 - Keystone

The keystone goes over the lintel of doors and windows.

9 - Mantel

Ornamental facing around a fireplace.

10 - Corbel

Used mostly as a decorative bracket today. Often seen with fireplace mantels, beneath kitchen countertops, or supporting decorative shelves.

11 - Arabesque

12 - Rosette

Rosettes can be added to casings for a decorative touch on the upper corners. These decorative elements eliminate the need to make 45-degree cuts in your mouldings which can sometimes be complicated.

13 - Quarter round

Quarter rounds are installed on the floors for decorative purposes, to protect baseboards or to hide the space between the wall and the floor.

14 - Gorge

Concave moulding installed along the wall.

15 - Outside corner moulding

V-shaped moulding that protects the exterior corner of walls.

16 - Flexible moulding

Flexible decorative mouldings.

Sizes

The size of mouldings such as baseboards, chair rails, crowns, etc, will largely dependent on the homeowner’s preference. There are, of course, guidelines, but it’s important to choose what if you find most appealing. A few considerations:
  • The higher the ceiling and bigger the room, the larger the mouldings should be and with deeper relief patterns.
  • Use ornate details and large-scale mouldings to bring warmth and intimacy to expansive spaces.
  • The most common, low-grade size of baseboards is 3¼".
  • Baseboard, crown, chair rail and case mouldings are usually available in 16' lengths, but are sometimes also available in 8', 10', 12', 14' and 15' lengths as well.
  • Most large retailers sell mouldings by the linear foot. Typically, you are not obligated to purchase a 16' board if you only need 5'.
Calculate the quantity of mouldings to buy for your project.
Moulding calculator

Pro tip

When purchasing mouldings, add an additional 5% to account for cutting waste.

Finishing options

There are several finishing options for the various moulding materials. Check with the manufacturer to see which options are suitable for your chosen material.

In general, use clear coats and stains for wood mouldings, leaving the paint for inexpensive mouldings made of composite materials. Don’t spend extra money on a nice-looking wood moulding just to later cover it with paint.
  • Clear coats are ideal for beautiful woods that do not need enhancing, just protecting.
  • Stains are similar to clear coats, but add a touch of colour to your wood while still allowing its grain to shine through. They add warmth to your space and are available in a wide range of colours. Soft woods may need a primer before a dark stain is applied to prevent splotches and uneven tones.
  • Paint is ideal for imitation and composite moulding materials. It helps hide the inevitable dust that collects along edges. A high gloss paint will make your moulding pop, but it becomes difficult (or nearly impossible!) to touch up. Paint with at least a little sheen is usually recommended so that it can be wiped down. Traditionally, mouldings in your home are painted the same colour.

Installation: how it’s done

Tools required for the installation of mouldings largely depend on the type of moulding and its material. A basic tool list includes:

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