7 Baseboard Alternatives (Cheap & Modern Options)
Your baseboard is just as important as your flooring and walls, but it’s not always necessary. Baseboards can add depth between the wall and floor, but you can achieve that with many alternatives. With that said, what can you use as a visually appealing and convincing baseboard alternative?
A Reglet trim is one of the best baseboard alternatives because of its unique look and added depth. Vinyl and rubber wall base moldings are also a great choice because of how durable they are. Look into reclaimed wood molding if you want a rustic baseboard alternative that adds character to a room.
You can save money with baseboard alternatives, such as stick and peel decals and quarter-round wood, and it’s worth it. No two baseboard alternatives are the same, and you find one that best suits your budget and taste. Follow along as we dive into all of the best baseboard alternatives for you and your home.
Before We Dive Into the List: Here Are Some Cheap Alternatives
1. Rubber Base Molding
Look into a rubber base molding if you don’t want to use a traditional baseboard. You still get the added dimensional value of a regular baseboard, but a rubber base molding is more durable. Rubber base molding is tough, and you won’t have to worry about damaging it by knocking it with furniture.
The best thing about rubber base molding is that there are countless options for any given visual taste. You can find rubber base molding that looks like wood, and it can be hard to tell the difference between the two. Whether you want an imitation metal rustic look, or you’d prefer a traditional wood look, you can find that in rubber molding.
Rubber base molding is also affordable, and you can get 120 sq. ft. of it for only $160, or more for some varieties. Foot traffic is not a problem with rubber base molding like it can be with your average baseboard. If potential damage is part of what holds you back from a regular baseboard, then rubber base molding is for you.
- Variety of options
- Can be hard to match sometimes
- Not as elegant as a baseboard
One of the most popular alternatives to a baseboard is a Reglet trim, and it adds depth to any room. With that said, it’s best to choose Reglet trim when you’re still in the construction or renovation process. That is because it is best to install Reglet trim before you install the drywall.
Reglet trim goes between the floor and wall and sticks out looking lifted, which creates a nice shadow. The shadow adds depth and it is great for adding character to a room, or the whole house. Unfortunately, Reglet trim can be expensive due to the installation process, so it’s not ideal for use in an entire house.
It could cost as much as $3,000 or more if you have Reglet trim professionally installed throughout the house. This option is best for builder-owners that are not yet set on their trim, molding, and baseboard options. Look into Reglet trim if you want a baseboard alternative that looks better and adds a unique depth to a room.
NOTE: Invest in recessed lighting if you want to highlight and accent your Reglet trim to make it stand out. The lighting will help cast a more prominent shadow that shows off the walls, trim, and flooring.
- Adds depth
- The contrast between wall and floor
- Difficult to install
3. Vinyl Wall Base
A vinyl wall base is an excellent baseboard alternative in the same way that rubber molding is. Both vinyl wall bases and rubber molding deliver an affordable and durable baseboard alternative. You may associate vinyl wall bases with businesses and office buildings, but they work just as well in a home.
Vinyl wall bases don’t limit you to a particular visual style, and you can find them in many varieties. They are less customizable than a wooden baseboard, but you can often find one to match the walls. You can also experiment and choose a vinyl wall base that contrasts your walls or flooring.
Vinyl is an inexpensive material, and 120 sq. ft. of vinyl wall base runs you $130 or less. There are vinyl wall bases that mimic wood or similar materials very well, and it’s hard to tell the difference. Choose a vinyl wall base if you want the most bang for your buck on your baseboard alternative.
- Easy to install
- Susceptible to smudges
- Often plain looking
4. Reclaimed Wood Molding
Reclaimed wood molding is possibly the most diverse and varied alternative for baseboards that money can buy. Look into the reclaimed wood molding and you’ll quickly learn that no two types of wood look the same. Molding made of reclaimed wood can create a contrast with its rustic look, or compliment wood that’s already there.
You can find reclaimed wood molding that is weathered, distressed, or pristine and glossy. That means that you aren’t limited to one aesthetic or vibe in the room or throughout the house. Builder-owners that are DIY-minded can even cut and weather their wood to create reclaimed wood molding.
This alternative is especially great for homeowners that already have wood flooring in place. With that said, you don’t need wooden floors to appreciate reclaimed wood molding. Right now, you can find 94” of reclaimed wood for as little as $90, and it’s worth every penny for the rustic look.
- Variety of options/finishes
- Easy to install on your own
- Creates a rustic look
- Fairly expensive
- Susceptible to wear and tear
5. Porcelain Tile
Porcelain tile is a great alternative to a traditional wooden baseboard that most homeowners have. If you have tile flooring, you could tie the whole room together with porcelain tile baseboards. Whether you consider this before you put in your flooring or it’s an afterthought, you can find a porcelain tile baseboard to match.
Each 94” length of porcelain tile will cost you between $15 and $30 before installation. This baseboard alternative is good because it is less generic than a wooden baseboard and adds character to the room. Porcelain tile is not the most economic baseboard alternative, but it certainly looks great and that’s worth it to many homeowners.
You shouldn’t have trouble finding porcelain tile that compliments your flooring and walls, and you could always have it stained if so. Make sure that you install a backer board behind the porcelain tile to make a proper connection to the wall. Consider porcelain tile as your traditional baseboard alternative if you want to add character to space.
- Visually striking
- Goes great with porcelain flooring
- Expensive material and installation
- Can easily become damaged
6. Wood Quarter Round
Some homeowners use wood quarter rounds in conjunction with baseboards, but that’s not necessary. You can use a wood quarter round instead of a baseboard, and it’s one of the best alternatives. Quarter rounds are long strips of wood that, as the name suggests, are rounded, and they measure ¾”.
Choose quarter round as your baseboard alternative if you want to spend the least amount of money possible. You can expect to pay as little as $0.50 per square foot in material costs for a strip of wood quarter round. Most homeowners buy wood quarter-round in increments of 7 or 8 feet, and it’s the cheapest baseboard alternative.
Wood quarter rounds also give the homeowner freedom to customize and stain the material to their liking. That is a blessing for homeowners that can’t find wood quarter rounds that match their flooring or walls. Look into wood quarter rounds and you’ll save yourself hundreds of dollars in material and labor costs.
- Easy to find
- Simple installation
- Not visually appealing
- Easy to damage
Decals are one of the most affordable baseboard alternatives, and they are also the easiest option. You can find peel and stick decals that you can place around the base of your walls in place of a baseboard. This is a great option if you want a temporary baseboard alternative, and you can swap your decals out for another alternative, like rubber.
Decals are easier to remove than baseboard trim, but you need to be careful that you don’t strip paint from the wall. Some decals mimic materials like wood or vinyl, and you can find one to compliment your walls. You won’t get the added depth of Reglet trim or a baseboard, but decals look great.
If you already have baseboards that you want to spruce up, you can add a stick and peel decal to them. Peel and stick decals look as close to a baseboard as you can get without being one. Buy stick and peel decals if you want to get the appearance of baseboards without spending much money.
- Easy to apply
- Can be hard to remove
- No depth added
How much does it cost to have baseboards replaced?
It generally costs an average of $5 per square foot to have your baseboards replaced. Baseboard replacement rarely costs over $600, and it averages $350.
Do baseboards need to match door trim?
Baseboards don’t need to match door trim, but many professionals and builder-owners try to match them. You can also choose baseboards, or alternatives, that have a contrast to the door trim. Many modern homes have baseboards that contrast the door trim.
What Did We Learn?
There are countless baseboard alternatives, and many of them, like quarter-round wood and rubber, can save money. Check out rubber and vinyl molding if you want a wood baseboard substitute that can handle heavy foot traffic. If you have porcelain floors, you can’t go wrong with porcelain tile molding, but be aware that it can be pricey.
Peel and stick decals are the easiest and most affordable baseboard alternatives, and they are generally easy to remove. Choose reclaimed wood molding if you want to install a rustic vibe into the room or throughout the house. One of your most expensive options is Reglet trim, but it’s worth it for the unique depth that it creates.
Whether you choose rubber, porcelain, vinyl, or reclaimed wood trim, there’s no limit to baseboard alternatives.
Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.
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