The Return of Traditional Trim to Modern Home Design

Dating back to several thousand years ago, traditional trim derives from Greek and Roman architecture. Although modern interior and exterior design have veered away from more traditional concepts for some years, it appears that historical architectural styles are making a stark return. Interior designers and contractors alike have witnessed a boost in homeowners seeking a balance between traditional and contemporary components in their homes. Traditional trim is one of the most subtle yet appealing ways to achieve that balance.

According to stuccco, 32% of home buyers prefer a traditional design style compared to 24% who prefer a completely contemporary approach. Traditional millwork and trim are detailed with grooves and the baseboard profiles typically contain rounded corners. Whereas modern trim baseboards are minimal and sleek with little detail. Classic trim designs are all about proportion and maintaining both horizontal and vertical elements.

This understated yet timeless trim style adds dimension and detail without overwhelming the home. Traditional trim can be added to furniture, cabinetry, walls, ceilings, and mantels. Below, are examples of the traditional trim profiles making a return to modern home design:

Traditional Trim Profiles


The Colonial is one of the most popular styles of classic trim. Often placed at the top of a baseboard and close to the ceiling, this trim has ample grooves and details in it. It captures the essence of the late 1970s when clam shell casing was considered dated, and colonial became mainstream. Colonial trim is fairly lightweight and durable. Some homeowners choose to have colonial shoe moulding installed where the baseboard meets the flooring. This design feature enhances the trim.


Traditional Craftsman trim mouldings were inspired by the Arts and Crafts, Bungalow, and Prairie design movements from the 1900s to 1930s. Inspired by hand-crafted features instead of machine-made, this trim profile features horizontal lines and an artisanal aesthetic with thick trim. Typically, this type of moulding is placed around windows and doors in the inside of a home.

Contemporary Trim Profiles

Eased One Edge

One of the most sought-after contemporary trim profile types, the Eased One Edge, features an eased edge on the baseboard to match a modern minimalist design. The trim profile creates a seamless transition from flooring planks to stairs or landings. Simple yet classic, this trim can add definition to the home.



A Contemporary baseboard trim contains minimal curves and edges and a simplistic design. The image here has shoe moulding installed which matches the trim profile and adds dimension. The focus on straightforward, uncomplicated aesthetics is the appeal of contemporary interior design.

Balancing Contemporary and Traditional Design

Incorporating traditional and modern aesthetics into the home has become a popular design trend in recent years. Traditional trim profiles are making more of an appearance in modern homes and interior designers and contractors are finding that mixing and matching aesthetic is becoming the new design ‘norm’.

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