Selecting wood mouldings: Things to consider

by Darren
Selecting wood mouldings

Dylan Miller from Swartland gives tips on how to select the right wood mouldings for the perfect interior design effect.


Decorative mouldings can enhance almost any architectural detailing. Whether you want to add a sense of grandeur or simply add a subtle decorative touch, mouldings offer a great solution.

Dylan Miller from Swartland says the impact that well-chosen and professionally installed mouldings can have on a space is often underestimated. “If well executed, they can really transform a space from mundane and boring, into a truly finished space that exudes elegance and class,” says Miller.

Decorative mouldings can be made from medium-density fibreboard (MDF), polystyrene and wood, among other materials. If the goal is to stain or varnish wood, however, it is advisable to choose a genuine hardwood. If you’re intending to paint the mouldings with a solid colour, then more affordable solid pine timber mouldings are a better choice.

“Hardwood mouldings are great for a pure, warm timber finish for a classic look. Pine is ideal for a paint finish, as the opaque colour will inevitably hide the knots in the wood. If the intention is to stain the wood mouldings so that the natural grain of the timber can still be seen, select mouldings that have a similar grain pattern,” explains Miller.

There are a few things that design professionals should keep in mind when specifying timber mouldings. The style of the mouldings, for example, should complement the architectural and décor style of your home. It is also important to consider how the wood dried. Kiln-dried wood, with a low moisture content, will minimise natural movement in the wood.

The most common types of standard mouldings are:
•    The architrave: A moulded frame used to surround a doorway, window, arch or fireplace.
•    The plinth block: This is a decorative, rectangular block of wood on which an architrave will stand for added stability and good looks.
•    The skirting: These are installed where the wall meets the floor and helps to protect the wall from scuffs caused by shoes, furniture, brooms or vacuum cleaners.
•    The cornice: To fill the gap between the wall and the ceiling.
•    The picture rail: A picture rail should be installed at the same height as the top of the door, and was traditionally used to hang pictures using string and hooks.
•    The dado rail: A moulding that is fixed horizontally along a wall about 75cm from the floor. This divides the wall into two parts – the top and the bottom.

Different effects can also be created by combining mouldings. “You can make impressive trim features by combining various moulding profiles. Combine smaller mouldings to create larger, more imposing profiles – this allows for endless possibilities for customisation, and smaller mouldings have the added benefit of being easier to work with as they are easier to cut and allow for more flexibility on irregular walls,” concludes Miller.

Tel: 011 671 0400
Website: www.swartland.co.za

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