The secret to creating a dramatic effect in a room without overpowering it is to play nicely with the trim. How much molding is actually too much? When to know where to stop and how to use trim to bring the desired effects in a room? These are tricky questions for the simple fact that there is no fixed answer. Each room has a different structure and as such it must be approached in a different way. Then, there is the matter of ceiling height but also personal style. And don’t forget that when you blend modern wainscoting designs with other trims, the recipe only works when there is harmony in terms of proportion and scale.

Why wainscoting, baseboard, and crown molding is the ideal trim trio

No matter which trims and wainscoting design ideas you use, one thing is certain. They all belong to the same family. They are all decorative elements but also serve practical purposes. The base conceals the gap created between the floor and wall and protects the area from vacuum cleaners and shoes. The wood wall panel provides extra insulation and protects the wall from damage.

It also provides soundproofing and helps you succeed in small architectural tricks. At the upper cornice stands the crown moulding which softens the transition from the wall to the ceiling. AlexMoulding offered so many wainscoting patterns that can be used for any home renovation.

How to use wainscoting panels and other moldings for better results

The trick to creating a dramatic effect in the room is to use the trim trio of wainscoting panels, ceiling molding, and base properly. And this has to do with their style and size. One little secret is to keep them all in the same style – at least in every room.

Installing a very classic wainscoting design along with a very modern ceiling molding might ruin your plans. The result might not be very friendly to the eye. When you use the same style, you soften up the place and allow an easy transition from the floor to the wall and from there to the ceiling.

How much trim is too much trim?

Don’t forget that apart from wainscoting ideas and the rest of the moldings mentioned above, there are more trim choices. Door casing, window casing, picture rails, and plate rails – you name it. And here is where it requires attention. If you overdo it with trims, you overpower the space and thus you have the opposite results from what you expected.

But then again what determines when trim is too much?

It has to do with the room size and height. Before trim and wainscoting installation, it’s important to take the principle of scale and proportion into consideration. Although this is not always easy to do, the idea is to keep trims in human scale (measurements) and in a balanced proportion in regard to each other.

There are many types of crown molding not only in terms of profile, design, and style but also in regard to size. You have probably noticed that more often than not, rooms lack ceiling moldings. This is often necessary when the ceiling is low and/or there is too much trim all around (door openings, windows etc.). In such cases, what you can do is add a slim and simple crown molding, which will cover the wall-ceiling gap and soften the transition without overpowering the room.

On the other hand, if the ceiling is high, it’s best to bring the shaker up and choose thicker baseboards and ceiling moldings to ‘fill’ up the room. To keep it to scale, think of the height – always. A standard 8-foot high ceiling won’t need trims over 6 inches tall. But if the ceiling is 9-foot high, you can get 8 inches crown molding and base.

How to keep balance in the room

The right proportion will make the room dramatic and attractive. And this relates to how trims relate to each other. Matching the right size of crown molding and base is key to keeping balance. If there are more trims in the room, remember that the door and window casing must be thicker than the base and crown molding.

If you install a bead board, the vertical planks shouldn’t be thicker than the stiles. The chair rail shouldn’t be thicker than the base.

It depends on what visual effect you want to give. A plain beadboard wainscoting free of extra trims might give a clean cut look but won’t create a dramatic effect. It takes a combination of trims to achieve that. And then again, it takes attention not to overdo it. So the key to your success is finding the right pair in terms of style and size by always taking into account the room size and ceiling height.


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Ramon Lopez