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Baseboard Style Guide

Baseboard Style Guide

Baseboards are one of those interior trim elements that are often forgotten, and it is easy to understand why when so many houses today are constructed with builder’s grade baseboards. Small with a simple profile, these baseboards are intended to blend in with a home. But with so many great options available to homeowners, a little change in your home’s interior trim can add up to a big boost in style.

Do Your Baseboards Proportions Measure Up?

There is no hard and fast rule on the exact height your baseboards should be compared to your ceiling height, but a good rule of thumb is the 1:12 ratio, in which you have one inch of baseboard for every 12 inches of ceiling height. By this guideline a home with standard eight foot ceilings would have eight inch tall baseboards. Compare this to the typical 3 ¼” baseboards installed in homes, and you can understand why your trim probably isn’t living up to its statement-making potential.

Of course this 1:12 ratio is simply a guideline, and baseboards smaller than this can look great in a room. What you are aiming for is a smooth transition from your flooring to walls that gives it visual balance while injecting your personal style. The undersized baseboards most often installed in homes today fall short of meeting these design goals.

Baseboard Styles

Now that you understand the basics of how to size baseboards, it is time to explore the fun design possibilities that different trim sizes and profiles have to offer!

Flat Baseboards


From contemporary to farmhouse, this versatile baseboard does it all. It is enough of a change from the ubiquitous, rounded-top baseboard profile that it catches the eye, but its simple lines won’t compete with other design elements in a room. Install this style of baseboard on its own for a clean, low-fuss look or layer it with other trim to create an entirely new effect.

Sculpted Mid-Height Baseboards

Pacific Heights Home Bedroom
‍Photo by Winder Gibson Architects

This trim is a little taller than standard baseboards, starting around four inches tall, and has a decoratively shaped profile. Upgrading your home’s current baseboards with this kind of trim is a great way to make it stand apart from other more contemporary homes. Also, if you’d like to incorporate crown molding into a room but don’t have high ceilings, a mid-height baseboard will keep your room feeling balanced.

Taller Sculpted Baseboards

Master Bedroom
‍Photo by Rachel Reider Interiors

Taller baseboard options start around five inches and go up from there. These baseboard styles tend to have more decorative profiles that look most appropriate in Victorian or older homes. If your home has especially high ceilings, you will definitely want to scale your baseboards up to keep your trim properly proportioned.

Designing Your Own Baseboards

Berkshires Estate
‍Photo by Giambastiani Design 

While a home improvement store can supply you with plenty of ready-made trim options, you can always construct your own unique baseboard profile by layering or stacking trim. Flat baseboards typically make up the foundation for this with trim either layered directly onto the face of it or stacked on top to add height and visual interest.

Replacing Your Home’s Baseboards

Replacing baseboards can be a time-consuming process for the average homeowner, especially if you’re changing them throughout your entire house. A skilled carpenter will be able to remove the old baseboards with less damage to your walls and install your new baseboards quickly and with less wasted material, which is why we recommend you leave this job to a professional.

Wondering when the best time is to have new baseboards installed? Time it to coincide with replacing your carpeting or flooring, and then have the walls painted. Since the work crew is already at your home the only additional cost will be materials and the time it takes to install your new baseboards.

Do you live in the Bend, OR area and want help transforming your home’s interior with new baseboards or trim work? Give us a call today and let our highly-trained carpenters handle the job for you!

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