Best Proportions For Interior Trim – Why You’re Confused

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Ugh.

Have I ever began a post with the word, “ugh?”

I don’t think so.

 

So, why ugh for the topic of best proportions for interior trim?

 

Can’t we just use the same proportions for the outside of the house as the inside?

Sometimes. Maybe. Maybe not.

Like I said: Ugh.

The prevailing idea is simply to follow the proportions of the classical orders. Usually, the Doric Order that we used in last week’s post about exterior architectural proportions is used.

 

After all; being the logical person, I claim to be, here’s my thinking. If we can use the golden ratio to come up with the perfect exterior proportions, can’t we also do that for the interior proportions?

 

Oh gosh. Maybe. I can really see why you guys are scratching your heads. The situations are endless and the choices are in the thousands.

However, we need to begin somewhere, and rather than the golden ratio, the prevailing reference is to the classical orders when trying to figure out the best proportions for interior trim. And, while I haven’t checked, I imagine that they are inherently related to the golden ratio.

 

As you may recall from last week, according to William R. Ware, the author of the American Vignola, the entablature is 1/4″ of the length of the column. If there’s a pedestal, the pedestal is 1/3″ the length of the column.

 

Golden Ratio Proportion - entablature -Vignola

 

If we go back and review the video explaining Ware’s proportions, we’ll see that we need to divide the entablature, column and pedestal into 19 equal parts.

 

via this is carpentry - doric order dimensions 10 foot ceiling - Best Proportions Interior Mouldings

 

The Doric Order via this is carpentry.com

 

But, but, but, but, but… this is for a ceiling height of 120″ or a ten-foot ceiling.

Thank you very much.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! ALL ceilings should be at least ten feet high.

But… how many ceilings in residential buildings are at least that high?

 

And, there’s more concerning these rules of correct proportions for interior trim.

 

Laurel. Can we take a break for a minute. I have a splitting headache from all of these numbers.

 

Ya do, huh? Poor dears. Of course you do!!! My head just got up and walked out the other day it was so traumatized from trying to figure out all of this for a post. That is why we did the post about the charming renovation in Kentucky.

 

However, I hate to break it to you. We aren’t even close to being finished with the best proportions for interior trim.

 

So, take a break. Go clean out your fridge and come back. Or, better yet, head on over to Nordy’s before their anniversary sale ends! (I almost said annual anniversary sale. lol) It’s ending tonight, the 4th at 11:59PM.

 

I mean, the post isn’t going anywhere. Take a break and come back when you’re ready.

 

Okay, is everyone back? Well, never mind. Let’s keep going.

For argument’s sake, lets say that our ceiling height is 120.”

And, with a pedestal, our column diameter is 9.5.” (It’s all in the video from last week.)

You may recall, that in the entablature, the cornice and the frieze are each 3/4 of a diameter high. That would make each of those, 7.125.”

Please don’t stress yourselves out too much. Just go with it for now. This isn’t a matter of life and death. Usually.

Mulitply that by two and we get 14.250 inches. The archatrive is 1/2 a diameter which equals 4.75″ Okay, that gets us to our 19″ for the entire entablature.

The wall portion is 75.75″

 

And, the Dado or Wainscoting is only 24.25″ high. That means that the “chair rail” or dado or wainscot cap is at 24.25″ high. This also includes the baseboard moulding.

 

 Best Proportions Interior Mouldings - Metrie Mouldings

Metrie

 

Yes, this is for a ceiling height of 10 feet. The wainscoting is only about 1/5th the total height.

I know. What about the chair rail that’s supposed to be at about 32″-36″ on an eight-foot ceiling? Or, one-third of the total height?

Does this mean that on an eight-foot ceiling, our chair rail should be 20% lower than the 10-foot ceiling?

That would make our chair/dado/wainscot rail/cap at only 19.4″ high.

Is that right?

 

No, I don’t think so. But, neither is an eight-foot ceiling height. And, I have also had to work with seven-foot ceiling heights! Then, what? Do we have a chair rail/wainscot that’s only 16″ high?

 

Of course, not.

However, yes. a 25.5″ dado height is classically correct for any height ceiling, up to ten feet. (and maybe higher too.) But, just hang on a sec; we’ll be tying up these loose ends, shortly.

 

french-apartment-moulding-and-parquet-floors - best proportions for Interior trim

One of my favorite images of applied wall mouldings from a French Apartment.

 

Orac Decor - dado rail - best proportions for Interior trim

Via William Boyle in the UK. A very cool source to check out.

 

jessica Helgerson - instagram - beautiful mouldings - primed - Best Proportions for Interior Mouldings

I love this proportion in this room in progress by Jessica Helgerson. And, I love how the dado cap dies into the window sill. Brilliant designer by one of my favorite interior designers. And, then look at that crown and ceiling treatment. Yes, that’s right. We should all just give up and go home.

I don’t know if this is Jessica’s design. It could’ve also been an architect, the builder or it was copied from another building. But, the point is… I can give you some rules and guidelines, but when it comes down to it, it takes very careful planning to get this right.

And, there’s also an element of artistry as in all things design.

In addition, it does very much help to have a high ceiling. There’s just that much more to work with. And height in ceilings always lends itself to more drama. (the elegant kind!)

 

It’s when we have a lower ceiling, that we need to be exceedingly careful with proportion.

 

The point, of course, is that we have to develop a new set of rules.

And, that’s not just because of the best proportions for interior trim, but because of scale.

We have to scale down those measurements. But, not by a lot. It’s only when we start getting into the super high ceilings that we can afford to let loose with the fancy stuff.

 

robert-adam-country-houses Osterly Park - photo - Paul Barker - correct proportions for interior mouldingsOsterly Park – photo – Paul Barker via Architectural Digest

 

Amazing example of neo-classical architecture by Robert Adam. And there’s our Corinthian order.

 

This is the big difference between exterior dimensions and interior dimensions. Scale and proportion on an exterior are related to the building as a whole entity.

 

The interior scale and proportion is related to the human form which is also related to the size of the furnishings. Or, at least that’s how I see it.

 

So, Laurel, in your post that’s ALL about wainscoting, you state that the ideal height for a chair rail for an eight-foot ceiling is at about 35.” That’s what you had in your old home and you said that it was perfect.

 

So, even if you did the chair rail at 24″ like for the ten-foot ceiling, you are still 11″ off.

 

Which is it? They both can’t be right.

 

Well, actually, yes, they can.

The lower dado rail that’s akin to Vignola’s classical order is absolutely correct, as we saw in the three examples above.

 

best proportions for Interior trim

Gorgeous Parisian apartment. Original source unknown.

 

via architectdesign.blogspot.com the-houses-of-james-means - best proportions for interior mouldings

via Architectural Design blog – From The Houses of James Means

Oh, how I love architectural drawings. This was always my favorite thing to do when I was in design school. This elevation depicts a full paneled wall and a chair rail that’s at about 36″. I know that because I’m presuming that the window seat is at about 18″.

Therefore, the lower dado height of about 24″ is correct as is the taller chair rail that came into being most likely in the 18th century. It was built at that height to protect the walls from the furniture that often leaned up against it.

 

And, it was at about that height whether the ceiling was seven feet or 17 feet!

 

The only exception, I can think of, would be a double panel moulding or one meant to go up about three-quarters up the wall.

 

2 bedroom blues board and batten wainscoting - correct proportions for interior mouldings

Something like this.

 

Jessica Helgerson - instagram - Best Proportions for Interior Trim

Another beauty by Jessica Helgerson from her Insta showing a gorgeous tall wainscoting paneling.

This is what makes me a little bit nutso.

 

Well, one thing. haha.

Just because the room keeps getting taller doesn’t mean that the moulding keeps getting bigger and bigger. It doesn’t. There might be more layers and more of it, but the moulding itself isn’t generally that much larger.

There would be other things going on in the second story, like clerestory windows. And there might be two cornices. But, let’s not go there right now, because how many of us have a 20 foot ceiling?

 

Most of us have an eight – ten foot ceiling height. But, the majority of us have an eight foot ceiling.

 

So, for the sake of us not completely losing our minds, I’m going to focus on that number.

But, here’s another problem.

I read in several articles that to figure out the height of the baseboard, just make it 7% of the wall height.

 

The 7% solution. When sizing a baseboard in a traditional-style home, a good starting point is to use a ratio of 7%. So if your ceiling height is 8 feet high, try a baseboard that’s about 7 inches tall.

 

Therefore, if our wall is 96″ high, that means that our baseboard is 6.72″.  It’s a little tall. But, I would say 5.5″-6″ for an eight-foot ceiling. Therefore, closer to 6%.

 

But, what concerns me even more is that they say the same dimension is good for the crown moulding.

 

No. The crown for an eight-foot ceiling would be about half of that!

And to be clear, this is how one measures a crown moulding.

via easy crown moulding - crown moulding dimensions.Easy Crown Moulding

 

crown mouldings dykes lumber

 

Above are three beautiful crown moulding profiles from Dykes Lumber. The one in the middle is the one I used in my townhouse. It was perfect for our eight-foot ceiling.

One important thing to remember amongst many. There’s a lot of discussion about a cornice and then a crown moulding. While there are some petite cornices, usually, those are reserved for rooms with at least a nine-foot ceiling.

However, below is a gorgeous example of a 10-foot ceiling with a classic cornice and crown moulding combination.

via Remodelista - cornice and crown moulding - 10-foot-ceiling-height-ShadowArch-Riverside-Drive-Living - best proportions for interior trim

via Remodelista

 

Incidentally, the wall color is Benjamin Moore Marilyn’s Dress, one of the 144 beautiful paint colors in the Laurel Home Paint, Palette and Home Furnishings Collection. 

 

correct proportions for interior mouldings - wainscoting from Dykes Lumber

 

These are the mouldings we used for our wainscoting applied wall trim. I loved those too!

The questions is… How can we figure out the proportions? Well, in this case, I’ve done so many eight-foot ceilings, I pretty much know. But, I’m going to attempt to make it more scientific.

Here’s what I’ve done to find the correct proportions for interior trim for an eight-foot ceiling.

 

This is from the video we saw on last Sunday’s post. You can go back to review it by clicking here.

 

via this is carpentry - doric order dimensions 10 foot ceiling

Above is the Doric Order for a ten-foot ceiling via This is Carpentry.

 

If we chop off the pedestal, we’re very close to the eight-foot ceiling height.

So, that’s what I did by submerging it under the floor.

 

best proportions for Interior mouldings 8-ft Ceiling Based on Doric Order

 

You can see it faintly below the floor line. By submerging the pedestal, we are left with 15 = parts measuring approximately 6 5/16″ of an inch or roughly 6.33″.

By the way, please be feel confident that the scale here is eight feet; because when I made my graphic, I slid a layer of virtual graph paper behind everything on picmonkey. Two squares equaled one foot. When I was finished, I just deleted that layer. That way we aren’t looking at a grid.

It works out very nicely.  You can see on the right side of the graphic the corresponding placement and sizes for the applied wall mouldings.

You probably won’t have a picture rail for an eight-foot ceiling, but I think if you do a smallish crown, no larger than 3″ and a low chair rail, no higher than 32″, you could have one. But, it’s not necessary.

 

The truth of the matter is that there is no exact measurement for any of your mouldings. There are only guidelines for the best proportions for interior trim

 

Once, we have the eight-foot dimensions set, all we need to do is increase them by about 10% for each additional foot.

But, here’s the thing.

I belong to the school, if there is such a thing that when it comes to mouldings, a little too small is much better than a little too big. And, when I thought about it some more, some of the dimensions don’t really change much if at all even though the wall is taller.

Below, I made a cheat-sheet graphic to show approximate sizes and heights for the chair and picture rails for eight, nine and ten foot ceilings.

 

cheat sheet for best proportions for Interior trim, mouldings and dimensions

Of course, there’s still so much more to cover. But, for more about mouldings, please check out these posts.

All about Wainscoting

Can a modern style home mix with traditiional mouldings?

Boxy, Boring Room is there any Hope?

How To Make Small Rooms Look Bigger

Rooms with Great Bones Architectural Mouldings

Architectural Plaster Ceiling Designs

 

I just came across this beautiful English Country Home. A lot of these guidelines have been put into play, but you can see beautiful proportions for all of the architectural elements, plus the interior wall mouldings. Gorgeous property too!

 

Well, I think that’s it for now. I hope that some of this info about the best proportions for interior mouldings has been helpful. I know that it’s a lot to take in, but my best closing bit of advice is to make a mock up of what you’re planning to do.  Some contractors I’ve worked with have done this and it’s very helpful to see it in real first before committing to an entire room.

Best,

 

PS: Please check out the great hot sales this weekend and also only hours left until the Nordy’s Anniversary sale is over until next summer.

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Margaret Vant Erve - August 19, 2019 - 7:51 AM

    Thanks for that link Laurel. Those are wonderful creative examples. Thank you for correcting me. I think in the two examples I had Worked on, the rooms were long and unspectacular so the semi-gloss painted crown moulding just stood out in a non-enhancing way against the neutral earthy toned walls. When I repainted the walls, I did the crown moulding the same colour and sheen as the walls. It made the rooms look so much better and gave the allusion of height. I do love your suggestion of the opal essence colour. I will look into it some more. Thanks for following up .ReplyCancel

  • Elle - August 18, 2019 - 4:58 PM

    Hi Laurel! I have 7′ ceilings (I’d love to have 8′ ones!!) and got a little lost in the math… Would 3″ crown mouldings work in my home? Any other practical advice for pairing crown moulding with 7′ ceilings? Came from a beautiful Victorian with 13′ ceilings and it’s been an adjustment moving into our 40s home that is suffering from boxy boring syndrome thanks to decades of tasteless renovations – your pictures of crown moulding on low ceilings elsewhere on the blog reassured me that the ceilings won’t look lower if we add some!ReplyCancel

  • Sue Sims - August 8, 2019 - 12:20 PM

    The original fireplace was a 1970s flagstone horror with a raised hearth and concrete (?) mantel – I don’t recall the original height. The new mantel is 63″ high. I can replace it with something that has a lower profile (or maybe fix this one); I just don’t know how close to ideal I can get if I replace it, so I don’t know if it’s worth the expense. What would the ideal height be for a fireplace mantel in a home with eight foot ceilings – typical developer’s tract-style home (assuming all building codes are met regarding the firebox)?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 10, 2019 - 2:05 PM

      Hi Sue,

      I will be discussing this for tomorrow’s post. It’s a great topic. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Sue Sims - August 7, 2019 - 6:00 PM

    Hi, Laurel! Such great info! I’m trying to figure out the ideal height for my fireplace mantel. I have the required clearances from the firebox by code, but the mantel and surround I purchased and installed looks too high with my 8’ ceilings (Ooops.) – especially with the fugly TV my husband insisted on mounting over it. I couldn’t find anything in the post, or in prior blogs regarding the height of mantels. I think I may have to chalk this one up to experience v. painting it the wall color, or doing some other design trick . . . .ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2019 - 9:59 PM

      Hi Sue,

      You’re right, I haven’t discussed it. But, it’s true. There usually isn’t a lot of space above a mantel in an eight foot ceiling home. Our mantel was raised, as well making it even worse.ReplyCancel

  • Lily - August 7, 2019 - 4:54 PM

    The part that confuses people about Craftsman/Tudor paneling is that it’s not-at-all inspired by Classical proportions. Craftsman design specifically rejected Classical influences. So, those board and batten designs will follow completely different rules. You’ve linked to a carpenter before and iirc he has a whole guide on interior trim including the different guidelines for Craftsman style trims.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - August 6, 2019 - 9:38 PM

    Hi Laurel – It’s new to me, but have you seen recessed baseboards? What do you think of them?ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca Perez - August 5, 2019 - 8:20 PM

    Laurel, thank you so much for this incredibly informative post! Do you have rules for widths of door and window casings as well? It seems builders only use the scrawny 2 1/4” big box store abominations these days, if any at all. P.S. We turned our plain builder home into a custom beauty via mouldings like the ones in your post (along with your paint colors and other recommendations), and when we listed, it sold in 12 days! So thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 6, 2019 - 1:27 PM

      Hi Rebecca,

      That’s a good question. I left that out because I am tackling windows separately — right now. So, please hang on.

      And so happy that whatever I said was helpful to you and helped you get a quick home sale! Love that!ReplyCancel

  • Margaret Vant Erve - August 5, 2019 - 12:12 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Great post. Nice to have the guidelines. Another consideration with regard to crown moulding is whether to paint it the wall colour or ceiling colour. I’ve seen and done both, but I do find definitely, when I’ve worked on and 8’ high ceiling, especially in a larger room, it is always better to paint the moulding the same colour as the walls. Anytime I see crown moulding painted the same as the ceiling on 8’ high walls, it always gives the feeling of being closed in. And the worst offence is painting the crown moulding in semigloss to match the trim.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 6, 2019 - 1:25 PM

      Hi Margaret,

      I’m wondering if your last line is reading correctly. Crown moulding is trim. Maybe you meant to say “ceiling” instead of “crown moulding?” In any case. If the walls are white, I usually paint everything the same color. It will look slightly different anyway, with the different finishes. The ceiling I do in flat or matte, the trim in semi-gloss and the walls in matte or egg shell.

      But, on a lower ceiling like in my old home, painting it a pale blue, green gray like Benjamin Moore Opal Essence 680 gives the ceiling the optical illusion that it is floating. You can see an example in this post.

      And yes, Opal Essence is one of the 144 colors in my paint and palette collection. There are some other good choices for ceiling colors in the collection, as well.ReplyCancel

  • Jane - August 4, 2019 - 7:40 PM

    Laurel, This was such a great, informative article. You must have graduated summa cum laude and drunk 12 red bulls to put it together! I learned so much; it felt like going to school again. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Jane - August 4, 2019 - 7:34 PM

    If I may, I would add that it depends on how long you plan on living in your townhouse. If you’ll be there for several years and you want to improve your surroundings for your own sense of beauty and peacefulness, that too is a valid reason to upgrade.ReplyCancel

  • Val - August 4, 2019 - 5:36 PM

    UGH for sure! Terrific post!!! So helpful!
    Jessica’s interior architecture is stunning. Her floor design is superb too. I wish I could see it better!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 4, 2019 - 9:34 PM

      Hi Val,

      Maybe the project is finished and photographed by now.ReplyCancel

  • Mary E - August 4, 2019 - 2:57 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I just asked my husband if we could replace our 2 7/8”
    baseboards. He explained he’s not a fan of putting money into our townhouse that we won’t get back.
    He had been told by an appraiser that townhouses in our neighborhood are priced the same unless there is a difference in square footage or the number of bathrooms or bedrooms.
    Apparently beautiful baseboards don’t add any value to our 90’s built townhouse. 🤦‍♀️😢ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 4, 2019 - 4:18 PM

      Hi Mary,

      That’s most likely true. We did much more than the baseboards and then lived with it for another 16 years or so. I do think that the beautiful mouldings helped to contribute to a very fast home sale, however. And we did get full asking price. However, there were other factors as we lived in an exceedingly desirable school district, within walking distance of a small shopping center and the commuter railroad, but still in a country-like setting.

      Plus, there was virtually no other inventory in that price range. What’s funny is that the people who bought it had 5-yr old twins and lived across the street from where I live now. I had already moved. Total coincidence! It’s about 30 miles north of here.ReplyCancel

  • GL - August 4, 2019 - 2:17 PM

    Yes, as far as I know, the quarter-round at the junction of skirting board and floor is an American thing. It looks funny to me (in France), and I find it disconcerting when it’s the finish round kitchen cabinet kickboards. Is it because Americans change their flooring often? I’d love to redo our kitchen floor, but it isn’t going to happen as that would involve removing all the cabinets to dig out the old floor and replace it.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 4, 2019 - 4:13 PM

      Hi Gilly,

      The quarter round is there to cover up any gaps between the bottom of the baseboard and floor. If the floor is changed, the quarter-round has to be removed and then put back, but usually, that means a new moulding.ReplyCancel

  • Marianne - August 4, 2019 - 1:25 PM

    Thank you for this post. I’m about to start an unplanned remodel (a nearby river put two inches of water into my home). I have tall ceilings and plan on using wider base trim on the floor as part of future damage mitigation planning. My carpenter thinks I’m crazy, but I plan on showing him some of the pictures you posted.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 4, 2019 - 4:11 PM

      Hi Marianne,

      Builders often get stuck in their ways, I find. And, if their ways aren’t so keen to begin with, you’ll get the “he thinks I’m crazy speech.” Too bad. I’m always learning new things along with the rest of you, and if I can, so can your carpenter!ReplyCancel

  • Donna - August 4, 2019 - 1:01 PM

    Well, it looks like I have crown and baseboard trim for 10 foot ceilings when I have 8 foot ceilings. My house is nearly 60 years old and I’m pretty sure it’s always been this way. I’ve lived in three homes with 8’ ceilings and 8” baseboards. I’m used to seeing it in many homes around here because I live in Richmond, Virginia where much of the architecture is heavily influenced by old southern colonial homes, whether it is the right thing to do or not, I guess! The same with decor; there was a time when one felt compelled to buy anything with the Williamsburg trademark on the bottom because nothing else would suffice in our colonial homes! LOL! Of all the things I want to do to my house, I think correcting it would be at the bottom of the list, and I kinda like it, anyway. But if I catch anyone starring at my trim, I’m gonna wonder what they are thinking! Hahaha!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 4, 2019 - 4:08 PM

      Hi Donna,

      One thing I didn’t mention is the shape (profile) of the mouldings. Sometimes it flattens out and is bigger and looks fine. Also at play is the wall color. If everything is painted one color or very close than a larger than optimal moulding won’t stand out. In addition, an 8″ baseboard isn’t terrible, in any case. It’s the top-heavy crown that I think looks odd for an eight-foot ceiling.ReplyCancel

  • Laura - August 4, 2019 - 12:29 PM

    I’m so glad you wrote this post and I saw it now! I’ve been living in a baseboard-less fixer upper for 6 months and it’s killing me so I’ve been about ready to just slap in some of that cheap standard baseboard so it’ll at least feel finished, but now I know that height would be too small for our house. So you’ve saved me from making a mistake, thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 4, 2019 - 4:04 PM

      Hi Laura,

      There isn’t that much difference in price, but mouldings, IMO are the biggest bang one can get for the money. The biggest expense is the labor, unless you’re doing it yourself. Our old townhouse had what is known as a “sanitary” base. It’s 2.5″ and perfectly plain. We did not change it around the windows, but when we added in the crown and wainscot panel moulding with a chair rail and the baseboard, it made an astonishing difference to the feel of the entire place.ReplyCancel

  • Magdalena - August 4, 2019 - 12:07 PM

    So timely! I live in a suburban condo with almost 9 foot ceilings and 100% builder finish. My baseboards are 1 1/2 in. I want to replace them with more substantial ones, and was wondering how tall I should go. If am not putting any other moulding, just the baseboards, they should still be about 6in, correct? Not sure if that matter, but the floors are carpeted, except on the stairs, and for various reasons that is not changing.
    My other issue is the door frames. I have several doors so close to the corner of the room that only a 3in door trim will fit. Is it OK to have a 3 in door trim and 6in baseboards? Because moving the doors is not going to happen….

    I love your blog!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 4, 2019 - 12:17 PM

      Hi Magdalena,

      Yes, the 6″ baseboard will be much better! And yes, it’s fine to do a 3″ door casing if that’s all the room you have. Usually, the door and window casings are the same.ReplyCancel

  • sharri harmel - August 4, 2019 - 11:03 AM

    Laurel, I’m purchasing an apartment in Paris (yes, lucky gal) and I’m noticing that there is no shoe moulding- nor is there in several of your above photos. Is shoe moulding an American thing? Without it, the baseboard looks really weird especially if the floors are not even. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • LD - August 4, 2019 - 10:48 AM

    When you said 1/7 of the wall height for baseboard, did you mean 7% as you state below that? 1/7 seems like huge baseboard? 😉 Unless I misunderstood what you wrote—which, of course, is highly likely. This stuff is all new to me! Love your sense of humor, Laurel!ReplyCancel

  • GL - August 4, 2019 - 9:58 AM

    Another terrific post, Laurel. You’ve had me scuttling round our ground-floor rooms checking the proportions! With 272 cm (8 foot 11 ceilings), but 262 cm below the beams, I’m visually between your 8 foot and 9 foot proportions, so the charts are perfect, although I don’t have to worry about cornice or crown, because the beams do the job anyway. This is going to be a tremendous help as I re-do the trompe l’oeil panelling in the dining room — I just eyeballed it first time round!ReplyCancel

  • Susan - August 4, 2019 - 8:53 AM

    Hi Laurel
    Thank you!
    When I was doing my interior mouldings last year
    ‘This is carpentry’ was the article I followed for all our trim work. Not that ANY of the guys knew what the heck I was talking about, and I tried to show them…
    Still persisted to tell me 36” was the best height for my chair rail in the dining room. (They also installed a massive looking coffered ceiling in a friends 8’ dining room Which makes me FEEL like I want to duck while eating in the room)
    In the article Brent Hull recommended 24” chair rail, which is the way I went, and couldn’t be happier with the proportions and results.
    BUT your articles and beautiful images led me to find the right proportions. It’s something you can feel even if you don’t realize it.
    Great article!ReplyCancel

  • Pat - August 4, 2019 - 8:46 AM

    Perfect! Just what I needed. Thank you Laurel!ReplyCancel

  • Katie - August 4, 2019 - 8:19 AM

    So interesting—thank you as always!ReplyCancel

  • Diane Rasmussen - August 4, 2019 - 7:42 AM

    This is so helpful! You need to write a book with this information. In the meantime I’m going to print some of your charts and start a design notebook for reference. Thank you, thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Alex - August 4, 2019 - 6:33 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    Great post as always, really enjoyed it! I wish I had it when I was choosing baseboards and crowns for my apartment haha! My ceilings are a bit over 8ft (2,6m so 8’6″?) so sadly big mouldings and architectural decorations are out of the question (big fan of classical architecture here). I too did read article about 7% rule so I made mine baseboards 6,8 inches, maybe a bit tall but I like the look. The crown mouldings were bigger problem, at the time the model for my living room was Phoebe Howard’s living room from her Atlanta apartment, she did say in an article that the ceiling were 8ft there, so I asked her through Houzz (I know…that site) how big the crown was and she replied that they are 10″ – rather big if you ask me but then it looks great on photos soo… I eventually went with 5,5″ crown and it looks very nice (got a lesson not to assume that the people who install the mouldings know how to do that properlly too i.e. which side up).ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 4, 2019 - 11:26 AM

      Hi Alex,

      No way did Phoebe Howard do a 10″ crown on an eight foot ceiling. Even measuring it on the diagonal side. My baseboards are about 6.5″ for my nine foot ceilings and most are original. I love them, but the really old ones should’ve been replaced because they are over-painted.

      And yes, I have seen more than one moulding put on upside down.ReplyCancel

  • Beth Smith - August 4, 2019 - 5:44 AM

    Hello Laurel and thank you for this very timely post. I am in the midst of adding moldings and this information is very helpful. Quick question, please. I have completed double picture frame moldings, large on top and smaller on the bottom separated by chair rail, in my Dining Room. I painted it all Simply White and the room is gorgeous. I hate to detract from the walls themselves but the room needs something. Would you hang artwork in between the boxes or leave the room as is? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 4, 2019 - 11:22 AM

      Hi Beth,

      I can’t see your room and my brain is already sore and bruised from hours of mental mathematical gymnastics. But, generally, one can hang art or mirrors on walls with panel moulding. Maybe look on Pinterest for examples.ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - August 4, 2019 - 5:02 AM

    I do hope you will soon be done with your calculations, Laurel. I cannot even read it. It makes my head spin. Sorry..I have zero interest in anything mathematical…lol..ugh!ReplyCancel

  • Korina - August 4, 2019 - 4:56 AM

    Yay! Perfect timing. I am finishing up some end panels for kitchen cabinets and then I shall be making my own molding. I hope. Should be fun, major learning curve.

    Question…what does one do with sloped or a cathedral ceiling? My kitchen goes from 8 feet to 14 feet and what to do? It looks terribly plain up there. Unfinished.

    Love love love love the last several posts, look forward to them so much! Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 4, 2019 - 11:17 AM

      Hi Korina,

      You’re making your own moulding? That’s adventurous! Cathedral ceilings usually have beams. A crown moulding doesn’t usually work. I can’t see your particular situation. I think there’s a post here that has some cathedral ceilings. I think it’s related to stained trim.ReplyCancel

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