Decorative trim is the handywoman’s cure for boring, uninspired ceilings. Trim and moldings make up for windows that are too small and doorways that are inexpertly installed. Decorate the bathroom with wood trim, and you can underscore a spa-like look and feel. In short, decorative wood trim — and its various kissing cousins from the painted trim and molding branches of this product family — are cost-effective solutions to bathrooms that are blah or in desperate need of a final touch. So, what are the 10 ways to use trim when it comes time to decorate the bathroom?
- Chair rail. Install decorative trim on the focal wall at a height of 60 inches. A smaller bathroom instantly gets an optical size boost.
- Shadow play. Cavetto molding casts a top shadow, while the ovolo variety will cast the shadow to the bottom. Bathrooms with high ceilings benefit from the latter, while a low ceiling calls for a cavetto-style molding strip.
- Egyptian artwork. Create a cartouche with two long strips of decorative trim and two corresponding half circles. Glue the trim pieces to the focal wall and create an oval. Inside the oval, paint a pintail duck, scarab beetle, eye, jackal and flying bird.
- Skirt the floor. Baseboards hide the juncture between bathroom wall and floor tile. High bathroom ceilings call for 7 1/4 inch baseboards. If low bathroom ceilings are a problem, 3 1/2 inch baseboards are the solution.
- Wainscoting. Combine tongue-in-groove wainscoting with a chair rail. If decorating the bathroom with Victorian architecture in mind, wood-tone wainscoting is a must. The paneling covers over a multitude of shoddy paint jobs, tile removal attempts, wallpaper scrape mishaps and spackle disasters.
- Deep dentils. Decorative trim in the shape of teeth — hence the term “dentils” — adds depth to an otherwise so-so vanity. Yet let the handywoman beware! Dentils are a pain to clean, especially in the frequently moist bathroom environment. A workaround is simple: Paint the dentil trim in semi-gloss bathroom paint (opt for eggshell color) and cleanup is a snap.
- Strap-work imitation. If there is red anywhere in the bathroom’s décor, it all but screams for decorative trim in gold tones. Of course, adding gold is a hit-or-miss proposition, but when doing it in the form of strap-work, the savvy handywoman has the option of using any type of trim, painting it, gluing it in place and covering as much — or as little — wall, furniture or ceiling real estate as desired. Thinner trim pieces are perfect for small bathrooms, by the way.
- Inject art with wallpaper. Decorative wood trim is great, but preprinted wallpaper trim in just the right color and shape match is priceless. Ceiling and wall connections must be perfect, as must be the choice of design and color.
- Gadrooning adds height. Imagine adding a preformed molding piece in the shape of numerous convex curves. Called gadrooning, it was a favorite for Italian Renaissance china. When attached to both sides of a window’s top edge, it covers the space between a too-small wall opening and a high ceiling.
- Case the window. Decorative wood trim around the bathroom window highlights the locale’s natural light source. Paint the trim white if attaching it to a bold color, such as red or royal blue. Keep it in wood tones when the walls are kept in sand or green colors.
Liquid nails or similar glue can attach most any type of decorative trim and moldings. As any handywoman working with these types of adhesives knows, they play for keeps. Measure twice, cut once and lay out the pieces just how they will end up on the wall. Only then should the cap come off the glue.
More Bathroom Articles by Sylvia Cochran
- 6 Common Plumbing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
- How to Prevent Paint from Peeling in the Bathroom
- Decorating Around Ugly Bathroom Tiles on a Shoestring Budget