Interior architectural mouldings can be functional, decorative or both. Architectural mouldings come in many designs and can provide rooms with period style. Traditionally mouldings have been made from wood but MDF mouldings are now widely available as they offer several advantages over timber. An MDF moulding will not split; is knot free and is more flexible than timber, making it easier to fit to slightly undulating walls. This characteristic also eliminates the need to fill gaps between the moulding and the wall’s surface. When choosing moulding for a room it is important to select the same or similar design for all mouldings being fitted in a room. The most common varieties of architectural mouldings are described below.
Skirting or skirting board
Although the skirting can be purely functional providing a clean, neat base to the wall they can be also extremely decorative.
The moulding fitted around doors to conceal the joint between the door lining and the wall. DIY stores will have standard architrave mouldings but wider and more ornate architrave is available from specialist joiners.
Designed to hang pictures from, pictures rails have a groove along the top edge for metal hooks from which pictures can hang. Picture rails are fitted about 300mm to 500mm (1ft to 1ft 8in) below the ceiling. Even if you don’t want to hang pictures the picture rail can form a break in the wall to create a frieze as part of the interior design.
Also known as a chair rail, the dado rail is a decorative strip of moulding running around the room at waist height. This was a common feature in Victorian and Edwardian houses where it served as a rubbing strip to protect wall coverings from the backs of chairs in heavily furnished -if not cluttered – rooms of these periods.
Also called coving, this is purely a decorative feature fitted at the top of the wall where it meets the ceiling. Cornice mouldings are usually made from plaster but can be made from timber.