Despite their lowly position along the floor, baseboards are one of a house's defining features. If they have stature, a room becomes regal; when they are skimpy, that same space looks dowdy. Baseboards were often three-piece affairs consisting of a flat plank, a decorative cap molding, and a rounded shoe molding to cover gaps along the floor.
In houses built after World War II, fancy baseboards gave way to cheap ones, and the vital floor-to-wall transition became the domain of thin, featureless one-piece trim. Fortunately, it's easy to replace modern moldings with taller, thicker, two- or three-part baseboards.
For full step-by-step instructions, shopping list, and tools list, see How to Install Baseboards