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How to Bring Out Your Home’s Character With Trim

When it comes to architecture, details count. They also define. The places where floors, doors, ceilings and windows meet the walls are usually accompanied by trim. The way that trim is executed has refined and defined our houses throughout history. Trim adds character and flavor to a home, the way pearl buttons finish off a shirt or cinnamon completes a coffee cake. And it helps distinguish one style of architecture from another.


Project: New interior trim.

Why: Whether you want to embellish or change the character of your space, trim will give your rooms more personality and a stronger identity.

Typical project length: The complexity of the project should be taken into consideration, of course. For small rooms, trim could probably be installed in a weekend. A handyperson might take a week to do a large room that has simpler details. If you have wainscoting or paneling and have a very detailed space, the project could take a contractor a few weeks to complete.

Permit: It’s unlikely that you’ll need permits for this type of project. It’s similar to painting, in that it is finish work. If you are making electrical or plumbing changes, then you may need a permit.

Best time to do this project: Any time of year, but it would be wise to avoid construction during holidays or any other time you might have guests or need the house neat and clean. Expect minor disruptions and dust.

First step: Study the architecture of your house and what types of trim are appropriate for its style. The wrong trim is not unlike white pants after Labor Day: It might look silly.


Steven Randel
Houzz Contributor. California licensed architect specializing in residential projects throughout the state.