Boring Base Molding

Adding base molding to your room is a basic necessity for any space. With that being said there are a million ways you can do base molding from ultra simple to ultra elaborate and everything in-between. Today, I will hopefully convince you to not go with the small, boring, generic molding. I know there can be a huge range in price withing the world of base molding but I’ll show you that you don’t have to spend a million dollars to have great base molding.

Pay attention to scale:

Once I started paying closer attention to the base molding people have in their homes, it started to drive me crazy to see that itty bitty 2 inch molding, especially in a room with taller that 8 foot ceilings. Our first house had all the of the most basic and cheap builders-grade finishes and I think the worst offender was the base molding. We had 11 or 12 foot ceilings and had 2.5 inch base molding. Back then, I never gave it much thought but now thinking back it looked so out of proportion to the rest of the space. Because of the size of the room and the height of the ceilings, the house could have used 8-10 inch moldings.

Scale can go the other way too. If you have standard 8 foot ceilings, like most houses do, don’t add 10 inch base molding that visually takes up a lot of wall space. It will breakup the space of your already short walls and make them look shorter. This is ultra important when you’re also planning to add crown molding which can give the illusion of even shorter ceilings.

Unfortunately, I don’t have one specific answer to how tall the base molding should be in a room with 8, 9, or 10 foot ceilings. In the end it’s all about personal preference. If you like a dramatic molding go for the taller one, if you want it to blend into background don’t pick the ultra ornate Victorian style molding that is 18 inches tall.

Keep Style In Mind (but push the boundaries a little):

When choosing a base molding style it’s important to keep in mind the style of your house and the decor style you’re going for. If you live in a modern-sleek downtown penthouse and the your interior is white and modern with clean lines, you’re typically not going to go with that ultra elaborate molding with a crazy profile with lots of scrolls, the two styles are not congruent and typically won’t offer “the look” you’re going for. And of course, this advice goes the other way too. If you’ve got a 200 year old Victorian home, don’t add plain square molding because the style isn’t going to flow.

However, there is a huge caveat with this one. I personally love the the juxtaposition of two very different style being forced together. I have always loved the idea of having an old Victorian house with big ornate molding but then adding ultra modern furnishings and paint colors to set off the features of the home. This goes back to knowing what look you’re going for. Typically if you’re going for a cohesive look that fits with one style, then stick with a base molding that easily fits within that style. If you want to push the boundaries, do it with purpose to make it look cohesive rather than crazy.

Get Creative and Take Inspiration from Everywhere:

I think base molding is a piece of every room that is easily overlooked. Typically it’s not something that is offensive enough to run out and change right away or when it is going to be changed, it’s easy to go to the hardware store and pick something off the shelf. Thanks to Pinterest, I have seen a lot of articles about how to dress up molding or add to it for little cost, and I say DO IT! A little piece of quarter round can be so inexpensive but make the world of difference when it comes to the finished look of your base molding.

The photo that I used for inspiration for the base molding in my current house is a picture of a fireplace. I loved the feeling of the photo and knew I wanted to recreate that  look for my molding.


Photo Credit

This is the most simple photo but something about the clean lines and depth really caught my eye. I knew I wanted to replicate the feeling of this molding but I was sure how to make it all work.

Take a look at what I did:

I think I spent hours walking the aisles of Home Depot and Lowe’s, looking for anything I could use to recreate the feeling of the photo. One thing that was important to me was the clean straight lines. If you’ve ever shopped for molding before you know that a lot of standard molding comes with rounded edges which wasn’t going to give me the look I was going for. I kept pulling different pieces and staging them together to see if they would offer the look I’m going for but nothing was working.

Finally, in the very back corner of Home Depot, I found two pieces of trim boards with square edges. But there were only two boards, 1×2 and 1×3.5 inches. I pulled out a bunch of pieces and started to lay them out on the floor. I’m sure everyone was looking at me like I was crazy but I had a specific look in my mind and I was going to get it.

I laid the 2 inch piece flat on the floor and stood the 3.5 inch piece on the back edge. I had finally found what I was looking for! Now to get it home and figure out how to put all the pieces together.

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