The Ultimate Guide to Molding

Find ideas for adding texture and style to walls, furniture, and accents with molding.

A Piece of Molding

Are your rooms lacking pizzazz but you have little money for updates? Let affordable off-the-rack moldings come to the rescue. We give several surfaces -- from furniture to flat walls -- a boost with moldings from a home center.

Why We Love Stock Molding

1. Great for adding instant character.

2. Completely adaptable: You can use it on walls, furniture, frames, and more.

3. A great budget option: Molding can cost as little as $1 for an 8-foot strip.

4. Beginner-friendly: All you need is an $8 miter box, a tape measure, glue, and nails. Make some practice cuts first to become proficient at miter cuts.

5. Easily accessible: Molding is easy to find at home centers and lumberyards.

Plywood Cube with Molding

Add detail where there was none. This plywood cube turns on the style with casing molding and decorative rosettes. Start with an existing furniture piece and get creative with stock moldings for dimension and decorative interest. We whitewashed this piece for a beachy effect.

Plexiglass Panels

Inspired by a European-style wall of mirrors, create a more practical, affordable option: framed plexiglass. The plexiglass, which was painted and trimmed with picture molding, has a reflective quality but doesn't break. Two-inch stock lumber defines the grid.

Shim Screen

Try to see the potential in mundane materials. Use shims to build a design on a folding screen made from bifold doors. You can attach the shims with staples and a staple gun. While functional, the staples also add decorative punch.

Embellished Armoire

A trash-ready farmhouse cabinet became a fabulous detail-rich armoire with an application of molding. Though it was in shabby shape, this tall cabinet had strong lines and good proportion. We used a steel brush to remove the flaky paint, then sanded and primed the piece before adding moldings and completing the final paint job. If you're up to the challenge, add crown molding.

Beaded-Board Wall

To work all the angles with a sheet of beaded board, cut squares on the diagonal, matching the beads along the edges. This project takes lots of measuring and cuts. If you're a beginner, keep the beaded board running straight, varying horizontal and vertical lines.

Modling Picture Frames

If you don't have something to display on the wall, put the wall on display. Frames made from molding highlight sections of artful wallpaper. A variety of molding types and colors makes an interesting display.

Molding Picture Frames

Select a variety of designs of picture frame molding and several colors of wood stain. Choose sections of wallpaper to highlight, then miter-cut the molding to size, and glue and nail the frames together. Thin strips of molding set within larger frames suggest the look of picture mats.

X-Motif Wainscoting

Moldings can be both pretty and practical. In this entryway, the focal point is a barn door-inspired chair rail made of high-density polyurethane molding. For pleasing proportions, plan a chair rail that's about one-third the way up your wall, or 33-36 inches tall. Balance the X-motif wainscoting with a row of hooks above.

X-Motif Wainscoting

Ribbed molding adds interest, but it can be challenging to cut and position the strips so the ribs line up. For an easier project, use flat molding. Lighter than wood trim, high-density polyurethane molding attaches with glue and/or nails and is flexible enough to bend along uneven walls.

Circle/Grid Wainscoting

A geometric grid softened by gentle curves is suited to both traditional and contemporary homes. Map out a design using quartered ceiling trim rings within a grid of wood stock. To achieve the best look, the pattern should be consistent, so plan to place partial sections in the most unobtrusive corner of your room. Top off the design with a plate rail to display artwork and dishes. To balance the lower portion of the wall, add a double layer of crown molding.

Circle/Grid Wainscoting

This grid is formed with 3-inch-thick lumber stock so it fits flush with the curved portions. Maneuvering a paintbrush around the crannies of a molding treatment is a real chore. Instead, paint the wall first, then paint the molding before cutting and attaching it.

Simple Moldings

Put a little life back into your walls. Add mitered picture frame molding and a chair rail in addition to baseboard molding, as shown here. The simple moldings mimic the look of rich paneling.

Crowning Glory

Simple wood cornices embellished with molding draw attention to a pair of windows. Large-scale floral-print curtain panels give this room an English garden theme.

Crowning Glory

This wall cornice hangs above the bed at about the same height as the window cornices to keep the look consistent. To make, use 1x12-inch pine board cut to 66 inches wide for the front. The molding and finish should be the same as the window cornices.

For angled walls, use a paper template to determine the shape of the side returns and a protractor to figure the angle of the wall.

First, hang the fabric on a thin drapery rod with a center support mounted to the wall. The cornice is wider than the rod and mounts to the wall with three L brackets to cover the rod. Make sure the drapery looks good inside the cornice -- it is visible from the bed.

Dried Treasures in Molding Frames

For a display that you can alter each season, make six similar-size frames. Paint three light green and three black. Hang the frames in a grid pattern as shown. Then display your favorite natural finds. Dangle a group of dried leaves or a single branch from a small nail within each frame space.

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