Trimming Out a Room
Trimming out a room is now one of the hottest projects for the do-it-yourself market. Thanks to TV shows, magazines and various websites, homeowners are realizing that installing trim themselves is a very do-able project that can dramatically add to a room’s finished look, accenting an otherwise lackluster ceiling, wall or window. In addition to traditional crown molding and window and door casing, homeowners can also consider trim options such as fireplace mantels, cornices, medallions and more.
A basic trim upgrade for existing homes consists of base and crown molding. The more intricate your trim design, the higher the cost of materials. And, if you’re hiring someone to install it, the cost of installation rises with the extra time spent creating intricate moldings. Your chosen type of trim material will also impact the cost.
MDF is often the trim material of choice because it’s less expensive than solid wood. Trim pieces made from finger-jointed wood are widely used in remodeling applications because they don’t have knots and imperfections like solid pieces can have. Nevertheless, an experienced carpenter can fashion unique looks with moldings made from solid woods, such as mahogany, maple and poplar.
As alternatives to wood, polyurethane, composites and other synthetic materials are growing popular because they offer the look of wood when painted and don’t have the same maintenance problems associated with wood. Unlike wood trim, synthetics and composites resist insects, cracking, peeling, chipping, swelling, splitting and rotting, making them ideal for exterior use. These low-maintenance characteristics aren’t as critical for interior applications. However, for areas exposed to moisture, such as base molding in a bathroom or crown above a shower, synthetics might be a smart choice.
When selecting trim, also consider the overall priceand time spent on the fully installed project. For simple, one-piece interior installations with a basic profile, wood will likely be less expensive than synthetics. However, for complex moldings like crown dentil, synthetics are competitively priced. This is because intricate wood moldings can require a multiple-application process for the various components, adding to the installation time and increasing material cost. On the other hand, synthetic crown dentil comes pre-molded as a single piece, simplifying the installation procedure. Synthetics are also lighter than wood.
Plus, many wood trim pieces require sanding, priming and sealing. Synthetics require no sanding, priming or sealing. Making installation even easier, some manufacturers even offer shortcuts for synthetic trim, such as miterless crown molding systems. A miterless system consists of special right-angle corner pieces for inside and outside wall corners, eliminating the need to cut a miter in the molding. The one-piece corners easily match up with with the flat end of the molding. The miterless joints are concealed with decorative divider blocks—a really neat feature for the first-time installer.
Tricks to Upgrading a Room
With hectic schedules and work demands, many homeowners don’t have much time or energy for home upgrade projects. While some people believe entire “room makeovers” are necessary to make a difference in their homes, that’s not really the case.
“There are lots of quick, easy room upgrades that people can do to personalize their homes,” says Tina Mealer, marketing manager for Fypon, a leading manufacturer of urethane trim. “Boring rooms can be turned into showpiece marvels within a few short hours using our ‘tricks for upgrading a room.’ Even the most novice do-it-yourselfers can transform any room in the home using these tips.”
• Draw attention to ceiling fans and lights. Add decorative medallions to the top of ceiling fans and light fixtures. Lightweight and available in a range of styles from ornate to simplistic, medallions help turn a ceiling into the “fifth wall” of a room.
• Add texture with moldings. Forget about thin, boring trim pieces. Jazz up your room with textured crown moldings such as dentil, Florentine and Acanthus Leaf profiles. In rooms over 8 feet tall, don’t be afraid to install one-piece built-up urethane moldings that are 5 inches or taller to play off the height of your room.
• Break up your walls … vertically and horizontally. Offset windows and doors in a room with vertical pilasters. Usually installed on the outside of a home surrounding an entranceway, these decorative pieces add instant elegance to any room. To enhance a wainscot treatment, use chair-rail molding that compliments the crown molding in the room.
• Splurge on new soft goods. Don’t go to the expense of buying new furniture to upgrade the look of a room … just purchase some new throw pillows, curtains and rugs. A new soft goods package, including table runners, wall hangings and afghans, gives a room an entirely new feel, even though you’re keeping the same major furnishings.
• Surround your tub. Enhance a bathtub with a combination of urethane window panels and molding. Because urethane does not absorb water, the panels and trim are ideal for upgrading a master bath area.
• Bracket the windows. For a fast and easy window treatment, purchase two decorative brackets. Drill holes into the center of each of them. Install the brackets on either side of a window. Then, drape decorative fabric through the brackets to billow over the window as a treatment.
• Play up your windows. Surround window interiors with moldings that help turn the windows into “art for the walls.” For rooms with high ceilings, add a decorative crosshead and pediment above the window for a regal look.
• Fill up wall space. Don’t hide away your favorite collection of knick-knacks. Instead, create customized shelves for them and display proudly. Or, use moldings to devise your own shadow box to showcase your collection.
• Trim out focal features. Try adding millwork trim around a favorite mirror or picture to make it truly stand out on the wall. Faux finishing the trim to coordinate or contrast with wall coverings will make the piece even more special.
Editor’s Note: This portion of the article was provided by Fypon.
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