Using Moldings to Add Character

This may just be a personal thing, but I love moldings.  I just LOVE the look of moldings- shout it from the highest mountain!  What about you?
When it comes to giving your home architectural interest, one of the easiest ways to do it is add moldings.  For those of us that live in a cookie cutter home, they often lack the character of trim and custom millwork.
So, if architectural detail and visual interest are what you crave, let me give you some ideas of how to get what you’ve been wanting!  Putting up crown molding or installing board and batten wainscoting, may sound intimidating.  But you can do it!
Let me give you a few ideas for how and where to use moldings…  Let’s count it out… 1,2,3,4,5!  You’re right this is another 5 step approach to using moldings in your house.  (if you haven’t seen my other posts go here for ideas on how to pick colors for your home, increase storage, and using inspiration photos)
1. Base Moldings!
Okay, well my guess is that you have base moldings in your home.  They act as a way to hide the seam between floor and wall, so they are sort of necessary.  That said, unless you chose them, live in an historic home, or have since replaced them, I am betting they dinky and small.
I hear you, I have been there in all 3 of my homes There are a few options for making your moldings look bigger without replacing them.  First you can remove them and add a “high heal.”  This is something we have been doing in our home.  We carefully remove the molding, and add a small piece of MDF below and then re-attach them.  This gives it a 3-5 inch base with the detail at the top that mimics the large versions you can buy at the store:
Here is our version (obviously before paint!)
We did this is the stairwell of our first house by adding a new molding over the stair skirt.  It really made the space amazing!
You can also add a small molding a few inches above your molding (the backward version of the crown update, see below!)
2. Crown
When it comes to crown, if you don’t have some… let me suggest it.  Crown can do so much to any room. And no, it will not make it feel shorter, it will bring your eye up and help create the illusion of height (if that is what you are lacking!) Crown is one of those things that can be used on furniture and cabinetry as well.  Adding crown to your kitchen will make a boring kitchen feel glamorous!
If you already have crown but it is too small, you can easily make it look bigger.  Just add a small molding a few inches below your crown.  Then you paint both moldings and the wall space between the same color.  We did this in our first master bedroom remodel in college!  (seen below)
3. Wainscoting/Wall treatments
This is one of my favorite things, and I guess it is all the rage, because I see it everywhere now!  But it is a great way to bring interest to a plain room and can be done on the cheap!  Adding a wainscoting is also a great way to visually give interest without having to have a lot of furniture and clutter.
If you want some instruction check out these posts for a picture molding wainscoting, and board and batten.
4. Updating Cabinet Doors
If you have plain old cabinet doors, I would suggest molding!  (big surprise right?!)  But this is a great way to update existing blah cabinets, without all your hard earned cash.  And the results can be incredible, check out this for example, and see the instructions here. Also, if you are wary of all the work it would take to do your whole kitchen, why not a small bathroom, a small job for a huge impact!
5. Frames
Use moldings to create a custom look anywhere.  On a mirror, in your bathroom, around some art you created, whatever you can think of.  You don’t have to nail this in place, just use some construction adhesive, see this tutorial for instructions!
Show and Tell – (now Sweet Pickins)
By adding these custom details.  Your space will have so  much more character!  And will be that much more you!  Also keep in mind that most if these updates if done right will increase the value of your home.  That is enough of an excuse for me!  Lets get working!
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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. Molding is the cream in the coffee. Coffee is fine but cream makes it better and that’s molding! It takes a pretty room and makes it extraordinary! You have great examples here too!