Truly polished decor mostly comes down to those tiny touches throughout your home. It’s that great accent lamp you got from an estate sale, the unique glass hardware installed on a set of drawers, or—best of all—beautiful trim molding on your windows. Trim molding adds intention to your interior design, elevating the overall impact of your windows. It makes them stand out as an architectural focal point, rather seeming like an unfinished afterthought.
Molding makes a great DIY project, even for those homeowners with little to no experience in home renovations. Plus, it can even help boost your window’s energy efficiency. Let’s take a look at the basics of window trim molding, so you can decide if this decor element is right for your home.
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Trim Molding: A Primer
Builders and homeowners use molding in a variety of locations throughout the home. Decorative crown molding adds an accent around the base of a ceiling, while baseboard molding goes between the floor and the wall to make it appear more finished.
Window trim, often referred to as casing, measures between two to three inches in most cases, and comes in a range of different styles. Most homeowners purchase it pre-cut from a home improvement store. However, if you want something truly unique, you can also hire a woodworker or frame maker to hand carve designs into the wood.
Window Trim Elements
Window trim can be as embellished or minimalist as you like. While many different types of trim exist for windows, you don’t necessarily have to add every single part. Each piece performs a different function and must be joined to the surrounding trim, as well. Here’s a list of the different pieces.
- Crown molding: Often applied as a decorative flourish at the top of windows in Georgian, Federal, and Greek Revival style homes.
- Mitered return: Used with crown molding to join the sides of the molding to the wall.
- Frieze board: Added as a horizontal boundary to separate the crown molding from the casing.
- Crosshead strip: Sits just below the frieze board, above the top of the casing.
- Side casing: Covers the gap between the edge of the window and the wall.
- Backband molding: A small piece of molding running along the sides of the casing, used to add dimension to plain designs.
- Inside stop: A small frame that runs between the glass and the outer casing.
- Stool: What is typically referred to as the window sill, this ledge sits below the window, jutting out from the wall.
- Apron: A decorative piece of molding that fits below the stool.
- Cap: Sits above the top crown molding to finish the design.
- Head casing: Positioned below the crosshead strip to join the window frame to the wall.
- Square-cut joint and rosette: This optional decorative element is positioned on the top corners of the window frame.
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the parts of window molding, read on to decide how to best integrate these into your home’s existing aesthetic.
Selecting a Style: What to Consider
Your home’s aesthetic and architectural design should largely inform the type of trim molding you choose. For instance, if you have a classical home design, such as a Georgian, Federal, or Greek Revival, an entablature—made up out of crown molding and frieze board—will add historical authenticity to your home decor. If you have a Victorian style home, try a custom-made high-profile casing. Complete with square-cut joints and rosettes, it will capture the ornate aesthetic so favored in that time period.
If your style tends toward more modernist sensibilities, a more nuanced trim, like a simple casing with clean lines, makes a better approach. Usually these casings match the color of the existing window frame for a more subtle effect. But if you’re looking for something eye-catching in a modern home, choose large side casing that keeps the clean lines, but measures wider than the traditional three to four inches.
And if you’re just looking for something simple, a low-profile casing makes a suitable choice for almost any type of home decor. These utilitarian trims help to block wind from entering your home through the sides of the window frame, without adding cluttering up your interiors with too much flash.
You should also take into consideration the aesthetic profile of the existing baseboards, crown molding, and other trim throughout the room, as well. You want your windows to match the feel of the rest of your home, instead of standing in jarring contrast to it.
Energy Efficiency Benefits of Window Trim
Window trim isn’t all about style and design, of course. Casings also defray drafts and help boost the energy efficiency of your window frames. Trim covers gaps between the wall opening and window frame—especially when you seal behind the windows with foam sealant spray. Also make sure to caulk between the edge of the molding and the wall, where the window frame meets the casing, and around all other joints. With properly installed window trim, your home can be more beautiful and more comfortable!
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