Although most people think of decorative wood trim as a way to add character to a room, it can also cover blemishes, reduce drafts and help to prevent damage to interior walls. Chair rails do more than add beauty.
Originally, chair rails were meant to protect the walls from damage that can be done when the back of a chair scrapes up against a paneled wall. Today's indoor building materials are even more delicate than wooden paneling. While the damage can be repaired with spackling or plaster, it never looks "perfect".
Dry wall can easily be gouged and scraped. Hanging pictures is challenging, to say the least. A well-placed piece of non decorative wood trim can be used for hanging large paintings, providing further protection for your walls.
Baseboards reduce drafts. Whether your home is old or new, a simple piece of quarter-round trimming in front of the baseboards can cover up tiny cracks and reduce heating costs. It makes cleaning easier, too.
Wainscoting below the chair rail adds interest to a plain wall and, once again, it serves to protect the lower portion of the walls from damage. Wainscoting is stronger than dry wall. If it does happen to get damaged, it can easily be sanded and repainted to the point that the damage is undetectable.
As an alternative to the "real" thing, some people choose polyurethane materials or urethane resins. Resins are more flexible. They can bend around most any corner, which reduces installation time and the need for creating joints.
Regardless of which material you choose, moulding provides the aesthetic and the functional benefits. A dull room can be turned into one that looks warm and rich in less time than it would take to paper or paint.
There are a few terms that you may need defined before you order decorative wood trim. Here are the basics.
Half round and quarter round: thin boards used to highlight baseboards, cover joints or for other decorating purposes. Half-round trimming is flat on the back and curved on the front, like a half of a column. Quarter round has two flat edges and one curved edge, so it fits easily in corners.
Baseboards: come in a wide range of sizes and styles. They are installed at the point where the walls meet the floors.
Crown moulding: the opposite of the baseboard. They are installed at the point where the walls meet the ceiling.
Wainscoting or paneling: may come in a large sheet or as individual boards. They may be used to cover an entire wall or only a portion.
These four pieces make up most of your decorative wood trim. They can be combined imaginatively to create a unique interior design in your home.