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Picture rail

How do you install picture rail when doors and windows vary in height? The door and window casings in our 1914 craftsman bungalow are about 13" from the tops of the walls, but this varies by as much as 1.5" within some rooms. The top casings are 5.5" wide, with "ears" that extend past the side casings. I don't want to install the rail at the top of the wall because I'm trying also to define a frieze area. If I install at either the top or bottom of the top casings, the rail won't be level or there will be gaps. I could install it level, roughly in the center of the top casings, between ears, and let the width of the casing "absorb" some of the height difference, but I'm still worried that having a, say, 1.5" piece of railing running between 5.5" casings, and dying into them at somewhat different heights, would look terrible. I could run the rail a few inches below the top casing and have it die into each side casing, but am concerned that this would bring the rail too far down on the wall and also would look peculiar given the ears. Re-doing the casings themselves to create a level line around the room is not a realistic option. I also want to be as period-appropriate as possible.


I hope this makes sense! Any advice/suggestions? If the last option (running the rail below the top casing) seems the best, any idea how far? Thanks!

Re: Picture rail


There are not too many folks that even know what a picture rail is, or it use. I have lived in Victorian houses all of my life. I have seen many different styles and uses for a picture rail.

I once saw a house where the owner had issues similar to yours. They re-hung the picture rail around the room, at a set height from the floor, and let it butt into the windows trim. This was done because the wondows went almost floor to ceiling. That way is perfectly acceptable and looks fine.


Handy Andy In Mt Airy NC

Re: Picture rail

Thanks, Andrew. I'll see if there's a height that works.

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