The Ultimate Purpose of Wainscoting Baseboards

Baseboard trims are not just excellent interior wall décor solutions. They are also very functional. When you make the right choice and are sure the baseboard is installed properly, it will bring out the elegance of the floor and wall. And it will accentuate the charm of the wainscoting panel.

Baseboards don’t always go hand in hand with wainscoting panels

Although baseboards are fundamental parts of classic wainscoting solutions, they stand on their own too. But when you want to match wall panels along with baseboards, you have to pay attention to the latter before installing any other board. Think of it as a building construction. The baseboard is the foundation. If the base is not straight, the rest of the boards will not line up correctly.

So, proper wainscoting installation starts by focusing on the correct installation of the baseboard. It should be leveled and aligned properly. The tricky part is at the corners and the points where the wall panel/baseboard meets with door casings. In this case, the door casing should prevail. In other words, the wall boards should not cover the casing. It will also be hard to deal with baseboard and flat panel installation at staircases. In such cases, the boards should be cut to follow the route of the stairways or such jobs should be left to experts. That’s a smart and time-effective solution too.

Should the baseboard match the wainscoting decoration?

Matching the style and color of the raised panel and the baseboard is always the safe way to go. But it’s not a must. You can use your creativity and imagination to make all sorts of combinations. You can choose an elegant wall panel and match the baseboard with the crown molding or window casing.

But what if you decide NOT to install a recessed panel and just install the baseboard? 

Especially if you don’t have a very simple crown molding and want to keep the room from giving the impression of being overcrowded, you can do that too.

After all, what’s the baseboard?

It’s a molding, which is also known as floor trim or skirting. It’s a board which covers the lowest part of the wall. Although it’s a decorative element, it primarily serves to cover up the little gap between the floor and the wall making the transition pleasing to the eye and smooth.

So, although the ultimate purpose of baseboards is simple, they are extremely important. 

What baseboards do is to:

  • Accentuate the looks of any modern wainscoting
  • Make the transition from the floor to the wall smooth
  • Hide the imperfections at these corners
  • Keep dust away and thus make cleaning so much easier
  • Keep insects away
  • Make a great visual impact

Consequently, baseboards are functional moldings but also enhance the aesthetics. In order to achieve both, you need to concentrate on their size and style.

What’s the perfect size for baseboards?

There is no such a thing as the perfect size. Like it happens with all moldings but also bead boards, the height of the ceiling plays a very important role. It must be big enough to play its role and make a statement, but not big enough to dominate in space. For 8 feet ceilings, you can get 5 ¼” tall baseboards. You can bring it up till 7” but it will depend on the size of other moldings present in the room – crown moulding, window & door casing.

These are often wider while baseboards are often taller. An average width of baseboards would be ½ to 1 inch thick. If the crown molding is rather tall, it’s best to install tall baseboards too. These two moldings stand at the lower and higher parts of the wall and it’s best to match them to make a better visual impact.

Which baseboard materials and styles to get? 

Wood is always an option. And it will look good with a wooden raised panel wainscoting too. But you can also choose MDF since it’s inexpensive and easy to paint. Remember that if you want to paint the baseboard, you should do it before installation. Alternatively, you can get vinyl baseboards. They are extremely durable and can withstand wear and tear. When it comes to wet environments, it’s wise to install plastic molding.

There are many profiles, sizes, and styles of baseboards to choose from on the market. And when it comes to style, remember that your aesthetics should be your beacon. Don’t forget that it’s best to match the baseboard with the ceiling molding and casing. And keep in mind that the golden rule in interior design is that the simpler profiles are always the best choice.

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