Creativity with Moldings

Happy Monday! Today is a fun subject- especially for Do-It-Yourselfers…..How to use moldings in your home to perk up a blank or boring area. Moldings give a dimension to a surface and when done properly, can add so much character to a room. Moldings can visually lower a too high ceiling, break up a large room into defined area without walls, dress up and highlight a certain piece of furniture or painting- the possibilities are endless.


A simple chair rail molding can be used to separate wallpaper from paint, as shown above in this photo of my bedroom. A chair rail average height is around 36″ however if used in a Dining Room, the rail can be positioned at the height of the back of your chairs to protect your walls, hence the term “chair rail”.

100_8931Wallpaper borders make a nice addition to chair rails as they give the impression of being an extension of the wood. In this example, rectangular shaped boxes are created under the chair rail to give the look of custom woodworking at a fraction of the cost. The width, design and type of wood can vary according to your style. A good quality Miter Saw is a must to get the right corner angles. A level, measuring tape, brad nails and wood glue are also essentials. The height and length of the area will also determine the size and amount of boxes you can create. In the example below I got a little more creative. The rounded corners can be purchased pre-cut and it takes some good math skills to figure out, but completely worth the effort. The corner rosettes and carved motif in the middle are also pre-made and just get glued and tacked to the drywall.


Coincidentally, yesterday I got a photo (above) from my friend Sharon of her finished Christmas tree. I thought “how pretty” but of course me, ever the Designer zoomed into the background at the beautiful work done on the bottom half of the walls in her room!


It is a habit of mine, when watching a movie or t.v. show, whether black and white or color, I do not pay attention to what is going on with the dialogue. My eyes are racing around the screen to soak up every last detail of furniture, chandeliers, artwork, accessories or anything that I can store in my brain for a future project!


So back to moldings…. why are ceilings so neglected? There is so much with empty space up there begging to be used! FORGET WHITE!!!! Why not a color? Why not 2 colors??? To the left is a chandelier in my hall that isn’t even wired! I bought it an an auction, cut the wire and hung it from a hook. I bought a the medallion at a lighting store and squared it out again with molding and painted the rest of the ceiling taupe to match the light taupe in the wall stripes. In my family room I did the same thing with an antique candle holder purchased at auction.


I even dragged out the old paint set and made a faux sky . Again,notice all the pre-made corner moldings. This ceiling is painted the same color as part of the walls. I will share a BIG secret…it SO much easier to do this because you never have to worry about the wall color getting onto the boring white ceiling while painting! This particular room I chose to do a lot of moldings to give it an English Library look. At the time, I was younger and energetic and decided to faux finish the room to look like wood. It was a tedious project but well worth it. I still love it.


Above the mantle I had a secret place made for a t.v. and doors made to cover it. Seeing a television in a room has always been and always will  be a BIG pet peeve of mine. And as technology changes all the time, it keeps getting harder to come up with creative ideas to hide those monsters. But, in all my years of working, ladies only, I have found that if the man of the house has his dream t.v. and the big ugly chair,all is good!


The last room that you can go completely crazy is the kitchen. I am lucky enough to have a brother-in-law who is an amazingly talented cabinet maker. He made my kitchen from scratch using my design and handcrafted everything in his workshop, then installed it on site. Being tall, I wanted high counters and upper cabinets, so he built the soffit afterward to


fit. All the grapevine molding and onlays were purchased separately and when he was finished, I rubbed all the pure whit cabinets with stain to give them an aged look. 20 years later I still love this kitchen.

100_8937Above is a small detail of my living room ceiling which spans the whole room and includes two crystal chandeliers. The corners are the best part and the photo doesn’t show the inside detail, but it is a very shiny gold leaf paint. I also used a gold rub on paint on the moldings just to highlight the detail. Literally a pain in the neck but worth it!

I hope I have inspired you to get a little braver with the paint and finish choices you make when starting a project. The say “It’s all in the details” is so true, especially when it comes to making a room that really stands out from the others, as also shown by a cornice that houses uplighting for effect and down lighting for reading over my bed.




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