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How to Size Interior Trim for a Finished Look, Baseboards, Crown Mouldings, Chair Rail

Chris Nelson, Peak Construction & Design, installs baseboards, crown moulding and chair rail.  This gives your home the finished look it deserves.  These guidelines work for most homes.  The other choice you will need to make is do you go for paint grade or stain grade trims.  Chris can give move you in the right direction to finish the look in your home.  Call him today 760 668 3991.

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One of the most important questions that we all have about trim is, What size should it be? Getting the size and proportions of trim correct can make a huge difference in how a room is used and enjoyed. If the trim is too small or too large, it can be like a clown wearing aminuscule hat or supersize pair of shoes.

While there are some guidelines, they are, in fact, just guidelines. No rule should replace what you like and what you feel is right. Start out selecting your trim by first defining the story you and the room want to tell. From there, purchase some samples and have mock-ups built. This is all a small price to pay for getting your trim right.

Here are the rules — I mean, guidelines — for sizing the trim in a room.

The 7 percent solution.When sizing a baseboard in a traditional-style home, a good starting point is to use a ratio of 7 percent. So if your ceiling height is 8 feet high, try a baseboard that’s about 7 inches tall.
Of course, this is more of a suggestion than a rule. For example, if you’re looking to create a more contemporary interior, try using a shorter baseboard or, if you’re brave enough, no baseboard at all.
For casings, 50 percent is good. Generally, vertical trim elements such as door and window casings should be smaller and have less heft than baseboards. So I’ve found that a good rule of thumb for sizing window and door casings is to keep them at about 50 percent of the height of the baseboard.
As always, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Casings that equal the dimensions of the baseboards certainly can work quite well.
Crowning achievements. Although there are some guidelines that can be used to size a crown (for example, make it about half the size of the base), there are many questions that come into play, like:

• How tall is the ceiling?
• Will the crown be convex or concave?
• Will the crown step up and out from, say, a picture rail?

Given these variables, sizing a crown isn’t as straightforward as you might think. I like to purchase foot-long pieces of different sizes and profiles and construct mock-ups of the crown in the room. In fact, because most trim is readily available and inexpensive, this is a really good process to use for selecting all of your trim elements.

Another guideline for crown selection is to use the same crown throughout the kitchen if your design calls for using a crown at the top of your cabinets. In fact, you’ll probably want the crown to be finished and supplied by the cabinetmaker. Otherwise, the crown won’t match, making transitions from one to the other problematic.
All together now. A well-trimmed room is something special. Its baseboard, casings and crown all relate to each other in their style, proportions, sizing and finish. In this example, the baseboard appears to follow the 7 percent guideline: The casings are about half the size of the baseboard, and the crown looks to be just slightly smaller than the baseboard. There’s no doubt that the trim for this room was conceived as part of the overall design.
The rule of thirds.Installing a chair rail, with or without wainscoting, will divide the vertical plane — the walls — into multiple areas. If you want to make the room feel taller, place the chair rail one third of the way up from the floor.
traditional dining room by Mark Brand Architecture

If, on the other hand, you want the room to be more intimate, try placing the chair rail two thirds of the way up from the floor.

Peak Construction & Design is a residential/light commercial, general building contractor licensed/insured in California. We specialize in remodeling of custom/single family homes, condominiums, light commercial offices, as well askitchen and bathroom remodeling, along with new built homes, barns and out buildings . We also do general home maintenance.  We service Southern California and the communities  including Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Cathedral City, Indian Wells, Palm Springs, La Quinta, CaliforniaPlease call Chris Nelson today at 760.668.3991!


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