8 Molding Ideas to Add Character to Your Home

It’s amazing what you can do with a little molding and some imagination. Roll up your sleeves and get ready for a fun DIY project that will add interest and personality to your home.

You can choose from many styles of molding to complement your home’s décor or create your own original design. At Emerge2, we believe that DIY molding gives your home a finished look without a lot of cost or effort. If you’re handy and feeling creative, it’s a satisfying DIY project that lets you practice your basic woodworking skills.

Take a visit to your local lumber supply center for some inspiration. You’ll find molding profiles that can be used alone or combined to create your own unique design.

The sky’s the limit with molding, but it’s usually used to decorate:

  • Walls and ceilings
  • Baseboards
  • Doors and windows
  • Chair rail
  • Picture rail
  • Panel molding
  • Wainscotting

Watch video tutorials for each project for specific instructions, along with tools and supplies required, but here are some items you’ll need:

  • Compound miter saw
  • Coping saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Cordless finish nailer
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Caulking gun
  • Caulk
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Molding
  • Constructive adhesive
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Wood putty
  • Paint or stain
  • Nails
  • Dust mask
  • Drop cloth

Bring home a sample molding first

When purchasing molding from the store, ask for a sample to take home. Check it out in your room to make sure it’s the look you want. You don’t want to purchase the entire amount you need until you know it will suit your room’s design and décor.

Let molding acclimatize

To prepare the molding for installation, allow it to get used to your room’s temperature and humidity levels.

Molding tips

  • Cut a little more molding than you’ll need to make sure you have enough.
  • Paint or stain your molding before you install it!
  • Some molding comes prepainted or primed. You can choose the paint color or stain that best complements your home’s design and color scheme.
  • Molding in high traffic areas will benefit from durable trim paint in a semi-gloss finish that resists scratches.
  • Warm and natural wood stains look beautiful on molding in contemporary homes as well as in traditional homes.

Crown molding styles

Molding can be very ornate and elegant as in Victorian styles, or it can have simpler lines. Whichever style you decide to use, make sure it is in scale with your home’s ceiling height and room size, and suits your home’s design. Generally, rooms with higher ceilings will look better with wider molding.

Familiarize yourself with the architectural style of your home to narrow down the type of molding you want. A few molding styles are Georgian, Colonial Revival, Traditional Revival, Greek Revival, Early American, Craftsman, and Federal.

Photo: Artsy Chicks Rule

Photo: Artsy Chicks Rule

Traditional crown molding

In a busy renovation, molding can sometimes be left until the end, but it’s never too late! See how this couple refined their home’s rooms by repurposing molding no longer needed in their dining room. The results transformed their hallway! See the project on Artsy Chicks Rule.

Supplies needed for this project:

  • 4-inch crown molding
  • Door casing
  • Reused old crown
  • Paint in eggshell finish
  • 15-gauge finish nailer
  • Brad nailer
  • Wood filler
  • Caulk

2. New molding and door trim made to match the original

This homeowner wanted to open up a doorway to the living room that had been closed off in a previous renovation. Sometimes you get lucky and find old trim and molding in the attic. Alas, this was not the case. A talented carpenter, however, did his best to replicate the original molding in the living room. Can you tell which one is the original?

3. Calm and peaceful “Federal” molding

Molding doesn’t need to be ornate to add charm to your home. This subtle and simple crown molding, known as Federal style, transformed a plain living room into a room with a peaceful personality.

4. Crown molding on doors and windows

Molding wrapped around your room where the walls and ceiling meet adds warmth and a finished feeling to your home. Continue this architectural detail with crown molding above your French doors and windows. Complete the picture by attaching a curtain rod and rings in the same color.

5. Chair rail molding

Originally designed to protect walls from being damaged by chairs, chair rails are now more decorative and are sometimes installed on wainscotting.
Look at various crown molding styles in a variety of materials from wood to PVC for some inspiration. Ideally, chair rails need to be placed 32” to 35” high from the floor, adjusting for window positioning and ceiling heights.

No wall is perfectly even and as a result, chair rails tend to expose any faults in the wall. Walls shift over time and a chair rail, though attractive, can reveal these gaps. This means you will need to add shims and even grout to even out the wall and make it look attractive.

TIP: To join two pieces of molding, make a 45-degree angle cut. This way the pieces will join seamlessly together.

6. Picture rail molding

Picture rail molding, found in older homes, was used as a way to safely hang pictures without having to make a hole in plaster, which can easily crack and crumble.

Now picture rails are an attractive way to decorate new homes, and let you switch up your artwork without having to make new holes. You can use different hook sizes to adapt for different picture sizes.

A picture rail is usually quite narrow at about 2” wide. You install it near the top of a wall, from an inch to 2 feet below the ceiling. You’ll need to install it securely into the studs in new homes.

7. Plate rail molding in bedroom and kitchen

Wider than picture rails, plate rails are an attractive and secure way to display your collectibles in any room. In the bedroom, it can be installed above the bed as a focal point. You can choose any type of molding you like.

Show off your beautiful plates on a plate rail you make yourself with a flat board or molding. You can use this simple design to add a plate rail above any doorway in your home. Add molding to the wall below the ceiling to complete your room.

8. A simple DIY art gallery made with molding

Choose one wall in your home to create a mini art gallery with themed artwork or photographs. Create smaller frames with molding to fasten to your wall. Paint an accent color on the wall inside each frame to make the artwork stand out. Hang whimsical drawings by your children, photographs from a recent vacation or your own artwork. Frame the entire group of pictures with long pieces of molding.

If you have any questions or need more information, feel free to visit Emerge2 for assistance. We would be happy to help you in any way we can.