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Interior moulding and trim buying guide

Interior moulding and trim buying guide

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester

Guide written by:

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester

64 guides

Interior mouldings and trim are used to cover up the junction between walls and ceilings, or walls and floors, and to finish door or window frames. Whether you're after a cornice, architrave or picture rail, you'll have the choice between wood, PVC, polystyrene and plaster. Read on to find the perfect moulding or trim.

Important features

  • Materials
  • Uses
  • Installation
  • Decorative element
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Put up a half stud wall with an untidy-looking edge? Add some trim to cover up any messy edges and finish off your room divider beautifully. Got some units to assemble in a walk-in wardrobe? Dowels can be used to make an easy and invisible joint.

The list of applications of mouldings and trim goes on, but the point they all have in common is that they are all straightforward to install and provide an immediate and effective finish.

Interior mouldings and trim: which materials are available?

Mouldings and trim can be a DIYers best friend when it comes to covering up imperfections in the home. They can also be used to connect and embellish a range of surfaces including walls, ceilings and partition walls. Here's a quick table summarising the types of materials often used to make mouldings alongside their main applications.

Type of trim

Materials

Uses

Dowels

Wood

Assembling larger wooden parts

Architraves

Raw or treated wood (for exterior use) - Wood-based materials - Resin - PVC - Aluminium

Covering door and window frames - Surrounding patio doors

Cornices and coving

Wood - Plaster - Polystyrene - Polyurethane

Decorative element for ceilings - Cornice or coving LED lights

Picture rails

Wood - PVC - Aluminium - Steel

Decorative element for walls - Hanging pictures

Edging trim

Wood - PVC - Aluminium

Covering up rough edges (partition walls, etc.)

Decorative mouldings

Wood - Polystyrene - Polyurethane - Plaster - Wood

Decorative elements for ceilings (ceiling roses, etc.) - Covering up wall to floor joint (skirting boards)

Explore the ManoMano catalog
Coving and cornices

Your choice of material will depend on the layout of your space, the type of moulding and decorative effect you are after, and, of course, your personal tastes. Here is a round-up of the most common materials used to craft interior mouldings and trim.

Wood: a natural and versatile material

A classic choice featured in many interiors, wood can be matched to all types of decor. It works just as well for floors as it does for walls and ceilings. Choose between a ready-stained wood or untreated timber to paint in the colour of your choice.

A variety of species is available and the cost of the wood will vary accordingly. Pine is the least expensive option while oak is considered a high-end wood. Mid-range options include birch and cherry wood, or wood-based products like MDF or melamine.

Polystyrene: a lightweight material for tight budgets

Polystyrene is a cheap material used mainly to make decorative mouldings like cornices. The advantage of polystyrene is that it is very lightweight. But what it boasts in practicality it lacks in looks. That said, for contemporary rooms with clean lines, it does the job very well.

If you are looking for an easy finish or to cover up imperfections this material is ideal. As a bonus, it is very easy to fit – simply apply glue, hold the moulding in place for a few seconds and you're done! It's also very easy to make cuts.

Polyurethane: a more attractive finish

Like polystyrene, polyurethane is a synthetic material. The difference is that it is denser and can be used to create a wider variety of finishes with more intricate details. It is also stronger meaning it can be used to make a range of cornice designs.

Some cornices can even be fitted with LED spotlights and other types of bulbs to create different effects. This type of lighting can be direct or indirect. In terms of installation, polyurethane is just as easy to install as polystyrene. However, it does require the use of a specific type of adhesive. Its qualities largely make up for its higher price point.

Aluminium: ideal for contemporary homes

Aluminium is both lightweight and strong. It is perfect for all types of modern decor and comes in various sizes, formats and colours. Lacquered aluminium comes in a wide range of colours and finishes.

This material can even be glued into place if used for things like edge trim. Other types of decorative moulding should be screwed into place. It'll come as no surprise to hear that aluminium trim is one of the most expensive options out there.

Steel: a great option for picture rails

Steel picture rails are fairly common. Less expensive than aluminium, steel is a strong material. These types of picture rails often comprise interior tracks where hooks and cable can be installed. Heavy paintings can then be mounted on the hooks which tells you something about the strength of the material.

Steel is relatively inexpensive and can be lacquered or powder-coated. Steel picture rails come in all designs, shapes and colours. It's worth noting that other types of trim and profiles can be made of steel for a cheaper alternative to aluminium.

Plaster: a traditional and enduring material

Plaster mouldings are usually white but can also be coloured. This material has been used to decorate walls and ceilings since antiquity. Still used today for baroque or Victorian-style interiors, plaster moulding can feature elegant and elaborate designs.

PVC: a lightweight and functional material

PVC is great for creating quick and easy finishes. Straightforward to install, it is often used to surround uPVC doors or windows. PVC architraves can be used to effectively cover up door and window frames on a budget.

PVC is a popular option for edging trim as it is really easy to fit. All you need is a quick bead of mastic to keep this lightweight and attractive trim in place.
Explore the ManoMano catalog
Coving and cornices

Interior mouldings and trim come in all forms and can be glued, screwed or nailed into place depending on the type and weight of the material. Here are a few common types:

  • Dowels: considered finishing elements in their own right, dowels can be used for a huge variety of assemblies.
  • Architraves: great for covering up flaws and adding decoration, architraves are used to finish door and window frames.
  • Decorative mouldings: available in a huge variety of formats (from ceiling roses to wall panelling), decorative mouldings are used to add interest to walls and ceilings.
  • Picture rails: used to decorate the upper half of walls and accommodate paintings, canvases and other types of wall art.
  • Edge trim: from corner trim to end caps, this type of trim is used to cover up any rough edges for a simple and stylish finish.
  • Cornices and coving are used to embellish joints between walls and ceilings.

Now let's take a closer look at the different types of mouldings and trim.

Wooden dowels are small, grooved, cylindrical rods. They are inserted into pre-frilled holes and used to join together two larger pieces of wood. They are commonly used to assemble furniture.

If you want to make your own furniture, you will need dowels. To insert a dowel, simply drill holes with the correct diameter in the parts you want to assemble and insert your dowels. Dowels come in all sizes from 4 to 12 mm in diameter and 25 to 40 mm in length.

Use your imagination when using dowels! These little wooden pins can be used to make all sorts of things relatively easily. You simply need to drill holes in the parts you want to assemble and Bob's your uncle!
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Wooden dowels

After installing a door or window frame, you may come to realise that you don't have a very neat finish. Fitting architraves is a quick and easy way to cover up any imperfections. Simply cut the material to match the door or window frame dimensions and glue or nail the architraves into place.

You will need to make a mitre cut where the vertical and horizontal architraves meet. To do so, use a mitre box or mitre saw to cut at a 45° angle. This will create the perfect finish for your window or door frames.

Be sure to measure the width of the architraves very carefully to ensure they will cover up flaws entirely.

Mouldings are decorative elements that are uniform in shape and profile. They can be used to cover up the joint between walls and ceilings (such as cornices and coving), or walls and floors (i.e. skirting boards) or even to form decorative panelling on walls. Mainly used as decoration, mouldings can also be used to cover up surface flaws.

Used alone or combined with other mouldings, these decorative elements come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, materials and colours. From traditional to contemporary designs, there's a moulding to match every home and every individual!

Explore the ManoMano catalog
Coving and cornices

Picture rails are used to finish and decorate walls. These rails can either be used to hang paintings on cables and hooks or by nailing directly into the rail itself.

They are installed quite high up on walls towards the ceiling. If you plan to install paintings on hooks, be sure to install the picture rail a little higher to account for the length of the cable and picture hangings.

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Picture hangings

Edging trim is used to cover up the rough edges of surfaces like half partitions. This type of trim can be L-shaped (in which case it is referred to as 'corner trim') or U-shaped (in which case it is usually called an 'end cap'). Edge trim is often used to finish off things like stud walls built to divide rooms.

It is often fitted using adhesive or a special type of mastic. It can also be nailed into place or screwed using plasterboard screws. For a secure assembly, be sure to wait for the plasterboard joints to dry before fitting end caps or corner trim.

Cornices are wide decorative mouldings used to crown the junction between walls and ceilings. Cornices are typically more decorative in terms of design while coving tends to be curved or straight. Cornices come in a huge range of styles and can even be layered for an impressive effect.

In terms of installation, it's important to use a special adhesive designed for this purpose. Simply apply a bead of adhesive to the back of the cornice or coving. If you have chosen wooden coving, glue or nail into place or use both methods.

For a unique and stylish twist, go for LED coving with built-in lights for guaranteed wow factor!

Shop our coving and cornices

Guide written by:

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester, 64 guides

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester

For several years I have been running a garden service with a clientele of both individuals and companies. I manage a team of gardeners and ensure the creation and maintenance of green spaces. At the same time, I bring my expertise to my clients in terms of the maintenance and improvement of their gardens. In fact, as a trainee and working in the hospitality industry at the beginning of my career, I focused on landscaping in a local community where I acquired solid technical skills through in-house training and the follow-up of major projects in a rapidly changing town. On a personal level, I am equally oriented towards the art of gardening. With my wife, I created our garden from start to finish and I maintain it carefully, the same goes for the vegetable garden. As for DIYing, it’s not to be outdone. Yes, gardening is also tinkering: pergolas, huts, pavements, fences, and so on...There is always something to do in a garden. After working well together, my wife and I are proud of the result and delighted to be able to take full advantage of a friendly and warm environment. So, let us give you advice and help you in your choice of tools, maintenance, or the improvement of your garden, nothing could be simpler.

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