How to use decorative molding to improve the look of your home

Regardless of the type of home you live in, decorative molding will make an attractive statement to your existing home design. Install it at ceiling height to enhance the look of the entire room, or near the floor at baseboard level. Use it to protect the area behind furniture or doors, or as a decorative fixture in the room. Here we'll discuss the various types of decorative molding and how they can be used to improve the look of your home.

Decorative molding can be manufactured from different materials, but are most frequently made from wood, plaster or synthetic materials. They are most often bright -white in color, which works to accent whatever paint color is used on the walls. They can also be stained to match the woodwork in your home. The uses for decorative molding are many, and can include both functional or purely decorative purposes. They can be plain in design or carved into intricate patterns and shapes. Below are the most common types of decorative molding and how they can be used to improve the look of your home.

Cornice molding - Cornice molding is arguably the most frequently used type of decorative molding. It is used to fill the gap between the wall and the ceiling, and gives even an empty room a smooth, polished look. If you have walls that don't meet flush at the ceiling level, cornice molding will disguise this slight imperfection and improve the look of your home.

Crown molding - This is the most popular type of cornice molding as it can be used for a variety of purposes. It is often used as an ornamental method of filling the gap between the wall and the ceiling. However, it can also be used to improve the look of your home by framing fireplace mantels, sitting atop cabinetry to create a finished look, as decorative shelves or ledges, as a casing around artwork and other wall décor, and much more.

Chair rail molding - This type of decorative molding serves a functional purpose too. It has saved my walls on more than one occasion and if you have children in the home, or members of the family that tend to slam doors, chair rail will save yours too! Chair rail creates a divide on the wall at a height of 36". This height happens to be where most doorknobs would hit the wall, or where most furniture bumps the wall surface. By having chair rail in place, your walls stay protected from damage. Many people use chair rail as a cap for wallpaper, wainscoting, paneling, or bead board too.

Baseboard molding - Virtually every home has baseboards, so even if you had never heard of decorative molding before, you've seen baseboard molding. It sits at the area between where the bottom of the wall and the floor meet, and works to protect against wear and tear. Again, if your walls are slightly uneven and there is a small gap in this area, baseboard molding will help to conceal this irregularity and improve the look of your home.

Molding corners - If you truly want to improve the look of your home, molding corners can add a sophisticated touch. They are used with other decorative molding and can be used to accent the inside and outside corners of the room, or as a cap for the corners of molding used to frame out cabinetry, fireplace mantels, and so on.

Now that you know the various uses for decorative molding, it's time to get shopping! Remember to take accurate measurements before heading out to your local home improvement store, and ask if they can make the cut the decorative molding for you. Many businesses offer this service free of charge, or for a minimal fee, which will make the installation process easier for you.

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Personal knowledge and experience