Getting to the Bottom of Baseboards

Getting to the Bottom of Baseboards

Walls
Additions and Remodels
By Shahen Araboghlian October 27, 2021

You’ve likely seen baseboards in many houses but haven’t given them much attention. Baseboards are very low-key interior design elements, in that they are subtle addition. That little trim at the bottom of the wall where it meets with the floor is called a baseboard.

Baseboards serve both a stylistic and practical purpose within interior designs. While you don’t have to include them in your interior design, they provide a set of benefits that you may miss out on. Luckily thanks to how long baseboards have been an interior design feature, there are a lot of options out there for you to try, both in terms of material and design. By picking the one that speaks to you and echoes the motifs of the rest of your interior, you can create a more wholesome atmosphere. 

What are baseboards?

Which Interior Styles Can Have Baseboards?

Which Interior Styles Can Have Baseboards?

Baseboards are a type of wall trim that is situated at the bottom where the wall meets the floor. It sits right there on the edge of your floor and wall, covering the little transition between the two surfaces. Baseboard molding can be quite ornate, with different designs and baseboard styles that can make it look minimal and simple, or complex and luxurious. This makes it a must for interiors such as Gothic, Victorian, Mid Century Modern, and Transitional, where the element of luxury and grandeur is key.

However, you will find baseboards in plenty of more humble and restrained interiors as well. Your classic colonial and cottage interiors can also make good use of baseboards not for stylistic reasons, but rather for practicality. Baseboards, besides being a stylish trim for your walls, are also a great way of protecting the surface. Considering how often we walk closely by a wall, it’s easy to accidentally bump into it and have your shoes rub against the clean surface, leaving behind smudges and dirt marks.

The Benefits of Installing Base Molding

The Benefits of Installing Base Molding

By having baseboards and trim installed at the bottom of the wall, you protect some of its most vulnerable areas. Baseboards, being typically made of finished wood or some form of plastic material, are very easy to clean, especially when compared to a wall. So even if you do get them dirty, they are very easy to clean and freshen up, something that cannot be said for the walls, which can get irreversibly damaged quite easily. Removing baseboard trim is a real breeze, so even if a part of it gets damaged, it can be replaced very easily, making it even more practical to have baseboards instead of bare walls. 

What are the types of baseboards?

The Types of Baseboards You Can Choose From Are Limitless

The Types of Baseboards You Can Choose From Are Limitless

As with other kinds of wall trim out there you don’t just have one shape or design. There are tons of baseboard trim designs, some that push for more practicality and durability, while others focus more on style and visual flair. There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to choosing the baseboards for your home, but luckily, there are some general baseboard types that can help you make your decision. 

The Best Baseboard-Interior Combinations

The Best Baseboard-Interior Combinations

An example of something that is a little more elegant and can go very well in Victorian or Gothic interiors is Bohemian baseboards. Don’t get these baseboards confused with the actual Bohemian interior. Bohemian baseboards have a gorgeous curvature that goes well in classic interiors and works to accentuate regality.

If you’re looking for something more simple and practical, then there are angular baseboards, which go well in more modern or Transitional interiors where simplicity plays a major part in the orchestra of design elements. And if your interior is filled with rustic motifs then you should try major trim baseboards, which go well in modern farmhouse and cottage designs. There are very few cases where an interior wouldn’t need baseboards, such as if you’re going for true industrial or loft designs, which keep wall ornamentation and stylizations minimal.

One way or another, regardless of the kind of interior that you have, you will likely find what you’re looking for, such as more ornate and decorative baseboards and more minimal or utilitarian baseboard options where form follows function. The question you should be asking yourself after you’ve found the baseboard that would complement your interior is how much you’re willing to pay for it. 

How much does it cost for baseboards?

The Average You Should Expect to Pay For Baseboards

The Average You Should Expect to Pay For Baseboards

Unlike other kinds of molding and trim out there, baseboards are a lot more accessible in terms of price. Installing new baseboards does not cost as much as crown molding. Considering the more practical nature of baseboard molding and how it does not tend to be as ornate as other kinds of trim, like wainscotting or wall panels, it tends to be a lot cheaper.

More affordable shoe molding options that are not as ornate but still quite sturdy, cost around $1 per linear foot. This means that you can install baseboards in a 300 square foot room for less than $100. There are more expensive options out there, but even then, you won’t expect to pay more than $500 for 300 square feet.

The installation cost of baseboards is actually more than the baseboards themselves. You can save a lot of money by installing them yourself. While baseboard installation is not particularly difficult, there are a few things you should know before proceeding with the addition.

Installing Baseboard

Important Measurements You Need to Take for Your Baseboards

Important Measurements You Need to Take for Your Baseboards

Fortunately installing floor trim is not very difficult especially if you have all the pieces cut to the correct lengths. All you need is a tape measure, handsaw, nailgun or hammer, some caulk, and the molding itself. There’s really not much else you’ll need other than a pencil for making some temporary marks as well as a handyperson on standby to give you tips during the installation. While the installation process isn’t necessarily difficult, it’s always good to have someone experienced in DIY by your side.

Baseboard Installation Tips to Help You Get the Job Done Quicker

Baseboard Installation Tips to Help You Get the Job Done Quicker

It is highly recommended to regularly measure the baseboards as you install them to make sure that the lengths are corresponding and none of the pieces overlap. Another important nuance to take note of is when filling the baseboard gaps with caulk. After the baseboard piece has been installed, give it a tug to make sure that it is firmly in place. If it is not tightly fastened to the wall and wiggles around, the caulk could potentially drip into the crevice between the baseboard and the wall, creating a visible gap. Nail the baseboard to the wall as firmly as possible. Once you can visibly tell that the baseboard is closely adhered to the wall, use caulk to hide the crevice between the baseboard and floor.

Written by
Shahen Araboghlian

Written by Shahen Araboghlian