Baseboard Alternatives

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baseboard alternatives

Baseboards are a common fixture in almost every room in the home. Whether the floor is carpet, wood, laminate, or tile, baseboards exist to cover the edge of the flooring where the material meets the wall.

Typically, there is a gap where flooring stops and the wall begins, and baseboards serve to cover these unsightly areas. A traditional baseboard is normally rectangular in shape and covers the entire bottom panel of the wall up to about four inches. While it serves the purpose of hiding any gaps, the style can be quite boring.

In this article, we’ll examine the most stylish baseboard alternatives to a traditional installation and the types of flooring they go best with. From wood flooring to porcelain tile, we have something to get you past a traditional wooden baseboard.

Before You Go With Baseboard Alternatives

It’s important to remember a few things before you completely decide against regular baseboards. You need to ensure the area where the flooring meets the wall is neat and trimmed. There can’t be any gaps at all unless the alternative serves to cover these gaps as well.

Baseboards create the illusion of completely perfect edges when it comes to your flooring material. You also need to be aware of how much damage the material will incur. Will you be using a delicate material? Keep in mind that shoes scuff the bottoms of walls and vacuums ram into them, as well.

Consider the type of flooring you have, as well. Certain types of floors, specifically wooden floors, can be prone to shrinking and expanding when moisture becomes a factor. If you have something like porcelain tile or another durable material, you likely won’t have this issue.

Assuming you’re fairly confident with your flooring material and the way your home is crafted, continue reading.

1. Porcelain Tile

Tile is great as a baseboard alternative for lining the bottoms of your walls in areas like the kitchen and bathroom. Porcelain tile flooring can perfectly match the bottom of a wall lined with tiles as well.

This method can be visually pleasing, but it normally costs a lot more than a regular baseboard. If you’re on a budget, this isn’t recommended for you. However, if you have the extra money to spend and you’re focusing strictly on aesthetics, this could be your best option.

There are other options to consider for your tiles, depending on the room they’re installed in. If you’re putting this design in a bathroom, the tiles will need to be waterproof. Otherwise, you may have to pay for damage from things like steam and humidity later on.

Wooden baseboards can become quite the hassle when it comes to cleaning. They become another surface to dust or polish and are very prone to damage from scuffing and scratching.

On the contrary, tile can be very easy to clean with a mop and hot, soapy water. Typically, tile wouldn’t be installed in high traffic areas anyway, so the risk of damage is minimal.

2. Quarter Rounds

Quarter rounds are a unique option in the sense that they can be installed with baseboards or without. If they’re installed with a regular baseboard, they can provide extra coverage in the event of long gaps between the flooring and wall. They also have a high level of aesthetic appeal and can create very inviting spaces.

Many homeowners consider quarter rounds to be a more visually pleasing baseboard alternative. They come in a variety of shades and colors and match perfectly with wooden floors.

Since they’re smaller, they don’t break up the wall as much or create as large of a dimension, but they still have a substantial effect. You can purchase them in bigger sizes as well if you want them to be more of a factor. Quarter rounds are made from medium density fiberboard, which makes them very flexible.

Quarter round is also available in wood, plastic, and metal. This provides a benefit in the sense that durability can be added by purchasing the plastic or metal versions. As far as options for installation, quarter round is suitable in just about every room of the house. This medium density fiberboard can be styled to match any flooring or wall.

3. Peel and Stick Decals

This is one of the more cost-effective options in terms of a baseboard alternative. They’re much cheaper than buying wood, stain, lacquer, and any other materials included with wood projects.

There’s significantly less maintenance involved, and you can change these out more often with less hassle. Additionally, there are many, many different styles and finishes to choose from.

Typically, these are used when homes are in the staging process for selling to save time and money but add a visual element needed to make photos more appealing. When they’re applied correctly, they look very much like the real thing.

One of the most significant benefits of peel and stick decals is the fact that they protect the wall from scuffs and scratches. The only downside is you lose out on any coverage if your floors are imperfect. This means in order to take advantage of this option, your flooring installation has to be darn near perfect.

4. Reglet Trim

Reglet trim is a more recent element that covers the connection between the wall and the floor. Basically, it makes the wall appear to be lifted from the floor. This actually creates a shadow that hides the gaps between the edges of the floor and the wall.

An illusion is created that makes the wall appear to have about a half-inch missing at the bottom that creates an upside-down L shape at the bottom. This isn’t the most cost-effective baseboard alternative, but it’s very pleasing to the eye.

Reglet trim is rarer in terms of interior decorating and creates plenty in the way of conversation for a living space. However, there is still a substantial risk for damage as there isn’t as much protection for the wall.

In terms of placement, reglet trim looks good installed throughout the entire house. Installations can be completed to create a uniform look in every room of the home. Many options, including tile, may not be a good fit throughout the entire home, and this is where reglet trim really shines.

Homeowners or interior designers can add elements to the trim that boost the visual appeal. The undersides may be painted to create the look of a deeper shadow.

5. Flush Base

Flush base is a mix between reglet trim and a normal baseboard. The inlet is only a couple of inches up the wall and actually creates the look of a traditional baseboard without the hassle of installation.

Sounds a bit awkward, right – installing trim to give the appearance of a basic type of trim. Regardless, it does provide a clean look and can be perfect for giving the illusion of matching the flooring pattern.

The paint consistency can be kept the same for the duration of the wall, or you can choose to create a darker color at the bottom to add more authenticity to the baseboard look. Additionally, this can also correct gaps between the floor and wall for a cleaner, more modern look.

6. Shiplap

Shiplap has also become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. There is no need for normal baseboards because the wood on a shiplap design goes all the way to the floor. However, it protects the lower portion of the wall similar to how a baseboard does.

Normally, only one or two walls in the entire home will contain shiplap. It’s important to note that this is not a permanent solution for your entire house. However, in high-traffic rooms like a den or living room, this can be a stunning visual option.

Related: Baseboard vs No Baseboard

7. Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood is a great option for several different reasons. It’s made from recycled materials, so it’s great for the environmentally friendly aspect. This design element uses trees that have already been cut down, so it’s not taking away any additional materials from nature.

Additionally, purchasing reclaimed wood is also a lot cheaper than obtaining entire slabs for baseboards and other projects. The visual element of these types of designs is very popular, as well.

You can go a lot of different routes with reclaimed wood. A bohemian design is very popular, as well as a rustic look. Depending on the shade you choose, there exists a handful of specific design options to choose from.

8. Crown Molding

Crown molding is probably the most similar to regular baseboards out of everything on the entire list. The most notable difference is the fact that crown molding usually has a more intricate design, including different grooves and patterns that make it look more classy than normal baseboards.

Crown molding is often used in living rooms and other high-traffic areas. Additionally, many homeowners choose to use this particular style around fireplaces as well.

The thickness is about the same as normal baseboard wood, so you can use crown molding to hide gaps and imperfections with the flooring in a room as well. Price is one of the only downsides of crown molding, as it will run you quite a bit more than the typical wooden baseboard option.

However, you get what you pay for, as the dimensions and intricate details provide an element of craftsmanship that can give the appearance of a hand-cut design. Some crown molding is indeed hand-carved, but the price for these designs specifically can cause the materials to skyrocket.

9. Recessed Lighting

This lighting goes along with the reglet trim option. This is when lights are installed underneath the groove created in the wall when reglet trim is installed in a room. These lights can be great when dimmed or used for mood-setting purposes.

It’s important to note the option for this type of lighting is not a money-saving one, but it will provide a look of class and elegance that’s unmatched by other designs. If it’s in the budget, there’s an infinite amount of design options with this unique lighting.


Depending on your budget, there are lots of different options to take for baseboard alternatives. Experiment with different designs and colors and switch up based on the room. Choosing different designs from room to room can provide a unique mixture of different materials that are unique if you can find a way to make them come together.

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