Guide to Trim for Your Custom Home

May 24, 2018

As the cliché goes, “the devil is in the details”. When it comes to your custom home, the details can make a big difference in how your home looks and feels. The trim inside your home consists of the casing, molding, and millwork that frames your floors, walls, windows, doors, and ceilings. Trim defines the architectural style of your home and is an important interior design detail that adds richness and depth to a room or hallway. There are a lot of options to choose from. Check out this guide to trim for your custom home to get a brief overview of common types of trim:


A guide to trim for your custom home would be incomplete without mentioning wall trim. Your walls offer more options for interior design than some paint and hanging up pictures – they can have trim too! Wall panels, or panel molding, are decorative panels of trim placed on the wall that can create a specific look.

These can be full, solid panels or solid panels with raised trim to create a more dramatic effect. In addition to panels, rail-type trim is also available. You can even implement wall trim in a stair landing for an interesting look, which is one of the staircase landing ideas. Here are some common types of trim for walls:


Wainscoting, or wainscot trim, refers to wall paneling across the bottom half of the wall. In the past, it served as extra insulation and to protect the wall from chair backs, shoe-clad feet, and more. Although it can still do those things, it is used mostly for decorative purposes now. Wainscoting offers several design options including simple panels, raised panels, beadboard, and more.


Shiplap refers to wooden boards that have been locked together so that each overlaps the one below it. When installed, shiplap tends to look like regular wood boards because the notches used to lock them together are hidden. There are a few different styles available to add some decorative touches to shiplap. It can be used as a wall panel and as a type of wainscoting.

Chair Rail

A chair rail is a type of trim that runs horizontally along the wall, usually at chair-level height. Although it is usually installed approximately 36 inches from the floor, it can be installed at many other heights as well. The key to proper chair rail placement is that it splits a wall into horizontal layers and the proportions are correct.


Door and Window

Door and window casing refers to the trim around the window and the door, essentially the frames. So, they need to be included in any guide to trim for your custom home. Traditionally, door and window casing are each installed using separate pieces for the sides, top, and bottom.

The bottom casing only applies to windows and often consists of the stool and the apron. The stool is the shelf or the sill and can be as shallow or deep as you want, within reason. The apron is the decorative bottom casing that goes below the stool. Separate pieces allow plenty of opportunities for detail and customization.


The baseboard, or the base trim, is the trim placed where the wall and the floor meet. It ties the room together, conceals and seals any gaps between wall finish and the floor, and provides some protection from feet and furniture.


There are trim options available for every part of a room, even the ceilings and a guide to trim would be incomplete without them. Tray ceilings and crown molding are two of the most common and popular types of ceiling trim.

Tray Ceilings

Tray ceilings are also called inverted or recessed ceilings. They feature a center section that is recessed, or higher than the areas around the perimeter of the room. It often resembles an inverted tray, which is where it gets its name.

There are several options to consider when choosing tray ceilings, but they can make a room stand out. Tray ceilings add some dimension to your ceiling and provide opportunities for more use of color since you can paint the trim around the perimeter. You can also create a unique look by using recessed lighting or rope lighting in conjunction with a tray ceiling. 

Crown Molding

Crown molding is like a baseboard for your ceiling and is a classic architectural feature. It’s the trim placed at the top of the wall where the ceiling and the wall come together. Crown molding softens the transition between the wall and ceiling, which gives the room a nice visual flow instead of sharp corners and angles. There are a ton of sizes and details to choose from and many different crown molding ideas, so it’s easy to get the look you want while still adding some decorative detail to your ceiling.

There is a type of trim for every part of every room in your home. This means you have a lot of options to get the look you want in your custom home, but it also means you have a lot of options to evaluate. Thankfully, a talented custom home builder with a custom design process can help you narrow down the options.

Contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090 to get started on the journey to your dream home!