This Guide Helps Clarify Types of Trim Used In Homes

  • 01 of 05

    Trim Is Your Best Buddy (and Final Step) In Interior Remodeling

    Workers Installing Crown Molding 168268191
    Workers Installing Crown Molding. Getty / Jodi Jacobson

    Trim is fantastic stuff. With just a few bundles and a power nailer, you can majorly crank up the dial on your home's design--in just a weekend or two.

    Trim is the kind of "low-level consciousness" change where your friends come over and say, "What have you done with this looks incredible!"  Yet they have a hard time putting their finger on what you did exactly.

    Here's what it does:

    • Visually:  Think like an artist. In a purely aesthetic sense, trim is like "trimming" off the ragged edges.  Or it's like outlining certain areas of a picture.  It gives the room a nice, crisp, finished look.
    • Functionally:  Some parts of a house are not covered up; they are left open for certain reasons.  One prime example is flooring.  Flooring and walls do not meet.  The purpose is to let the two move independently of each other.  To cover that gap, baseboards are used.

    You'll be pleased to know that installing wood trim is definitely a do it yourself project.

    In this guide, we take a close look at the 4 most basic types you will use in your house:

    1. Window and Door Trim
    2. Chair Rail
    3. Crown Molding
    4. Baseboards
    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Door and Window Trim: Like "Picture Frames" For Doors, Windows

    Door Trim
    Door Trim in "Kit" Form - Bulls-Eye Style. Copyright/Courtesy The Home Depot


    Trim that frames the interior perimeter of doors and windows.


    • Hide ragged edges of drywall or plaster around doors and windows.
    • Sharpen the look of windows and doors; make them "pop out." White-painted door and window trim looks great against walls painted rich colors.
    • Cover exposed edges of door and window framing.


    • Always essential. All doors and windows need trim (often called casing or molding, too).
    • Door trim and window trim is usually interchangeable.
    • When tightly nailed to the framing and painted, trim almost looks like it's a part of the door or window--it's seamless.
    • Door trim is usually painted a semi-gloss or gloss so that fingerprints are more easily washed off.
    • Door and window trim can be bought as kits (as shown in the image), though not mandatory.
    Continue to 3 of 5 below.
  • 03 of 05

    Chair Rail: Wall Protection Device

    Chair Rail
    Very Decorative Chair Rail - Those Teeth-Like Features are Called "Dentils". Copyright/Courtesy The Home Depot


    A thin horizontal strip of wood trim that goes around a room at about waist height.


    • Protect walls from chairs bumping into them.
    • Dresses up a room, particularly dining rooms.


    • Can be mounted on top of wainscoting or can be stand-alone.
    • Not a common type of wood trim.
    • Typically found in more traditional style houses.
    • Not essential, but often a nice thing to have.
    Continue to 4 of 5 below.
  • 04 of 05

    Crown Molding: The Ultimate In Fancy Interiors

    Crown Molding
    Crown Molding Showing How It is Mounted at 45 Degree Angle to Wall and Ceiling. Copyright EverTrue/Lowe's


    A horizontal strip of interior wood trim that runs along the very top of walls at the junction of the wall and ceiling.


    • Can cover up bad drywalling or plaster work at top of walls.
    • More aesthetic benefits than functional: crown molding really makes a room look great.


    • Crown trim molding is usually painted the same color as the ceiling, not wall.
    • It is installed at a 45-degree.
    • Both cope joints and mitered joints are used when installing crown molding.
    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Baseboards: Necessary Component of Flooring

    High, 8" Raw Wood Baseboard. Copyright Lowe's


    A decorative and functional type of wood trim that runs along the very base of walls, thus the name baseboards or base molding.


    • Provide a visual "stop".
    • Keep dirt from getting under walls.
    • Prevent vermin/insects from getting into house.
    • Beautify the ragged bottom edge of the wall.
    • Prevent bottom edge of wall from getting broken.


    • Usually in heights of 2" to 8", though higher base molding can be found.
    • Can be either built-up (separate pieces) or one-piece.
    • Thinner baseboards are easier to curve to the walls.
    • Thicker baseboards can have deep, attractive profiles (designs).
    • Available in bare wood, primed wood, MDF, and polystyrene.
    • Usually require the addition of quarter-round at the base of the baseboard to cover up the gap between the baseboard and floor.