Walls are often thought to be flat, empty canvases for displaying art, brought to life only by a bright coat of paint, but there are other options for creating visually arresting vertical surfaces in your home. For instances, walls have been enhanced by decorative elements, such as moulding and wainscoting, since the time of Ancient Greece.

Moulding, known as coving in Australia, is a strip of material, most commonly wood or plaster, placed on the wall either at a transition point or as a decorative element. “Sprung” moulding is placed at the juncture of nonparallel planes, such as a ceiling and wall, while “plain” moulding is placed on a flat surface. Moulding can be painted a contrast color or, for a more subtle look, painted the same color as the wall behind it. The raised surface will still cast shadows that create visual interest.

Wainscoting was first used to cover stone walls from floor to ceiling in order to insulate the room, but in the 1700s, it began to serve as a decorative element that often extended only one-third up the wall from the floor. It also serves to protect the area from nicks and scratches. Wainscoting is sometimes referred to as beadboard, which more accurate describes the style of wainscoting comprised of thin vertical planks with a narrow ridge (or ‘bead’) in between each plank.

Who better to showcase the myriad of ways to use decorative elements than Metrie, started in 1926 and now the largest manufacturer and distributor of solid wood and composite moulding in the United States? Metrie has catalogued over twenty-five architectural styles to create their five collections. True Craft is inspired by heritage styles including the Arts and Crafts movement, Shaker Style, and Mission Style, while the Very Square collection pulls from Mid Century Modern, Art Deco, and Asian Zen. We’ve selected several of our favorite looks from Metrie to showcase this versatile material. Which is your favorite?