How to Use Molding and Wainscoting to Add a Decor Punch

crown molding, how to cut install crown molding

Molding and wainscoting are two quaint and effective ways to add decorative impact to a room.

Trim a Room with Molding

Molding is a beautiful finishing touch for a room, adding depth and distinction. A range of profiles are available to tie into any style from Victorian to contemporary, and can be applied as crown molding, chair rails, detailed baseboards, and even as on-the-wall frames to set off a collection of art or photos. Basic carpentry skills are needed to properly cut, fit, and install most molding, although product innovations in the synthetic realm are making it possible to literally snap on a new look without complicated cuts.

Molding is available in the following configurations, at varying price points:

  • Clear. This is the most expensive variety, as it has no visible joints and is designed to be stained and finished with a clear polyurethane or varnish.
  • Finger-joint. This wood trim is less expensive than clear, and is designed to be painted. It’s made up of several smaller pieces of molding attached to each other with wood joints.
  • Primed. Typically this is finger-joint wood trim that is already primed. It’s very handy to start with this, as it is easier than having to prime it yourself.
  • Synthetic. Various types of synthetic molding are available, including urethane, PVC, and even composite mixtures of wood, and can be painted, stained, or left in their manufactured colors. Unlike wood, synthetic will have no defects that could cause it to twist or turn.


Cover It with Wainscoting

Another great surface accessory is wainscoting, which lends texture, definition, and variety to walls. Wood paneling and built-from-scratch systems are probably the most traditional means of achieving wainscoting effects, but a number of synthetic solutions made of cellular PVC and other maintenance-free materials are available to instantly create a classic look that can stand up to moisture, offer easy care, and be customized with paint and stain. Cap it all off with a decorative trim molding or a combination of a few, and finish the base edge with quarter-round molding for a craftsman’s touch.

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