How to Add Some “Wow!” with Woodwork

by hookedonhouses on May 11, 2009

I get a lot of requests for posts about woodwork and crown molding, so I asked Tim “The Remodeling Guy” to weigh in on the topic.

I have an abnormal fascination with woodwork. I’m a hard core believer. Are you? If so, you’ll love this post. If not, I’m going to try and convert you! Julia has graciously loaned me her platform today and when she suggested that you might like to read about trim work, I was thrilled.

I love trim for two big reasons:

  1. It’s wood. That means I can work with it. I can shape it, mold it and otherwise cajole it into the position where it will be the most effective.
  2. It makes a huge impact! Just a small amount of strategically placed trim can make a difference much greater than you might imagine. I love that!

Using wood trim, you can take any room of any shape, size, or style and improve upon it in as little as a few hours. And you don’t have to be an experienced pro to do it! You just have to be willing to learn!

Where to Start

If you’re on a mission to upgrade your trim, you might be wondering where to start. Which ones to do first? Of course the answer is unique to your home because each house/room is different. But I can tell you the order I would go in:

1. Door Casing

A nicely trimmed door or opening looks fantastic. Upgrading the door trim is one of the simplest improvements you can make, yet it rewards you immensely and for years to come.

2. Baseboard

I might have mentioned this first, but in order to have flexibility in Baseboard design, you have to have your door casing done right! It’s important to always have door trim that’s deep enough to allow your baseboard to run into the side of it cleanly without sticking out. (sometimes they use “plinth blocks” for this purpose)

A nice baseboard anchors a room in a way that nothing else can. Personally, I prefer them tall and thick. I want room on top for a nice base cap and room at the bottom for a great shoe molding. I love a three-piece or more built-up base trim.

3. Window Casing

I’d do window casing next. Installing wood trim around windows makes more difference in many houses than any other trim job because it’s something that many builders leave out of the package! It’s easy to do and can make a room!

4. Crown Molding

Finally, I would do the crown molding. I’ve seen people procrastinate on this for years because it just seems so hard to do. I say do it! If you just totally don’t want to fight with the angles on large crown, use a flat board with a small cove molding at the top or some similar combination. The smaller the piece of trim you’re trying to cut, the easier it is to get than angle to line up.

I’d encourage you to try the big stuff though. The angle cuts aren’t that hard and installation isn’t impossible if you’re patient. And there is always the option of hiring a professional. I’ve had trim crews who could run the crown in a house, a whole four bedroom house (every room) in a day with three men working. Sometimes it’s easier just to hire someone!

Pick a Spot and Start

No matter which type of trim you start with, I encourage you to give it a try. The change you’ll see in your home is worth every bit of effort and expense. (IMHO!)

Of course, your list of options is much longer than four items! There are choices about materials, profiles, fasteners, and finishes. There are hundreds of other types and uses for trim and they all make a difference! I hope you go for it!


Thanks Julia for giving me the opportunity to guest post here at Hooked On Houses! I love your blog and I’m honored to be here! ~ Tim

For more information on this topic, check out the very helpful series about trim on Tim’s popular blog Remodeling Guy.

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Remodeling Guy May 11, 2009 at 10:07 pm

The “Incredible Blogging Duo” you say! Who knew? I wouldn’t have seen that in our future if you asked me a year ago! Thanks for having me over here Julia. I hope all your readers come back tomorrow! :-)

Best to you!


Remodeling Guy’s last blog post..Talking Trim at Hooked On Houses!

Suzann May 11, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Absolutely wonderful!!! I’m a firm believer that woodwork can make a room shine!

Suzann’s last blog post..Happy 15th Birthday Princess!

B. May 11, 2009 at 10:22 pm

beautiful and i love that yellow in the first pic!

Mom in High Heels May 12, 2009 at 2:48 am

Wow, Tim, you really get around! I see you popping up all over blogland lately. Good thing you’re so adorable!

Mom in High Heels’s last blog post..Ta-da! Meta-ME!

Sue | SA Commercial Property May 12, 2009 at 3:04 am

Wood really does add something to a home, the only thing is that it can become something that has to be maintained and the up keep depending on where in the home the wood is used can become expensive, like if it is used on window frames.

Pat May 12, 2009 at 5:30 am

I love trim! One of these days I’ll do a post on the kitchen hearth room redo. What a difference trim made in those rooms, at our house!

Great inspiration photos!

Thanks so much for letting me know about Fifi’s giveaway. I am speechless!!! WOW!

Pat’s last blog post..~Azaleas in the Dining Room Garden~

susan May 12, 2009 at 6:50 am

I totally agree wit you. One of things I love about older homes is the attention paid to woodwork. Recently saw original seashell crown molding in an apt.- turned- condo building. It was fabulous. The 20-something owner HATED it–go figure :)

susan’s last blog post..Three or More Tuesday…And Then There Were Three

Jamie May 12, 2009 at 7:06 am

Wow is right! I love lots of great woodwork in a home! It makes all the difference.

Jane @ Beach House May 12, 2009 at 7:44 am

I’m totally obsessed with wood but being a uniquely modern girl I don’t like moldings (at least not in my house) – I want the wood itself to be the star: oak beams, teak rails, walnut furniture. I love the door casing around the bath tub, it makes a great statement without being fussy

Jane @ Beach House’s last blog post..Green Beach House

teaorwine May 12, 2009 at 7:56 am

In photo#2, I really like that the electric outlets have been placed in the baseboard AND moved to a horizontal position. Nice!

teaorwine’s last blog post..Happy Mother’s Day

christy May 12, 2009 at 8:11 am

Tim – what great advice! We decided to tackle crown molding projects in our last home, and in our current home, and couldn’t be more pleased with the results. It really adds that extra punch to the room – and I just love it. Great photos you chose to go along with your post. Fabulous!

christy’s last blog post..Vacation decompression

Mike May 12, 2009 at 8:35 am

Love, love, love this post, Julia! (And Tom!) And the photos are fantastic. Jamie and I have all sorts of woodwork projects in mind for out townhouse – Tom is right, so many builders just leave the most basic stuff out.

Mike May 12, 2009 at 8:36 am

Oh, sorry – correction – thanks TIM! My apologies.

Linda@Lime in the Coconut May 12, 2009 at 8:57 am

I’m still ooogling and ogling that bathtub pic! Swooooon.

Linda@Lime in the Coconut’s last blog post..…Come sit outside with me…

DesignTies May 12, 2009 at 9:15 am

We installed wainscoting in our living room and dining room. There was already a chair rail in the two rooms, but it looked kind of puny and insignificant. All we did was nail strips of MDF to the walls under the chair rail to create a grid-style wainscoting. It made a HUGE difference to the overall look of the rooms.

Beefing up existing trim or adding new trim is definitely a great way to add to the beauty of your home. Thanks for sharing your tips and taking some of the mystery out of it. And as you said, if you really can’t do it yourself, hire someone!! :-)

Kelly @ DesignTies

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Aunt Amelia May 12, 2009 at 9:30 am

Another great entry! Thank you.

And thank you for answering my question, on ‘Movie Monday’ post. “How do you get these pics?”, I asked.

Love your blog so much, that I just linked to it, in my blog. Hope this is ok.

Aunt Amelia

Aunt Amelia’s last blog post..‘Hooked On Houses’

Courtney May 12, 2009 at 9:38 am

okay that first photo is so getting cute out to go in our next house photo book. love it

Bella Casa May 12, 2009 at 10:56 am


Bella Casa’s last blog post..Home & Garden at Aldi’s (Who Knew?)

Cher May 12, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Brilliant! Thanks so much for this. We’re in the process of buying a 1925 house, and it has practically no trimwork! I guess it got stripped over the years, but we’re definitely putting it back!

Sarah (Thriftydecorchick) May 12, 2009 at 12:10 pm

That first picture makes my heart go pitter pat!! I love it!

Sarah (Thriftydecorchick)’s last blog post..A beadboard kitchen island.

rue May 12, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Hi Julia and Tim :)

That’s why I love old homes! They already have most of the trim ;)

Rich put most of the trim in the last house we had (it wasn’t old), because like Tim said a lot of builders skip it, but it was so easy! I think it makes a house special and even if it’s new, it can give it an old feel.


rue’s last blog post..Mother’s Day on the porch

Jennifer May 12, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Love it! Thanks for the info!

Jennifer’s last blog post..The Gift of Mother’s Day

Leila Lawler May 12, 2009 at 8:59 pm

You are so right — and this is why I love old houses, even though the woodwork comes with chipped paint and all the rest :)

Leila Lawler’s last blog post..Dare to repair: shabby beats none at all! — and a book recommendation.

thecincyblog May 13, 2009 at 9:46 am

Makes me think I should have married a carpenter instead of an engineer- oh well!

thecincyblog’s last blog post..Real Estate for Fairfield and Fairfield Township

Lisa Porter May 19, 2009 at 9:11 pm

ok I have to come back and spend a long time with this post…
Lately, well, actually forever I have been mad for millwork & moulding!!!
I have an embarrassingly huge file on the stuff! Hey…if you ever need a picture email me…i love to share.

Catherine September 16, 2009 at 4:17 pm

I just love looking at homes and getting Ideas for my own! Catherine

Steve May 10, 2010 at 8:54 pm

The picture of the ceiling coffers features a bad use of crown at the top of the columns (piers) where a supportive moulding should be used.

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