Not up on your molding lingo? Let’s start with the basics: Molding is a strip or block of wood that has been machined at a mill into any of a variety of designs, dimensions, and styles. It is used as decorative trim.
Framing a doorway
Front doors are a natural place for moldings. The decorative additions allow you to create a sense of grandeur for people entering the house. You can use moldings around both the outside and inside of the door.
An architrave, or header, is the horizontal molding on the top of a door.
Two common styles of headers are Craftsman and fluted (grooved). A keystone, or an angled block, placed in the center of the heading would give your door an even more ornate feel. The sides of the door can also be trimmed with fluted or plain casings.
Interior doors can be dressed up with moldings, too. A narrow molding placed in rectangles gives a plain door a higher-class look. Wider moldings along the door frame can add style to almost any room.
Injecting flair to upper walls or cabinets
Crown molding can add flair to kitchen cabinets. It softens the transition from vertical wall to horizontal ceiling. Two or more shapes of moldings or profiles can be combined to create an individual, distinctive look.
Cornice moldings project horizontally from a wall—”cornice” comes from the Italian “cornice,” meaning “ledge.”
Adding distinction to lower walls
In the dining and living rooms, panel molding and wainscoting are common wall treatments. Panel moldings come in a variety of shapes and dimensions. Wainscoting is paneling that has evenly spaced vertical grooves. Both are applied to the lower portion of interior walls. Chair rail is molding applied along the wall at the height a chair back would reach in a formal dining room, to protect the walls from being scraped.
Moldings can be used to add detail to baseboards and around window and door casings. A plinth block is used where the baseboard meets a door casing. Moldings are also helpful in older houses to cover gaps where the floor and wall do not meet or where a window jamb and the wall are not aligned.
Moldings are a wonderful way to upgrade your home. Even if you need to hire a contractor for the installation, moldings are still a relatively cost-effective way to infuse your home with style.