Decorate Your Walls with Molding

A welcoming room begins with well-dressed walls. Consider these stylish statements you can make with millwork.

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Mirrored Wall

Plexiglass mirrored wall

Inspired by European-style mirrored walls, these plexiglass panels are a more practical and affordable option. The panels, which are painted and trimmed with picture molding, have a reflective quality but don't break. Two-inch stock lumber defines the grid.

Related: How to Install Wainscoting

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Beaded Board Backdrop

Beaded board wall

Add interest to a wall with beaded board. Cut 22 ⅝-inch squares from a sheet of beadboard on the diagonal. Also, cut 2-inch horizontal and vertical moldings to fit the wall. Apply the beaded board to the wall, carefully matching the beads along the edges and nailing every few inches. Nail molding strips around the perimeter of the wall and between the squares to cover the beaded board edges. When all the pieces are in place, paint the wall. Beginners should take note that this project requires a lot of measuring and cutting.

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Shim Screen

Screen with molding

Want to add pizzazz to your walls, but live in a rental? Improvise with a contemporary shim screen. Add hinges to bifold doors to create a folding screen. Prime and paint both sides of the shims; paint the doors a slightly contrasting color. Arrange shims in a decorative pattern and glue to the screen. For more decorative punch, staple the tops and bottoms with a staple gun.

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Kids' Art Gallery

Children's gallery

Show off your kids' favorite artwork by creating a mini gallery. Make a large wall frame using strips of molding. Paint the wall inside the frame a slightly darker hue to create a focal point. Arrange artwork inside the molding frame for a large, eye-catching display.

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Indoor Garden


For a wainscoting that blossoms with garden appeal, simply overlap square-edge, flat boards in a latticework pattern.

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Get a Custom Look

brown criss-cross molding overall

Standard boards used as millwork let you create a custom look personalized to your design style. Choose a simple pattern such as this for a relatively easy project with big impact.

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Mix & Match

wainscot and chalk board

For one-of-a-kind interest, pair triple-depth paneled wainscoting with walls painted with chalkboard paint for a charming bistro mood. A molding ledge along the bottom edge even holds chalk and an eraser.

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Eye-Catching Elegance


Applying narrow strips of molding to suggest panels is a popular treatment known as picture framing. Frame sizes may vary to emphasize small spaces above doors and windows and large expanses for artwork. The key to eye-pleasing design is to keep the spacing between frames uniform and the edges aligned.

Related: How to Install Wall Frame Molding

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Headboard Savvy

molding headboard

Although millwork often dresses entire rooms for architectural effect, it can make an equally stunning impact with a single strategic placement. Raised panels framed by molding create an impressive built-in headboard, for instance.

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Tufted Wall

Tufted wall with chair rail

Add interest and texture to your wall with molding and fabric. Add a chair rail at a preferred height. Place foam or batting between the baseboard and chair rail molding, then cover with decorative fabric. Use buttons to give the fabric a tufted look.

Related: Do It Yourself Upholstered Wall Project

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Classic Look

tall wainscot with shelf

Wainscoting is called such because it covers only part of the wall. High wainscoting extends roughly two-thirds up the wall and is often finished with plate rail molding that features a groove to secure pictures or plates on display.

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Chic Paneling

modern wood covered walls

Chunky boards applied horizontally around a room offer a creative, contemporary effect. Apply the same concept using beaded board for old-fashioned country charm.

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Instant Art

Molding in green dining room

Tall, flat-panel wainscoting is a cornerstone of the Arts and Crafts style.

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Make a Statement

white staircase

Popular in the formal living and dining rooms of traditional homes, raised panels make a dramatic statement when they continue up the staircase wall.

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Classic Entrance

entryway with build ins

Beaded board paneling is a favorite in classic cottage style. Commonly applied as wainscoting, it has a clean, crisp effect when hung floor to ceiling in mudrooms and recreational spaces.

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