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Simple Home Makeovers: Decorative Moulding and Trim

By Patty White | August 1, 2013

Many homeowners love nothing more than crown moulding and trim as accents throughout their homes.  Crown moulding is a classic way to improve any room and add value without breaking the bank.

Unexpected Design Ideas with Trim

Using crown moulding and detailed trim in unique and unexpected ways can also add depth, dimension, and value to your home.  Consider creating layered, rectangular focal points using thin pieces of trim in a dining or living room.  This detailing will add class and elegance, but it is still easy to execute.

This effect is created by constructing frames (simple wooden rectangles), usually in two or three sizes, and then placing the smaller frames inside the larger on a wall.  In effect, these rectangular wall frames will create the illusion that the room is larger and will create amazing visual interest.  The smallest frame can also serve to highlight a special photo or a favorite piece of art, but the frames can stand alone for a more classic look.

Where Should Wall Frames Go in a House?

Classically, this feature was most frequently seen in dining rooms and parlors.  In these rooms, the look is often carried out throughout the entire space – meaning that homeowners would install multiple sets of frames to fill the room.  For example: three on North and South walls, and two on West and East walls.

Since it is always fun to add personal flair to a classic look, it is also great to consider adding a single set in a bedroom or bathroom to highlight a photo or artwork.  This works wonderfully in a master bedroom for couples who want to show off a particularly special wedding photo or a great shot of the kids.


photo credit: Crown Molding via photopin cc

Installing Trim Frames in Your Dining Room

A dining room is an ideal place to try this beautiful feature.  First, decide on your color scheme.  The most classic looks will be achieved when the room as a whole is painted one solid color – usually a bold blue, a deep yellow, or a warm red will be perfect choices.  Painting all the trim one color – usually white – is the best option for colors here.  The crisp white will tie the trim together and help create depth.

Next, choose your trim.  You’ll want to choose a few different sizes with some variation in their edging (the way they are beveled or carved).   For best results, choose styles that are all about the same width, using smaller sizes for smaller rooms.

Tip: The average dining room table seats eight.  For rooms with tables of this size, using ¾ inch trim will suit the space best.

Next, choose the size of your framesLength: If the dining room has 9 foot ceilings, with 4 inches of crown moulding and a 4 inch baseboard, then there are really 8 feet to work with here.  Leaving space at the top and bottom of the wall is very important, so the largest frame should be about 6 feet tall.  Width: The width will vary based on your needs in the room, but a good rule of thumb is to make sure the width is larger than one place-setting at your table, but smaller than two.  That means usually less than 3 feet.  Remember, have fun and choose whatever looks best to you!

Cutting the trim is the next crucial step.  Measure twice, cut once!  That’s the best saying in the business.  Cut each piece with a 45 degree angle (guides are usually at your local hardware store).  Since the trim is small, these cuts can be made with a handsaw, which will reduce risk of injury and overall cost.

Install the trim.  Once again, measure and measure and measure!  Use a level – preferably one with a laser guide – to make sure all the trim is straight.  The trim should be fairly lightweight and can be installed using simple household nails, but screws will provide the most security.

Once the frames are installed, enjoy!

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