Picture frame moulding for walls. It’s one of the hottest design trends going. And guess what? For Week 2 of the One Room Challenge, I’m installing over 300 linear feet in the dining room and foyer.
I know! What an adventure!
But just let me just say that it is already making a HUGE difference in the way the dining room looks.
I mean HUGGGGEEEEE.
How to Design Picture Frame Moulding for Walls
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When it comes to picture frame moulding, I’m not sure which is easier, design or installation. I do know that while writing this post, I came to realize that a tutorial such as this is basically only a concept. This is because every wall is different —like snowflakes. Thankfully, the cutting is basically the same and, for the most part, so is the installation. So I guess once the design is set, the rest of the process is a piece of cake.
With this, let’s take a look at how to come up with a plan.
Designing Wall #1
If you saw the first ORC post (Week 1 – The Dining Room Plan), then you recall that my dining room has only two walls. The other two walls flow open into the foyer and hallway to the kitchen. So I started on the wall adjacent to the kitchen. I chose this wall because it was a blank canvas. With my first try, the fewer obstacles I had to design around, the better.
Start with measurements:
Height is measured from the top of the baseboard to the bottom of the crown moulding.
Width is measured from the where the stairway begins.
Then I played around with the numbers. I knew I wanted an odd number of boxes, but wanted a good balance on the wall, too. To me, picture frame mouldings that are too big look chincy and too little look busy.
The photo below shows the final set of measurements drawn out using masking tape.
The tops of the picture frame mouldings are lower than the moulding around the stairs. When I ran the boxes in a horizontal parallel, they lost so much visual impact. When the boxes are dropped a little, more architectural interest appeared.
The bottoms of the boxes are the same distance from the baseboards as the tops of the boxes are from the crown moulding.
When I thought I had the picture frame moulding sized right, I hung the artwork to make sure it was balanced over the woodwork. Yes, this photo was taken after the moulding was installed. This is because I forget to snap a photo during the masking tape phase. Sorry about that, but let’s just pretend this is artwork over masking tape because I truly did hang it for a test visual. OK?
Installing Wall #1
Trust me when I say that I measured twice and cut once. The cuts may be super simple 45-degree angles, but it is amazing how easy cutting miters can go off the rails. If you’d like this information, I’ll write a second post and go in depth about how to cut the miters, but for now, here’s how Wall #1 was installed.
Wall #1 Installation:
The far left picture frame moulding was installed first.
Then the far right.
The last box installed was the middle. This is done so that if any measuring irregularities occurred, minor adjustments in the spacing could be made an equidistant from the left and right boxes.
Designing Wall #2
Wall #2 is interesting in that it is part dining room wall and part foyer wall. Oye.
So here’s how I designed around that.
The picture frame moulding below the chair rail (wall in the dining room) was added several years ago. I was thrilled to find that the exact same moulding was still available. Thank you, Home Depot.
Portion of wall above the chair rail (wall in the dining room):
The upper picture frame moulding (s) were designed the exact same width as the boxes under the chair rail.
Then the height was created by placing the vertical the exact distance from the crown moulding and chair rail as the lower boxes are from the baseboards and chair rail. It’s the same balanced effect described in Wall #1, there are just a couple of new variables to include.
Portion of wall in the foyer (behind the ladder):
The picture frame moulding by the front door (behind the ladder) is sized from top to bottom (height) like the rest of the foyer (based on Wall #1)
But the size of the frame (width) is set to scale based on the visual balance in this corner and the accessories that will be added later. With this, I still did my best to keep the box as consistent with Wall #1 as possible.
Designing Wall #3
When the same size frames that are in the corner of the dining room (above photo) are placed on a larger wall, they Look smaller. It’s truly an optical illusion, because they are the exact same size all the way around the room. This, I tell you, is why I measured and measured. The different look of the same size boxes on different walls totally messed with my head.
But happily, this visual effect significantly lessens or even disappears when the walls and trim are painted the same color. So if your measurements are correct, just stay steady to the course and look again after the paint is on the wall, too.
How to Design Around a Design Problem
If you are like me and have several broken walls, then design problems may be inevitable. Believe it or not, for this project, I was surprised that I only had one really tough one.
You see, when the frames below the chair rail were added, I knew there would be one slightly smaller frame hidden behind the hutch. This was ok because who would ever see it? Well, nobody ever did —until the upper frames were being added. But if you remember the installation process for Wall #1, the exact same technique was used for this design problem on Wall #3.
Installing Wall #3
In the photo below, the three frames on the left and the three frames on the right are the exact same size and spacing. These were installed first.
The one (the 7th box) behind the hutch in the very center is slightly smaller and the spacing from the left and right boxes is also slightly smaller.
When this kind of mismeasurement happens, just try to place the frame in a very inconspicuous place and balance the space the best you can.