The sheer amount and variety of mouldings on offer can be quite overwhelming, especially when starting a scheme from scratch, but the easiest way to introduce them is by adding skirting, dado rails, cornicing and door casing — the first two originally devised as a way to protect the walls against furniture. These days skirting also acts as a line of defence against the vacuum cleaner, while dado rails serve to break up blocks of colour and restore some proportion in rooms with high ceilings. Mouldings around doorways also add protection and can turn a mundane opening into a welcoming entrance.
Coving or cornicing is perfect for mirroring skirting and hiding joins and cracks between the ceiling and wall, but it can also help large rooms appear less clinical and more intimate. In ornate interiors, complement cornicing with a decorative frieze running beneath. There are several standard designs used in cornicing which re-occur throughout history, the egg and tongue being most prolific and the acanthus leaf also a design frequently used.
Ceiling roses and domes are generally quite large and circular, placed in the centre of the ceiling to add majesty. On grander projects, whole ceilings can become features, while in especially lavish properties, intricate wall panels, columns, pilasters and pedestals can also look right at home.
Mouldings can be as streamlined or as opulent as you desire, but it is wise to respect your home’s style and period. Success with mouldings is found through good proportion to both one another and the room. Imposingly large mouldings in a small space will look overdone, but in a vast room you can afford to be much bolder; most off-the-shelf mouldings are available in more than one size, so finding a style and size to fit your rooms will not be difficult.
Creating a convincing period setting is not difficult but attention must be given to the fine details. Window dressings should be opulent; curtains should full length, and hung from a decorative curtain pole rather than a track- so remember to choose eyelet curtains or ones which hang from pin hooks. Tie-backs, tassels, beads, a pelmet will all add to the effect. Settees and chairs should be upholstered in decorative fabric rather than leather.
Large Oriental rugs should be chosen over more modern styles and animal prints and hides are definitely out. Finally, if you have a chimney breast be sure to make a real feature of the fireplace and mantle then arrange furniture around it.