Building Tips

How to Choose the Right Interior Moldings for Your Home

Room Sources: Mirror | Rug | Basket

As we’ve built and remodeled several homes, we have learned that trim and moldings play such a big role in completing the look of an interior.

This is a very exciting part of building a house because at this point your vision is starting to come to life by seeing a more completed look. This phase can also be very overwhelming. There are so many choices and options for trimming the interior of a home. Here are a few things to consider when choosing the right molding for you home. Hopefully this will help make this process a little easier.

Where to Use Moldings

Moldings and trim can be used in various places throughout your home. The most common places would be floors, doors, windows, and ceilings. Both floor and ceiling are great places to use trim to soften the transitions from one area to another. This type of trim also is used to cover up any imperfections or gaps between the walls, floors, and ceilings. This created a more seamless look. Using it around windows and doors adds a decorative touch and dimension.

Room Source: Wall Sconce

There are also other places to use moldings and trim such as decorative walls and ceilings. This type of addition can add style and character to any room. This always creates more of a custom look and feel.

Types of Molding Material

After choosing where you want your moldings throughout the home, you will then need to decide on what material to go with. The most common types are MDF, finger jointed, softwood, and hardwood. Lots of factors can help you decide which material to go with, such as cost and whether or not you plan on painting or staining the moldings.

We have always used pine finger jointed. Our reasoning is because it is moderately priced and we normally paint our trim. It also comes in smaller lengths which eliminates waste. If you are planning on staining, I would recommend a hard or soft wood.

I personally do not like MDF because it is hard to repair if it gets dinged or dented.

Molding Syles

Most companies characterize moldings into different styles. For example, a few of the most popular would be modern, craftsman, and traditional.

Modern style moldings will have little to no profile. They are usually flat boards. Craftsman style isn’t much different. It’s mostly all flat, with usually some layering of smaller pieces.

Traditional style moldings have more of a decorative profile. You’ll typically find this type of molding in the majority of homes.

So How Do You Choose the Right Moldings for Your Home?

In my opinion, when it comes to style, it really comes down to personal preference, and it’s totally ok to mix and match. For example, our current house is a modern farmhouse. So we incorporated modern elements, such as our trim and moldings.

We wanted to keep the lines as clean as possible, so we went with flat 1x trim everywhere. We used a 1×6 for our baseboards and 1×4 around our doors and windows.

For our new home, we still plan on keeping things super clean with a modern edge, but we will be adding a little elegance. So we will be choosing a trim that has a profile, but nothing too decorative.

What About Sizes?

Again, anything can go based on personal preference, but there are some general rules. If you have higher ceilings, you generally want to use a taller baseboard, and if you are doing crown molding, it should be the same height as your base.

Personally, I prefer taller baseboards and wider casings around doors and windows. I don’t like to go less than 5 1/2 inches on base and 3 1/3 on doors and windows.

In our new house, we have some pretty tall ceilings, so we will probably be going with a 7 inch baseboard.

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  • Reply Karie

    What about the trend where I am seeing now I Dow trim? Where style would It be best used? Are there pluses and negatives to it?

    October 1, 2019 at 1:12 am
    • Reply Karie

      *What about the trend where I am seeing no window trim? What style would It be best used? Are there pluses and negatives to it?

      October 1, 2019 at 1:13 am
      • Reply Brooke

        I think you are referring to just a drywall return. I think this is a very modern look. You would save money on moldings, but there would be added cost on your drywall labor, but probably not too much. So I think overall, you would be saving money.

        October 1, 2019 at 1:34 am
        • Reply Mollie

          Thank you for all the information! What would you do around the ceiling with the more modern boards? Also, what do you put around the ceiling of shiplap and the sides of shiplap that meet another wall?
          Thank you!

          January 4, 2021 at 4:13 am
  • Reply Julie Rossman

    Overall, kirf trim (the drywall return) is a little more expensive and requires a more skilled drywall person. The door will come with a kirf trim piece to run the drywall up to. But then you can save costs on the trim material and labor.

    October 1, 2019 at 4:33 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Thanks for the additional info!

      October 2, 2019 at 11:31 pm
  • Reply Shelley Bogseth

    Thanks so much for all of your valuable information. In your opinion, would you also use the same color on kitchen cabinets as the wall color? (We are building a home, and plan to do a white on base cabinets and stained wood on the island.) Would appreciate any insight!!

    November 3, 2019 at 6:39 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hello Shelley! Sure, this would look amazing to match up the cabinetry color with the wall color. Pairing a white with wood is beautiful. Adding in some black and/or brass accents would also look wonderful!

      November 4, 2019 at 1:30 am
  • Reply Lauren

    If you don’t mind sharing, what size baseboards and door window casings do you currently have?

    November 7, 2019 at 6:16 am
    • Reply Brooke

      Hey Lauren, we don’t mind at all! We have 6” baseboards and 4” around doors and windows.

      November 7, 2019 at 6:14 pm
  • Reply Kaitlyn

    Thanks for the information, Brooke. We are selecting trim and window casings today. Do you mind sharing what you plan on doing to make it your trim more elegant in your new home?


    October 5, 2020 at 6:06 pm
  • Reply Swathi

    Thanks for this information. I’d also love to know what you’re planning for your new home. We’re in the later stage of a gut remodel, with modern interiors in a historic home. We have a drywall return on the windows – would it be odd to add window trim to only a few rooms? Do you have any suggestions for a baseboard that would go withe modern organic feel but have some detail (doors will have a raised panel detail). Thanks!

    October 24, 2020 at 9:56 pm
  • Reply Lauren

    Do you have a recommendation for a place to buy trim from? I really like the specific trim in the photos of your house. Thank you.

    December 8, 2020 at 4:30 am
  • Reply Cinthia

    What is your ceiling height? Trying to figure out baseboard width for our home!

    January 8, 2021 at 9:16 pm
  • Reply Jess

    Love everything about the color scheme of walls floor and door. Would you mind sharing what types/ colors they are?

    April 1, 2021 at 12:10 am
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