When meeting new clients I am constantly met with the phrase “I want to make my house more ‘homey’ I just don’t know how to do it”.
For me a house or apartment just isn’t a home if it is a cold square box with no textures, shapes or character. (This is especially true for the new, ultra contemporary condos). In my opinion the best way to add these traits to your space is to improve the structure and bones of the space. An easy way to do this is to put up moulding. Crowns, Baseboards, Wainscot etc. Not only will it add texture, shape and character but it will also improve the finished look of your space.
I have also had clients tell me they tried to put up mouldings, but they didn’t know what size, or what was too much or too little.
It really is very simple but if you don’t have the confidence in what looks right then it can be quite daunting. To make it easier I will provide you with some guidelines to get you started.
Baseboards: Follow the rule of seven. For ex: if you have 8 ft ceilings then your
baseboards can be up to or around 7% of 8ft. 7% of 8ft is approx. a 7” baseboard.
If your space is very contemporary then go for a lower baseboard (4”-5”)
Window & Door Casing: General rule of thumb is your casings should be approx. 50% of your baseboard height.
Chair Rail: Chair rails and or wainscoting should be 1/3 the height of your ceiling.
Or you could just go by what chair rails were originally designed for. They were to protect the walls from chairs! So for example: in a dining room, if your chair is pushed up against the wall, mark off where your chair comes into contact with the wall. This is where your chair rail should be.
Crown: The main fear with crown moulding is if your crown is too wide it will make the room look smaller. I personally LOVE big crown mouldings. To me it gives a space an amazing luxurious feel to it. But for those of you who aren’t too sure here are some guidelines.
Up to 8 feet: 3” – 5 1/4”
From 9 feet to 10 feet: 5 1/4” – 7”
From 10 feet and higher: 7”+
As a designer the best part of designing moulding for a space is getting creative with it.
After choosing a crown or baseboard many think that that’s it, time to put it up. But there is so much more you can do with it to make it more interesting! There are tons of smaller trims that can complement and enhance larger mouldings. You can make crowns and baseboards more luxurious and you can also make it look like you have huge crown mouldings or baseboards just with a few deception tricks!
Tricks like the ones below are a much cheaper way to get a more luxurious look.
The addition of the 1.5″ trim completely transforms this crown. It adds even more depth and luxury.
For those of you who want mouldings but don’t have the extra money for it, then these two tricks are for you!
Simply adhere the decorative elements (for example a wainscot) directly to the wall. Paint over the small trims and the wall below the chair rail and presto! You have a gorgeous wainscot for a fraction of the cost.
For this trick all you have to do is add a small 1.5″-2.5″ trim about 2″-3″ above your baseboard. Then paint the gap in between the two the colour of the trim! You automatically have the look of a large, luxurious baseboard for the cost of paint!
I hope this has quelled your fears and inspired you to have some fun with mouldings! I promise you will instantly feel more cozy and at home once they’re up.