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Wall Trim Ideas (And Alternatives To Shiplap!)

One look at my home and you can probably guess one thing I am obsessed with: wall trim and moulding. Trim refers to the molding used to frame windows, doors, walls, floors, and ceilings and it is one of the most important architectural elements in your home.

Nothing can elevate a room more, and take walls from plain and boring to special and interesting, than moulding (or molding). And the fact that installing mouldings is easy to do for even a beginner DIYer makes it one of my most favourite decorating elements. Shiplap continues to the most popular wall treatment style, but there are many diverse wall trim ideas and alternatives to shiplap.

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Wall Molding Decorating Ideas

I've partnered with Metrie for many of the moulding and decorative wall trim projects in my home, like our living room, our master bedroom, and our craft room. Over the last six Fridays, I've had the chance to take over Metrie's Instagram stories and share some of my best trim and moulding tips. You've probably heard of shiplap but there are so many other wall molding design styles out there! You can catch all six episodes in Metrie's MASTERS Highlights but I thought I would recap some of the top lessons and decorative trim and wall molding ideas.

What is moulding/molding?

Moulding is a piece of material that can be made out of MDF, wood, plaster or stone and is used to either decorate a surface or cover the transition between surfaces.

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In most of our projects, we've used MDF moulding with a traditional profile but moulding comes in many different styles. Rustic luxury, Urban country, and Minimal opulence are just a few of the design trends you can achieve. There are about as many wall trim ideas and applications as there are styles of trim!

How do you choose trim and moulding?

When you select trim, keep in mind three elements: materials, profile or style, and proportion. Use the materials that provide the durability and look you need for your project. MDF is cost effective and paints easily. Use a hardwood like poplar or oak when you want a visible grain that you can bring out with stain.

Once you've selected your material, choose a style of moulding suited to your taste. Metrie's Option M eliminates the guesswork by offering collections of interior moulding and doors that will work together and create a cohesive look. Keep in mind size and scale of your room as well. Generally, the larger the room, the larger your mouldings. Look for the "9'+" symbol on the Metrie site to see which mouldings are suited for rooms with taller ceilings.

Should all trim in a house be the same?

It's not necessary to have all trim in the house exactly the same, but all your trim should speak the same language, especially in rooms that are close together. If your trim in your living room is curved and ornate, then the trim in the adjacent hallway and nearby kitchen should have similar features. You wouldn't want to switch from a curved profile to one that is very straight, angular, and modern.

It's also acceptable to have different levels and complexity of trim. For social rooms like a dining room and living room, you might want to have a full variety of trim with crown moulding, chair rail, and tall baseboards. However, in more relaxed spaces and private spaces such as the basement or laundry room, you might want to go with simpler trim and just have baseboard. The more trim, the more sophisticated a room will appear.

What kinds of wall molding designs can you create?

You can create many different looks with trim and moulding. Here are a few wall trim ideas from our home:

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Traditional wall moulding design

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Simple door casing
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Shiplap accent wall
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Dining room wainscotting
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Vertical plank wall
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Small bathroom wainscotting
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Bifold doors and entryway wainscotting
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Bathroom wall panelling

If you're just starting to work with trim, try an easy project like installing window casing. It requires little more than a mitre saw and nail gun. With more experience, try applying molding to half a wall by installing wainscotting in your dining room or entry way. If you prefer a casual or coastal look, create a shiplap wall.

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How to Install Moulding

Installing trim and moulding requires just a few tools. Here's a simple tutorial we created years ago on how we installed the wall panelling in our master bedroom.

You can use wall trim on an accent wall, on half a wall, or for an entire room. Using wall trim in the bedroom is one of my favourite applications as it elevates the room and makes it feel extra special.

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To make your project look professional, pay attention to the finishing details. Take the time to caulk and sand all of the moulding seams and gaps before you paint. Think about joints and how your trim pieces intersect, and use mitred ends or mitred returns to create a high quality look.

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A room with wall trim and moulding alone can look beautiful, but you can enhance the look using decor.

  • Use window coverings to enhance or minimize your mouldings. Consider an inside mount roman blind if you want to showcase your window casing
  • Layer your artwork on top of your moulding for a bold and modern look. Or, for a gallery effect, treat your panel moulding like a frame and place your artwork within the panel
  • Using different paint colours or sheens can bring attention to your trim. Paint everything the same shade for a calm and cohesive feeling. If you prefer contrast, paint your trim a different colour than your walls. This will highlight the architectural details
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In short, moulding is one my essential elements in creating a beautifully decorated space. From bedroom to bathroom, cottage to city home, it's a must have.

What do you think... are you inspired by these wall trim and moulding ideas? Show me your trim projects. I'd love to see them!


Disclosure: This conversation is sponsored by Metrie. Thank you for supporting the brands whose quality products I use and bring in my own home.

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