Your Complete Guide to Interior House Trim Styles

Interior trim is one of the great unsung heroes of interior design. When done correctly, crown molding, door and window trim, chair rail and baseboards all work together to form a cohesive look that becomes part of the architecture of the room. Though interior trim serves the practical purpose of bridging small gaps between the walls, ceiling, floors and openings, it’s also an important way to lay the baseline for whatever decorating style you prefer in your home. Trim should be carefully chosen to work with the proportions of your home as well as its time period so it looks like it’s been in place forever.

Types of Interior Trim

Before you can shop for the right trim for your home, it’s important to know what types are available. Here’s your basic glossary:

  • Crown Molding: An angled piece of trim that covers the corner between the wall and the ceiling. Crown molding requires mitered cuts in the corners and comes in many profiles. Generally speaking, wider pieces of crown molding are more formal, while smaller pieces with fewer ridges and curves are more casual and modern.
  • Door Casing: This trim creates a frame around a doorway and hides the framing pieces and shims that were used to install the door. This trim can be mitered at the corners or used with square blocks and straight-cut pieces. 
  • Window Casing: Like door casing, window casing frames windows and hides any gaps around them. In the past, window trim also hid the inner workings of the sash weights, but today’s trim is mostly used for decoration. Window and door casing often coordinate, though the proportions may vary depending on the size of the windows.
  • Baseboard: This trim piece bridges the gap between the wall and the floor. In very modern spaces, it could be as simple as a piece of quarter round; for homes with high ceilings, baseboards are often several inches high.
  • Chair Rail: This piece of trim is hung horizontally on the wall at the height of a chair back. Originally used to protect plaster from gouges and dings as chairs were pushed back against the wall, today it’s a decorative touch most often used in formal dining rooms or as a transition piece around wainscoting.
  • Wainscoting: This decorative paneling is used on the lower half of walls and is often painted or stained to contrast with the wall above. Wainscoting was originally used as a way to waterproof the lower half of plaster walls, but today it is purely decorative. Beadboard is one popular type of wainscoting that has vertical ridges, or beads.
  • Panel Molding: Panel molding are ridged trim pieces that can be used to create frames. These frames are then placed on the wall to simulate raised panels — often as wainscoting or around a fireplace or other focal point. Panel molding can be used to create an endless array of patterns on the wall or even the ceiling.  
  • Shiplap Paneling: Wide, flat boards that lock together are placed horizontally to form shiplap paneling. This style of paneling is very popular and is often used to create a rustic accent wall. In the South, shiplap was often used instead of plaster to create interior walls.

Interior Decorating Styles

Each type of trim comes in a range of styles, from the most basic, low-profile door casings to the most ornate crown molding. Knowing what style decor your gravitate toward will help you choose interior trim that blends well with that style. Here are some of the most popular decorating styles and tips for choosing the right trim for each one:


Bohemian style is eclectic and comfortable. It often features unique artwork or collections of vintage items to create an anything-goes vibe. There’s a hint of the exotic or old European here as well, so traditional trim styles work best: mitered door casings, curvaceous crown molding, and tall baseboard. You can also get creative with panel molding to add a unique design to walls for a truly artistic turn.


Country style is relaxed and homey, with nods to history in the furniture choice (think Windsor chairs and tables with turned legs). While high ceilings may require large crown molding and baseboard, the lines can be simple, with few ridges and curves. Beadboard paneling creates a classic country look, whether used as wainscoting or to cover an entire wall. Wide windowsills create a cozy spot for plants, decorative items, or even a window seat.  

Modern Farmhouse

Modern farmhouse style is an update of classic country that features a pared down look with cleaner lines. Furniture is usually modern and comfortable, but there are plenty of rustic touches like a farmhouse sink and shiplap paneling. Unpretentious trim can be flat (or nearly so) to keep in sync with the clean aesthetic. Trim will almost always be painted white to blend with white or gray walls in this style.    metrie modern farmhouse

New Traditional

High ceilings, wide moldings, and paneled walls are hallmarks of traditional style. Based on the formal dining and parlor spaces of the 1800s, traditional style is a classic decor that has stood the test of time. New traditional is somewhat less formal than pure Victorian decor, but you’ll still see chair rail with wainscoting and paneled doors that hearken back to the quality craftsmanship of a bygone era. New traditional style makes heavy use of panel molding to get the look of a fully paneled library or den without the expense.

Shabby Chic

Shabby chic combines old and new for a home that looks decorated but still well-loved and lived in. This style features antiques and distressed furniture pieces while retaining a feminine feel with a pastel palette. Given the antique feel of shabby chic, traditional molding styles with plenty of curves and decorative touches work well. Thinner, more delicate trim pieces will work better than very chunky ones, too. 

Vintage Industrial

Industrial style highlights the building materials and systems used in construction: exposed beams and brick, visible heating ducts, and plenty of industrial fixtures are all on display. This tends to be a more masculine style, and furniture is made of distressed or reclaimed wood and functional metal. Flat casings and panel moldings work well with this look; if crown molding and baseboards are used at all, they should have a clean profile but be substantially sized.   

Coordinating Trim Pieces

Once you’ve decided on your style, it can still be challenging to find molding and trim pieces that work well together. Metrie solves this problem with their innovative Option {M} line of trim products. They’ve taken all the guesswork out of mixing and matching trim with their collection of trim pieces that are grouped by decorating style. Whether you’re looking for lots of curves for a Bohemian look or the strong, rustic lines of Farmhouse style, you’ll find exactly what you need in each collection to complete a single room or your whole house. They even have recommendations for choosing molding based on ceiling height and the proportions of your room.  

To get started with Option {M} molding lines, try their fun style quiz to see what’s best for you. Once you’ve chosen your look, come to New England Building Supply for expert advice on installation and the best looks for Boston homes, whether you live in a triple decker or an old Federal farmhouse. We’ll help you make your final selections and send you home with the perfect Metrie molding for your home improvement project.

small patio makeover ideas 2

Next Post

7 Small Patio Makeover Ideas