Trim work is essential to construction and it hides certain aspects of the house while creating a cohesive look. There are four major types of trim: Baseboards, Crown Moulding, Door Casings, and Window Casings. Window Casings and Door Casings often match or are of a similar style. Four aspects of trim are important to the overall look that trim will give your space: Material, Style, Scale, and Proportion. Style refers to the decorative nature of the trim. The more detailed the trim work, the more traditional the style. Styles range from flat trim in a modern home to ornate trim in a traditional home. When replacing trim in your house, coordinate the style of all the trim to create a cohesive look.
Material is important and can make a difference based on where you will be using the trim and whether you plan to paint or stain it. MDF trim is less expensive and is a good option when you plan to paint the trim and use it in dry locations. MDF also has no seams, which can be an advantage when you need an extra long run. It is also lighter than wood trim, which makes it easier to install as crown moulding. Wood trim is a good option if you plan to stain or seal it or if you have animals that may be scratching up the trim, requiring you to refinish it periodically. It will also suffer less damage if it accidentally gets wet. Plastic trim is also available and is a great option for very wet locations such as the bathroom or the outdoors.
Style refers to the decorative nature of the trim. The more detailed the trim work, the more traditional the style. Styles range from boxy flat trim in a modern home to more ornate designs in a traditional home. When replacing trim in your house, coordinate the style of all the trim to create a cohesive look.
Scale refers both to the size of the trim in relation to all the details and the size of the trim in relation to the height of your walls and size of your house. Tall baseboard can add visual weight to a room, giving it a loftier appearance. But you want to avoid going too large with trim and overwhelming the room. If you go too tall on the baseboard or deep on crown moulding, the ceiling will appear shorter and the room may appear smaller. Consider the overall design you prefer and the size that will fit best with your space. Most trim styles can be scaled up or down in size to match your space.
Proportion refers to the scale of various aspects of a design compared to the scale of the whole. The three Crown Moulding sizes featured as examples of scale are virtually the same proportion in each size. As the size of the trim is increased, the scale of every aspect of that trim is also increased. The trim is scaled in equal proportions. Some trim, especially baseboard, may have an odd look when the all aspects of the design are increased in scale. Consider the proportion of each aspect of the trim to the whole. In the case of the baseboard above, the flat bottom portion of the trim is increased in height while leaving the top portion virtually the same size.