Decorative moldings are strips of material with various profiles. Some moldings are functional and are used to cover the transition between two surfaces such as along the top and bottom of walls and around doors and windows. These moldings are designed to hide imperfections, gaps, and joints. Other decorative moldings are merely for decorative and design statements.
Most moldings are made from natural wood. This is because since it the most durable. Other moldings are made from medium density fiberboard (MDF). It has a wood look to it, but it is a cheaper material. It is also easy to break or damage. Some moldings are also made from plastic. The material can be painted. Also, it will not shrink due to changes in temperature like wood does.
Types of Decorative Moldings
Case molding is designed to cover the gaps between windows and doors. Casing it both functional and decorative. Additionally, it is applied to both the interior and the exterior of the home. It is typically 2-3” wide.
This molding is used to trim along the bottom of the walls where it meets the floor. Every room in every home generally has baseboard because it hides the gap at the transition and helps keep drafts out of homes. Baseboard is typically between 3” and 5” high, and it is available in hundreds of different profiles. Also, it can be painted the same color as the walls, or a different color.
This is a functional molding that is meant to protect the walls from dings and scratches. Chair rails are usually in dining rooms. Also, it can be used for decorative purposes. For example, to differentiate between two different wall coverings or two different colors of paint or wallpaper.
Chair rail is typically applied between 3 and 4 feet up from the floor. The one major drawback of the molding is that it is a horizontal surface and will collect dust.
Picture Frame Molding
This molding gets its name from its resemblance to picture frames. While it is nice to look at, it serves no functional purposes. Therefore, it is not common. To create the picture look, molding it applied to the wall to form a square or rectangular shape. It can be applied in either a singular or repeated pattern. The pieces of molding can either be painted the same color as the walls, or a different color to make it more distinctive.
This molding is used where the wall meet the ceiling. The molding comes in hundreds of different profiles from plain to ornate. It is also available in various heights.
Dentil molding is small, evenly spaced toothlike blocks that form a repeating pattern. To create a more distinctive look, it is often incorporated into crown molding. Dentil molding originated in Greek culture, and it is frequently in historic homes.
Egg and Dart Molding
This molding is made up of an alternating pattern of ovals and v-shaped darts. It is usually a part of crown molding or chair molding.
Picture Rail Molding
Picture rail molding is basically chair railing that is higher up on the wall. It is often combined with crown molding. Picture rail allows for frames to be hung without having to put nails into the wall. The nails are installed in the strip of molding. Then the frames are either directly attached, or hung from a cord.