How to Choose Molding Trim for Your Home

Learn more about molding trim to find the right option for your decor.

Routed strips of trim wood
Brett Taylor / Getty Images

Molding and trim are two terms that are often used interchangeably to refer to narrow strips of material affixed to the wall near the ceiling or floor. Trim can also be used when discussing strips of material installed around door frames and window frames. However, molding is actually a type of decorative trim that typically features ornate details to improve the aesthetic of the home. Not all trim is molding, but all molding is trim.

Adding baseboards, window trim, door trim, crown molding, chair rail trim, or any other type of trim to the home isn't strictly necessary, but this thin piece of material can help cover gaps, rough edges, and any other imperfections. Avid DIYers can install wood trim using a nail gun, though it's important to note that trim isn't only made with wood. It can also be made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or medium density fiberboard (MDF). Use this guide to learn how to choose molding trim for your home.

Buying Considerations for Molding Trim


Finish variations can affect the price of the material, as well as impacting the amount of work required to complete the project. Some trim comes pre-painted or pre-stained, which reduces the amount of time you will need to spend painting, though these materials typically cost more than plain or unpainted trim. Just keep in mind that even pre-painted materials will likely need to be touched up after installation to cover the nail holes in the trim.


Measuring the area where the trim will be installed is necessary to figure out exactly how much trim you will need to complete the job. In most brick-and-mortar stores, trim is sold in eight-foot lengths that range from about $3 to $32 per piece. You can also find trim through online retailers where you may be able to source shorter or longer pieces of trim, depending on your needs.


Most trim is made using various types of wood, but you can also purchase trim that is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or medium-density fiberboard (MDF). The benefit of opting for PVC or MDF is that this material tends to cost less than natural wood, though wood trim has superior physical durability. If you are looking for high durability and high resistance to moisture, polyurethane trim may be the right choice for your home, though this material generally has a higher cost than wood.

Types of Molding Trim

Door and Window Trim

The trim that surrounds the windows and doors in most residential homes is known simply as door and window trim. It's installed with the purpose of hiding the rough edges of drywall and covering and gaps between the frame and wall. Door and window trim can be completely flat or it can have a decorative face intended to improve the aesthetic of the room.

Pillows on bed against wall at home
Cavan Images / Getty Images

Chair Rail Molding

While not as common as baseboard molding or door and window trim, chair rail molding was originally a widely used type of trim to protect the walls from chairs. Changes in chair styles over the years have reduced the need for chair rail molding, but this type of trim can still add a decorative element to the room, especially when it is used to delineate a wall with two different types of paint or wallpaper.

Empty Room With Wall Plug
Spiderstock / Getty Images

Crown Molding

Crown molding can be used along the tops of kitchen cabinets to hide the upper soffits, to dress up lower-quality cabinets, or simply as a decorative border positioned at the junction of the wall and ceiling. This type of trim is known for having an attractive style that improves the aesthetic of the room, though it is also effective for covering up poor plasterwork or providing a distinct visual division between the walls and ceiling.

Ceiling moldings in the interior, detail of intricate corner.
Valeriy_G / Getty Images

Baseboard Trim

One of the most commonly used types of trim in residential homes is baseboard trim. It can be installed alone or it can be installed with a strip of quarter-round trim at the base to cover any larger gaps between the wall and the floor. Baseboard trim isn't usually as detailed as crown molding, though it does come in a range of different styles to meet your needs.

Molding in the interior, baseboard corner. Light matte wall with tiles immitating hardwood flooring
Valeriy_G / Getty Images


Replacing a single piece of trim in your home isn't a costly repair. Typically, an eight-foot length of trim will cost between $3 to $32 per piece. However, if you are hiring professionals to install trim throughout the home, the cost increases significantly. The average cost of installing trim is about $1,330, with a range between $600 and $2,100. Depending on the materials, the size of the home, and the labor costs involved, you could end up paying as little as $200 or as high as $5,200 for molding trim installation.

How to Choose Molding Trim

Trim isn't strictly a necessary addition to the home, so if you don't like the look of trim, you don't actually need to install it. However, it does tend to give the home a more polished appearance, especially if there are any rough drywall edges, gaps, or any other imperfections that could be covered by installing trim.

Consider the type of trim that is appropriate for the home and choose a style that suits your decor. Measure the installation area to find out how much trim you need, then use this information to source material for the project. Select the type of material, finish, and style that meets your needs. Just keep in mind that if you're hiring a professional to complete the project, you may need to pay additional labor costs to remove existing trim.

Watch Now: How to Install Shoe Molding or Quarter-Round Molding

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. How Much Does It Cost to Install Trim? Angi.

  2. How Much Does Trim Cost? HomeAdvisor.