How to use crown molding

In a previous blog post – we covered the history of one of the most popular ceiling / wall enhancements: crown molding. Now that you know the history behind this design trend, how can you use it to create a polished look in your home?


There are several types of materials you can choose from when selecting a crown molding, including:

  • Wood
  • Plaster
  • Plaster covered foam
  • Polyurethane foam
  • Flexible polyurethane

The most popular materials are wood and plaster. Wood is very flexible, while plaster can be made with extremely ornate details.

Crown Profiles

In addition to different materials, crown molding comes in an array of profiles.

  • Classical – acanthus leaves, egg-and-dart detailing
  • Bead and curve – bead beneath an elongated s curve
  • Double bead – bead detail with beaded baseboard
  • Stair steps – overlaid strips of solid stock
  • Garland – Flowering vine beneath a rippled crown
  • Deco facets – gem-like geometric pattern
  • Rope border – ropes or beads in a wood crown
  • Colonial – simple profile
  • Contemporary – simple strips
  • Victorian – big and bold with classical details
  • Arts and crafts – clean lines and no-fuss shapes

The bead and curve profile works great in spaces that don’t touch the ceiling and stair steps would perfectly accentuate a more contemporary home.

Traditional Architecture

Crown molding tends to work well in homes with traditional architecture. If your house is more modern or contemporary architecturally, crown molding could look out of place and not add as much value.

Homes that were designed in the Victorian period, before 1920, are perfect candidates for crown molding. If your home was built during this era, pick out an ornate molding (with teeth or leaves) – you can literally put it anywhere! Houses designed in this time often had crown molding at the ceiling and down the door frames.

Mid-Century Architecture

If your home was built between 1930 and 1970, crown molding will provide reinforcement for older plaster walls and ceilings. In addition, it will help prevent visible cracks. Choose crown molding with shapes that have clean edges.

Contemporary Architecture

Just because your house is more contemporary in style, does not mean you can’t use crown molding. If you do have a more modern feel in your home, choose a crown molding style that is simple without ornamentation or detailed pattern.

While crown molding was not as popular in the 1980s and 1990s, that doesn’t mean it can’t be added to those homes now. Mixing a sharp, small crown molding with the popcorn ceilings wildly used in homes built at this time is very visually appealing.

Modern Architecture

For homes built recently, the crown molding options are vast. Choose a Victorian-style crown molding for your country kitchen, while a small, clean crown molding can create a more contemporary look.


While crown molding is a really fun design enhancement to add to your rooms, make sure that it aligns with your overall house theme. Know the history of your home, especially when it was built, so that you can find the right crown molding profile. Not all profiles will shine in a Victorian home or a more modern home. When done right, crown molding can make a real impact and increase your home’s value.

Reach out to Color Expressions Painting today and we will help you make your vision come to life by finding and installing the perfect crown molding for your space.