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Which mouldings should you choose for your home?


Picking trims for a home renovation project, like skirting board, architraves (to surround your doors) and dado rails may seem like a small inconsequential detail in the grand scheme of a renovation. However, combined together, it is lots of small details which build up the character and authenticity of a building. When it comes to choosing mouldings, lots of DIYers (and contractors alike, actually) find themselves quite surprised with the amount of choice available today.

This article will help narrow down the type of moulding which may suit your home.

Choosing Sizes

As a general rule of thumb period (Georgian, Victorian, Colonial) properties always tended to have higher skirting boards (6”/150mm upwards) and wider architrave (4”/100mm upwards) than those typically found today. From a design perspective the larger mouldings did two things. They firstly tied in with the elaborate design of buildings in those eras by adding an additional layer of ornate decoration, but they also allowed the room to look visually proportionate, since ceiling heights used to be far higher than what we are now used to. Practically, the larger skirting boards served to the walls of the building from damage often caused the tall boots which were typically worn.

Today however the majority of contemporary building designs have far lower ceilings and are more minimalistic with detailing. Therefore current trends tend to focus on skirting boards from 3”/70mm to 6”/150mm and architrave typically 3”/69mm wide.

Choosing a design

As touched on above, traditional period properties were lavish with decoration, therefore a moulding featuring a high amount of elaborate detail should tie in with period properties. Be aware of how big the shape is going to be on the board – you don’t want to end up with a tall skirting board featuring a small bit of detail running across the top. Most look to achieve a shape that is proportionate to the board size.

In contrast contemporary properties with standard ceiling heights can use smaller shapes, as this will be proportionate to the board, but can still make use of large shapes to create a standout feature of the mouldings. In terms of style contemporary builds tend to be more simplistic therefore a plainer design can be more appropriate – especially for the super modern. Grooved designs also tend to be popular among contemporary building owners.


Although above lays out some general guidelines they are by no means rules, and fantastic results can be achieved by contradicting them e.g. using a large decorative moulding in a contemporary building. What it really comes down to is deciding a theme for the interior and applying it to your moulding selection process while bearing in mind the above guide points.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by floorsmk