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Architectural Details: The Small Touches that Make All the Difference

To complete the decor of a room, don't neglect the finishing details like moldings, ceiling medallions, and ceiling domes. While a small part of the decorating budget, these architectural embellishments can offer the biggest visual impact and unify the room's overall design.

When imagining a home, some people think only of the basics, such as rooms, windows, and doors, but for many people, it's the special details that help to truly define a home. More than just the functional aspects of a house, the subtle extras and architectural embellishments are what create the feeling of a warm and welcoming home. It's the careful attention to charming details, such as the small decorative piece that ties larger expanses together, or the carefully-placed trim that completes the look.

Architectural details that can enhance the look of a home include crown molding, which is often associated with homes of a certain historic period. More recently, this type of molding has enjoyed resurgence in popularity as decorators and homeowners discover the difference that strategically-place molding can make. Traditionally used as an embellishment where the walls and the ceiling meet, crown molding adds interest and elegance, and especially in rooms with high ceilings, imparts a look of balance to the room.

Baseboard molding is a similar type of decorative trim but is located at the other end of the wall. Used as a finishing detail for where the walls meet the floor, baseboard molding was traditionally used to hide imperfections, but modern uses for this type of trim are much more varied. Baseboard molding can draw out an element in the floor covering or the wall covering, or they can provide a transitional element for dramatic color changes between the flooring and the wall color. While baseboard molding do not need to match crown molding exactly, it's important that they look as if they coordinate with each other rather than clash.

Ceiling medallions and ceiling domes add flair and interest at the highest point of a room. These interesting features can provide a focal point for the room, draw attention to a showpiece lighting fixture, or add the illusion of a higher ceiling. Whether painted to patch the color of the ceiling or painted in a coordinating color to stand out, these luxurious architectural touches bring a sense of completion to the large, blank expanses that comprise most ceilings. Although medallions and domes are historically found in the larger and more public rooms of a home, consider dressing up a smaller room, such as a bedroom or a bathroom, with an interesting and decorative ceiling trim piece.

While all of these architectural details add style and beauty in their original functions, don't be afraid to use them in nontraditional ways. For example, a piece of crown molding makes a perfect decorative ledge for the display of photos and small artworks. In a similar fashion, molding also makes an unusual but decorative frame for piece of artwork or a mirror; painted in the same color as the wall, the molding helps to showcase the art or mirror, but painted in a contrasting color makes the frame itself come to life as an artistic detail.

No matter how these decorative architectural trims are used -- in traditional applications or in creative and unusual ways -- they are sure to add character and inviting warmth to any room.

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