From Colonial to post-modern houses,architecture is associated with a historical period.The selection of a home's molding is usually guided by its architecture but, for people with disabilities, practical considerations are a priority. For example, the subtle, organic colors favored by architect Frank Lloyd Wright might be a poor choice in the home of a person with partial sight or congenital color deficits. Visual perception can be improved when there is distinct contrast in the hue, lightness and saturation of adjacent colors. Color contrast between a wall, chair rails and baseboard can help a person with color deficits to perceive the boundaries of a room.
Modern decorative panels,often placed beneath chair rails, originated in 17th century Europe as oak panels that covered entire walls to protect stone homes from dampness.21st century molding continues to be used for decorative and practical purposes.Interior molding is usually installed where a wall connects with the floor (baseboard) and the ceiling (crown molding). In addition to covering wall joints, molding can gracefully cover defects in plaster and paint. Lintel supports heavy weight but also decorates the horizontal surface above fireplaces, doors, windows, and entrances.Chair rails with carved top caps are another example of molding with visual appeal and functional purpose.Chair rails, placed in the center of a wall, evoke elegance while protecting the wall’s wallpaper and paint from damage.The history of wainscoting reflects the practical and aesthetic functions of molding.
Molding can have a powerful or subtle visual impact. For example, the fascia that surrounds a roof is a prominent visual element, while the molding on fascia’s underside (soffit) is less apparent. Yet, both moldings form a visual “whole” that enhances a home’s architecture. Exterior molding also adds “curb appeal” to a home’s foundation, window casings, door frames, decks, columns, railings, skylights, stairs and porches.Interior molding can add appeal to utilitarian storage spaces such as closets and cabinets, and transform empty areas into cozy places.
Molding is constructed of natural and synthetic materials, including wood, stone, aluminum and polyurethane. Polyurethane is less expensive than wood and lighter in weight. It is easier to install and maintain, particularly in elevated areas.Molding can add “Wow! to a room, in the same way that dramatic makeup and clothing can command attention. However, many people prefer to use decorative molding so that it subtly complements a home’s design and décor. Custom materials and styles can be selected. It is usually helpful to have an interior designer and carpenter guide the process of molding from selection through installation.
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