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Complete Guide to Moldings

Complete Guide to Moldings

Decorating & Remodel, DIY & Crafts, My Home

I absolutely love moldings. Now, when most people look at a room and want to do something different, they might think of changing the paint color or adding wallpaper. In most cases, that is probably the norm to think cheap paint = easy fix! That is not the only option, my friends! And I’m here to tell you otherwise, obviously. Expand that decorating expertise, leave that paint and wallpaper alone and take a risk by adding in some moldings. Not only are they are a great way you can add some personality to a boring space, but they can really change the character and decor style of your home. Let’s just say, I’m a fan and you should be too!

Different kinds of molding

Moldings: Info for the Beginner

Now, for the basics and some tidbits that you possibly didn’t know. Moldings can consist of the base, casing, header, chair rail and crown molding. (Side note: for all of you out there with more of a cookie cutter home – this is a great way to change up those builder grade materials and add some of your own style.)

Base – This goes along the floor.  If you are putting it up before carpet you need to install it 1/2″ off the ground so carpet can be installed under it.  If you are installing it over hard wood or tile, you would tile/wood first and then put up your base.

Casing – This is what will go around your doors and windows.  In our home, our base and casing are the same thickness.  When you are casing in your doors you can leave a 1/4″ reveal.

Door casing molding

Header – This sits on top of casing.  We always leave a 1/2″ hang over on each end.

Chair Rail – This goes horizontally around a room.  Chair rail is usually installed between 32″-36″ off of the floor, but it can vary depending on personal taste and style.  If you have 8 ft ceilings you would install your chair at 32″ off the floor.

Moldings all around the home

Crown Molding- This is what goes around the ceiling.  Installing crown molding is a little tricky and does take some getting used to.  My husband always says you have to think like a woman… upside down and backwards. However, I can’t figure out how to cut crown and he can… so maybe you really have to think like a man.  Crown molding makes for a nice, smooth transition from your wall to ceiling. They can also make painting much easier.

Types of Moldings

I have had MDF and wood moldings in 2 different homes and there are some pros and cons to both.

  • MDF moldings- They are cheaper and they come primed for you making them much easier to paint. I have found with MDF when it gets dinged it will usually just leave a dent.  However they can expand if they get wet.
  • Wood Moldings- They are more expensive and they take a little more time to paint.  If you are going to paint your moldings I would recommend MDF.  When my wood moldings would get dinged a lot of the time it split the wood.  However, they do hold up to moisture better.


Don’t be afraid to create some contrasting style by adding moldings to your own home. Although it can be an expense, the look and atmosphere of your own home is most important. Love your home and love your style.






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