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Ultimate Guide to the Types of Mouldings

Finding a balance with interior design can be tricky, particularly when it comes to the finishing touches. Although you may have a natural flair or an eye for colors, schemes and patterns, the wide range of options for your home’s design may be overwhelming. Besides choosing to invest in some antique hardware like a light fixture for your home, you can also enhance your aesthetic by incorporating moldings into your finishes. 

Whether you prefer minimalist style designs or you’re a fan of complex interiors and accessories, custom moldings add style, substance, and character to all rooms. They remove the rawness and ruggedness often present in new, renovated, or unfurnished sections of a building. There are different types of mouldings, making them ideal for almost any space. 

Mouldings are fitted in several different areas, including where the ceiling meets the wall, where the floor meets the wall, and around the frame of a door. However, it can be challenging to find the best type to suit your home’s interior style. It’s beneficial to learn about the different types before deciding what to install in your home. 

What Are Mouldings?

Mouldings are sections of trim made from various materials used to add detail to an architectural structure. When they were first created, mouldings had practical uses. They were used as a protective layer to cover the sections where separate surfaces met or joined, for example, where the ceiling and wall meet. Mouldings have always been designed to look stylish as they were initially developed to protect expensive walls in the homes of wealthy people. 

These days, although they still offer some structural protection, mouldings are mainly used for decorative effect, adding to a room’s aesthetic. Mouldings come in several shapes and sizes. You can also paint some types of moulding to create a contrast between the trim and the wall color for a dramatic interior style statement. 

When dealing with builders and contractors, the terms “moulding,” “trim” and “casing” are often used interchangeably. Although casing refers to a specific form of moulding (for windows and doors), the word is sometimes misused to describe general moulding. 

carpenter using nail gun

Where Can Mouldings Be Installed?

Trim moulding can be installed in virtually any room within your home. It’s quite common for crown moulding and baseboards to be installed in all rooms, including hallways. This adds consistency to the interior design and gives the home a balanced design flow. However, some homeowners prefer to incorporate various types of mouldings in different rooms. For example, wainscoting or board and batten may be installed to give a dining room a more formal aesthetic. 

Some decorative mouldings are used for specific purposes, such as picture rails or window trimming. The most common places for moulding installation are: 

  • Walls
  • Ceilings
  • Where a wall and the ceiling meet
  • Where the wall and the floor meet
  • Around door frames
  • Around windows

Moulding can be installed DIY style as long as you have the necessary skill, knowledge, equipment, and materials. However, if your DIY abilities are limited, hiring a professional for a cleaner finish may be more practical. Moulding can be incorporated into an existing room as well as a new or renovated space. 

Types of Mouldings

Before deciding on what type of moulding is suitable for your home, you need to decide on your style needs. Each type serves a different purpose, so you should be careful regarding which ones you choose. Consider the placement of each moulding and the overall design of the space. Ask your supplier for samples to take home and compare against the wall and windows to give you a better idea of how the finished project will look. Remember that different types of mouldings vary in price. Measure your space and determine how much you need. This makes budgeting much easier. 

Here is our ultimate guide to the different types of mouldings available for your home: 

Crown mouldings


Crown moulding is one of the most common types of moulding used in home design. The design of the moulding gives a crown effect to your space. A crown trim is installed where a wall meets the ceiling. Crown moulding comes in different styles, with some intricate and elaborate designs available. 

The type of crown moulding you choose is entirely up to your stylistic preferences. However, it is generally recommended to adjust the moulding size depending on the dimensions of the room. The larger the space, the wider the crown moulding should be. 

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Casing moulding has practical and decorative uses. It is used to cover any gaps that may appear between walls and a door or window frame. Casing moulding is particularly useful for concealing unfinished gaps in drywall. Although different sizes are available for large openings or “grand” entrances, casing mouldings are usually around 2” to 3” wide. 

Casings are often referred to as architraves. As with other types of mouldings, they are available in a variety of styles and designs. Modern homes tend to use subtle, clean designs, while Victorian-style homes are more likely to have intricate patterns. 

Chair Rail

Chair rails are another example of dual functioning mouldings. The primary role is to protect the walls from being scratched or damaged by furniture. They are commonly found in dining rooms and kitchens, where people are likely to slide chairs or tables into the walls. 

Decoratively, chair rails create a divide between the upper and lower sections of walls. This allows people to have more creative freedom with wall colors, shades, and designs. A combination of colors can give a room added character and charm. It’s also popular to combine paint with wallpaper on either side of the chair rail. 

Chair rails are usually positioned between 32” and 36” above the floor, approximately one-third of a standard wall height. 

Baseboard mouldings


Baseboards are a type of moulding trim designed to be fitted where the floor meets the wall. They are some of the most common mouldings found in homes as they give the room a polished look. Baseboard mouldings are generally simple in design but can be customized by painting them or placing additional moulding over them. 

Baseboards are usually made from decorative wood. For a standard size home, these mouldings are generally between 3” and 5” high. 

Picture Rails 

Picture rails are similar to chair rails in that they’re located on the wall. However, they’re installed higher up, at approximately 7’ to 9’ from the floor. Picture rails are designed for mounting paintings or picture frames without drilling or hammering into the wall. Picture rails are often combined with other types of railings.



Wainscoting is an elaborate type of decorative moulding. It consists of around 3’ to 4’ wood paneling on the lower part of a wall. This style dates back to the 1300s where it was used in Dutch homes to protect the walls from furniture, horse riding boots or other hazards that could mark or damage the wall. Although wainscoting isn’t very common, it can add uniqueness to a room. 

It is one of the more versatile trim moulding types, with plenty of styles available. It is highly customizable and can be adapted to a range of patterns. 

Board and Batten 

Board and batten is a type of moulding that accompanies wall paneling. When wall paneling is installed, there are often spaces or gaps between panels. Board and batten is installed to bridge the gaps between adjacent panels. The boards are installed along the edge of the panels, while the batten refers to a small piece of trim covering the outskirts of the paneling.

Cove mouldings


Cove or coving is similar to crown mouldings as it is installed where the walls and ceilings join. It is also fitted on steps and stairs where the risers meet the treads. Cove moulding is distinguished by its unique shape. It is plain in design and is concave shaped. Despite its simplistic look, coving is a popular moulding in homes. 


Dentil moulding is a very ornamental style of trim. Its style has roots in classical and neoclassical structural design. The design comprises small, evenly separated blocks in a set pattern. It is essentially a detailed form of crown moulding. 

Unlike several other types of moulding, dentil trim has minimal architectural function. While it looks impressive, it doesn’t offer much support or structural protection.

Egg and Dart 

Egg and dart designs originated in ancient Greece. They offer a unique look frequently used on crown moulding and other trim forms, such as chair rails. The style gets its name from the distinctive patterns used. It consists of repeated oval shapes, similar to that of an egg. Inside the egg shape, there are several non-curved patterns, which can be interpreted as darts.

While egg and dart designs are very popular for mouldings, they are also found frequently on trimmings of external architecture and outdoor structures. 

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Bead and Pearl 

Bead and pearl mouldings are similar designs found in many home fixtures, including trimming and stair railings. They consist of rows with symmetrical spherical designs. The level of detail on such mouldings can vary. It’s common for the beads to take the form of objects such as leaves, spindles, or darts. Bead and pearl designs are frequently found on crown moulding or chair rails. 


Corbels mouldings are designed to offer support to the joints between walls and ceilings. They can also be found on countertops, kitchen islands, doorways, or shelving where they sit between the vertical surface and the flat horizontal surface. They are available in several different materials, including wood, plaster and metal. 



A rosette is a fixture that forms part of a molding. It is a round, intricate design, often resembling a floral pattern. It’s usually found on crown moulding or to add flair to a door frame or window trimming. 

Moulding Materials

Moulding is manufactured from a variety of different materials. Depending on the structural requirements and the design of a space, you may choose from materials such as foam, rubber, plaster and polyurethane. Wood is one of the most popular materials for moulding due to the textural warmth it provides a space and its rugged durability. Your budget will most likely influence the moulding material you use. 

Primed medium density fiberboard (MDF) is a popular choice that doesn’t break the bank. It’s durable, easy to install, and can be painted to give you the exact look you desire. Polyurethane is an excellent wood substitute as it is pre-primed and doesn’t warp, crack (easily), or rot. It is high density and lightweight, making it easy to install. PVC is another wood substitute that offers durability

Natural wood is often the preferred moulding material if your budget isn’t an obstacle. It gives your room a natural and classy look that’s difficult to replicate with substitute materials. 

Pine is one of the most budget-friendly natural wood options. One of the major advantages of pine is that it can be painted. Whether you’re after a rustic or classy look, pine can also be clear coated or stained. You can also purchase it pre-primed. Oak is a more expensive option, but it gives a classic and traditional look, and many oak varieties offer unique grain patterns. 

When considering wood mouldings, it’s essential to match the material with any existing wood in the room. 

man cleans crown moulding

Tips for Installing Mouldings

Installing mouldings can make or break a room. It’s vital that trimming is fitted professionally. If you lack the experience and skill necessary, don’t compromise by doing a mediocre job. Hire a professional to make sure it is expertly installed. 

Precision is critical for any custom home installation. Take exact measurements, and don’t forget to include door or window openings and obstacles. Always purchase around 15% to 20 percent more molding material than you need in case you cut the wrong length or some of the moulding sustains damage.

Find All You Need for Home Renovations

Variety is crucial when choosing suitable materials for home improvement tasks. At Van Dyke's Restorers, we stock a wide range of quality materials, ensuring you find the exact type of moulding you want and need. From plain crown moulding to intricately designed corbels, we’ve got an extensive selection for you to choose from.

With 30 years of experience behind us, we can offer advice and guidance on all types of construction projects. Visit our online store today and browse our selection of mouldings and accessories. Contact us if you have any questions about any of our products.  


Image Credits: 
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