Interior Trim: 8 Must-Know Elements

Welcome to the fantastic world of interior trim. From baseboards to casings, from crown moldings to railings, trim is a style element that adds depth, detail and richness to a room. But it has become so common, so omnipresent, that lots of people don’t give it much consideration. We go to the local lumber store or big-box home centre and buy a few feet of”colonial” or”ranch” moldings and then call it a day. That is a shame, as there are so many profiles, sizes, fabrics and much more.

So let us look at some molding and trim elements and see how they are positioned on a wall and also the way they could enliven a room.

dSPACE Studio Ltd, AIA

1. Base. Employed where the walls and flooring come together, the base, or baseboard, conceals any gaps between wall and floor finishes in addition to provides protection to the wall end from shifting feet, jostled furniture, etc.. Traditionally it had been composed of three distinct components: a shoe (the little, curved or beveled bit that transforms from baseboard to floor), the baseboard (the tall, flat piece) and the cap (an ornamental piece that sits atop the baseboard). But foundations are now more frequently than not manufactured from a single bit to get a cleaner and more modern aesthetic.

Incidentally, when I was considerably younger, I moved to architectural school in London and worked for a British construction firm. In addition to learning a new language (we all know a”elevator” is an”elevator” and the first floor is the second floor), I heard that the British term for a baseboard is”skirting.” I like that term, especially as a base and a skirt have.

Hanson Fine Building

2. Chair rail. Moving up the wall from the floor, the next bit of trim after the base is the seat rail. Functionally, this trim item protects the walls finish from any furniture that gets put against the wall. Though most commonly installed around 36 inches from the floor, a chair rail could be set up just about at any given height. The key issue is the way the seat railing divides the wall into horizontal layers and getting those proportions right.

Shirley Meisels

3. Wainscot. While the space between the seat rail and baseboard could be finished as the rest of the wall (painted or wallpapered), many times the place is paneled. The options for the wainscot are numerous, such as easy wood panels, beadboard, raised panels and flat wood paneling. And though the end of the wainscoting may match the wood trim, it does not need to. By way of instance, a painted wood baseboard and wainscot of easy, recessed panels functions well with the stained wood window and door trim.

Clay Squared to Infinity

4. Window casing. The conventional way of casing a window (or door) would be to use different side, top and bottom bits. Since each piece is distinct, the trim can be detailed and articulated. For instance, along the top of the windows there may be a horizontal ring that offers a base for a large, flat ring that retains a shaped crown. This really is a semicustom approach, as each bit may be purchased, or milled, and set up separately, getting you the specific profile and appearance you will want.

The Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn

Using a pleasant, deep sill to put objects on is an edge to casing a window using distinct pieces. And the flat bit below the stool (shelf), called the apron, may be shaped and sized as you like. The feces can be shallow or deep, depending on what you want to put there and you are overall design.

Veranda Estate Homes & Interiors

5. Door casing. Like window casing, door casing is traditionally set up as separate bits. But unlike any window casing, door casing, for obvious reasons, does not have any bottom stool or apron.

Although not entirely a specified, the door casing stems from the exact same family of trim profiles as the window casing. So where there’s a Craftsman-style window trim, you’d expect to observe a Craftsman-style door trim. Sometimes, especially in a design that is complex, changing scale while retaining the profiles exactly the exact same is a way of identifying door and window trim. By way of instance, a big and tall doorway may deserve a bigger and more robust trim than, say, a little specialty window.

Ben Herzog

You could realize you want to treat the sides and top of a cased opening exactly the same. That means you are going to take the identical profile that is used on the sides, or jambs, and run that around the opening. In this instance, a cased opening is created by using the exact same trim on the sides and on the cover of the door. In a window program, a”photo frame” effect is created by using the exact same profile around (top, bottom and sides).

MANDARINA STUDIO interior design

6. Picture rail. Continuing our journey up, closer to the top of the wall you’ll come across the picture rail. This trim piece originally served as a support to hang images on, as plaster walls were not the best and may be easily ruined by all those image hooks wrapped into the wall. Of course, with the arrival of inexpensive pictures hooks that is readily nailed into a wall to support pretty much any size image, the image rail has lost its utilitarian function. Now this bit of trim can be used mostly as a decorative element to split the wall into horizontal layers.

Bosworth Hoedemaker

7. Plate rail. Though not always near the top of a wall, the plate rail serves as a platform to exhibit an assortment of objects. The depth of the plate rail may vary from quite shallow, in many instances where a plate has been displayed, to very heavy when large objects must be displayed. A plate rail’s place on the wall (higher up for heavier railings ) will also determine its depth. By way of instance, bigger objects requiring a heftier rail will demand placing the plate rail higher on the wall therefore that it’s out of their way, even though a thin rail for displaying plates may also serve as a seat rail.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

Though plate rails and image rails have lost their working function, a cut line at the top of the window and below the ceiling is a powerful design tool. In addition to making a room more interesting and rich, this trim line may be used to set up that a”datum” from that other elements such as soffits could be organized out of, an approach used by architect Sarah Susanka and many different architects quite effectively.

dSPACE Studio Ltd, AIA

8. Crown molding. At the very top of the wall, where ceiling and wall come together, is the crown molding. Just like other trim items, the option of size and profile are almost unlimited.

What’s especially nice about crown molding is its ability to soften the transition between ceiling and wall, between vertical and horizontal plans. So instead of have that sudden sharp corner, crown molding allows the eye simplicity into moving from one to another. It’s a kinder, gentler and more elegant solution to your shift.

See related