The next best way is by upgrading interior trim, decorative moldings and by applying woodwork to walls, windows, ceilings and doorways. Wherever it is placed, interior trim adds beauty and architectural interest to the space.
Interior trim was born in classical Greek and Roman architecture (the reason most of it is so baroque). Although it was originally used only for building exteriors, decorative molding made it to interiors by the time of the Renaissance.
Fancy interior trim was popular all the way through the 1940s and was standard in most commercial and residential construction. By the 1950s the use of elaborate moldings and trim was nixed by subdivision builders who were attempting to build cost-effective homes for mid-American families.
And although this cost-cutting ideology still holds true today, most builders now commonly use taller baseboard, wider door trim and even a splash of crown molding now and then.
Be careful; in many cases the trim is an upgrade. The pervasive use of woodwork lies primarily with luxury homebuilders.
Homeowners who have decided to improve rather than move are installing decorative trim to their existing homes, adding freshness and pizazz to their digs.
The most common types of interior trim are chair rails, wainscoting and raised panel molding on walls, casings around windows, baseboards where the walls meet the floor, and cornice trim where the walls meet the ceiling.
Crown molding is the most popular type of cornice trim today.
Interior trim was originally made from plaster, but today it is commonly available in wood, particleboard and plastic, and polycarbonate. Costs vary considerably depending on intricacy and size.
Simple stock moldings start about a dollar per linear foot. Elaborate crown moldings may cost up to $15 per linear foot or more for moldings assembled from multiple pieces of trim.
Professional installation, for most one-piece installations, ranges from $4 to $8 per linear foot.
For tips from James and Morris Carey, go to www.onthehouse.com or call the listener hot line, 800-737-2474, ext. 59. The Careys are also on KRKO (1380-AM) from 6 to 10 a.m. every Saturday.
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