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Breaking the Mold Without Breaking the Bank: Adding Interior Trim to Your Pennsylvania Home at a Price You Can Afford

The baseboard trim in this remodeled room is original to the home, and it set the tone for the rest of the decor.
Image Source: Helena Kvarnström

You may have seen homes with beautiful, interesting wall molding and thought, “Wow! That looks great, but I bet it costs a fortune!” And you’d be half-right–it does look great. But cost a fortune? Not even close. The fact is, in the world of interior trim, looking great doesn’t mean it comes with a high price tag. You’re not alone, though: many people never consider interior trim because it looks like it should be something they could never afford. And that’s a shame–interior trim can achieve a wider variety of effects than almost any other design tool, and at a cost that won’t put you in the poor house.

Baseboards

Out of all the types of trim, baseboards are the ones that many people consider essential. Most people choose a simple baseboard that is easily available at the lumber yard. We understand that—nothing wrong with affordability. But you’d be shocked at how cheap more decorative baseboard can really be. And baseboard isn’t just about protecting the walls from wayward toes—it can be a cost-effective way to set the tone for a whole room. Paint is important, and so is sheetrock and texture—but baseboard is where it all starts, and it’s important to get it right.

These baseboards appear simple at first, but if you look past the white you’ll see they have real character, which mirrors the hardwood floor’s patterns.
Image Source: Flickr user gemteck1

You can experiment room-to-room. While many people choose to tie an entire house together with the same baseboard style, a professional can help you pick out baseboards that match each room’s style. A professional will also make the transitions between baseboard styles in different rooms smooth instead of clunky. Because baseboard costs by the foot, you might find that changing styles doesn’t change the budget.

Crown Molding

Crown molding, a feature that dates back to ancient Greece, has also gotten smaller or disappeared completely from homes throughout the years. Adding crown molding to a room can be a great way of drawing the eye upwards, although it won’t work in every space.

This dramatic crown molding invites your eye upward and creates a sense of history, contrasting and complementing the room’s modern furniture.
Image Source: Flickr CC user minka6

Generally, ceiling height and room type are the most important factors to think about. Public areas with tall ceilings and lots of open space (like kitchens, living rooms, and entryways) will work well with the fancy crown molding. Smaller, private rooms (like bathrooms or bedrooms), on the other hand, can look crowded if fancy, complicated crown is added. If you go with crown in these rooms, you’ll need something smaller and simple.

Wall Molding

Wall moldings can really define a space, and give character to even the most boring, flat areas. Often, new homes or remodels are simply sheetrocked, textured, and painted. The thinking is simple—cheap and affordable for a “decent” result. But many homes benefit from a different, more creative approach that uses some historic techniques. And those techniques are really no more expensive than the standard options, nor do they take longer to apply! From wainscoting (wood paneling that lines the lower parts of a wall) to chair rail (a bar of molding across the middle of a wall) to shadow boxes or picture frame molding (which imitate the shape of picture frames), the possibilities are exciting and affordable. Almost nobody does wall molding these days, but it’s a great way to make your house unique while staying well in-budget.

Picture frame molding and chair railing give this dining room an elegant feeling.
Image Source: Helena Kvarnström

Proportions are everything when it comes to wall moldings, and they should be laid out in a way that adds harmony to a room instead of disrupting it. Again, it’s important to work with a professional when designing and installing these features. Nothing makes us unhappier than seeing a client dissatisfied  with the result of painstaking trim work that wasn’t done right. That goes double when considering other design features, from paint to artwork to furniture—especially if you plan to hang artwork within shadow boxes or picture frame molding. Getting it right the first time saves you time and money.

This is a beautiful example of a chair rail with shadow boxes.
Image Source: Flickr CC user Brian Moloney

Professional Results

Unfortunately, because it looks “expensive,” interior trim isn’t in high demand. That’s just too bad, especially in an area with as many historic homes as we have! But it’s true: few people do complicated baseboards, never mind the chair railing or shadow boxes. We love that kind of work, almost as much as we love showing our clients how affordable it can really be. And the results speak for themselves: whether decorating an older home or adding to a modern design, interior trim can create a wide variety of effects unique to your taste.

The first step to getting interior trim right, though, is finding the right professionals for the job. It’s important to have someone with interior design experience, carpentry expertise, and excellent painting skills. All of those disciplines will come together to get you the look you want. So whether it’s a remodel of an old house or the construction of a new one, get in touch with Nolan Painting. We’d love to hear what we can do for you.

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