Decisive Living

Mouldings Make Decorating Magic

(ARA) - Homeowners looking for a fast, easy way to improve a room should consider adding mouldings. It’s more dramatic than just painting and most projects can be completed in as little as a weekend. “I often tell my clients - especially first time homeowners - that nothing makes a better first impression that fresh paint and new moulding,” says realtor and interior designer Gretchen Paulsen, who’s been advising clients in the Pacific Northwest for more than 30 years. “You’re adding the ‘bones,’ the ‘wow,’ the ‘charm’ that people crave in a home.”

Any room can benefit. Add elegance to a living room, historic box beams to a dining room, create a cozy study, a Zen-like retreat, or give a fast face lift to a bathroom - all with mouldings.

The first step is to determine the style you prefer. There are lots of places for inspiration: from the library or magazines to informative Web sites such as LP Mouldings - which has a fun selector for honing your look.

Traditional style is popular, especially for living and dining rooms. Choose darker woods and deep, rich paint colors. Consider stacking various profiles for an opulent look. Use combinations of chair rail and picture rail mouldings to create an Old World look.

The Shinto, or Asian style, is achieved with simple, long lines. Start from the floor up using natural woods and contrasting paint colors. Keep the décor minimal. A teak or bamboo side chair and a lovely plant may be all that’s needed.

Casual contemporary style is characterized by clean lines, lighter woods or white trim. This style works especially well in bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens.

For ease of installation and fewer headaches, measure twice, cut once and consider pre-finished products. “Prefinished means you won’t have to waste time sanding, painting or staining and you won’t have to search endlessly for the best pieces,” says Jessie Peterson of LP Mouldings. LP’s lightweight, moisture-resistant, pre-finished moulding line is perfect for damp areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens, and simply wipes clean with a cloth.

If you covet wood moulding but suffer sticker shock, consider wood veneer moulding for the same look at a fraction of the cost. LP also offers cherry, oak or maple veneers over a finger-jointed pine core, which keeps the cost down considerably.

If you chose a moulding style that needs to be stained or painted, Peterson suggests doing so before attaching it to the wall. It’s easy to touch up the painted moulding once it is installed.

Hanging moulding is simple, especially if you use special, pre-finished accessory pieces, such as inside and outside corner blocks for ceilings and bases that eliminate the need to miter-cut. Just begin from any corner in the room and nail in place. Drive nails to within 1/4 inch of the surface of the moulding to prevent scarring and, with an appropriate sized nail set, drive nails below the surface of the moulding. Joints and splices may be filled with caulk. On crown mouldings, it’s helpful to add a bead of caulk along the ceiling edge to hide imperfections.

No matter what your style, don’t forget finishing touches.

Crown mouldings add height and drama, providing a decorative transition between the wall and the ceiling that can add grandeur to any room. If your ceiling height is lower, don’t be afraid to use crown moulding; just choose a narrower profile.

Don’t forget the ceiling, says Paulsen, who suggests treating ceilings as the fifth wall. “Complete the room with medallions under light fixtures or create the look of box beams with trim and moulding to decorate the ceiling as you would a wall.”

Finally, don’t feel that every room in your home has to match. Historically, kitchens were white - to give the impression of cleanliness - while other areas were decorated to suit the use of the room.

Courtesy of ARA Content