The history of crown molding

Crown Molding is a design trend that you will see everywhere from the latest and greatest HGTV design show (Fixer Upper) to your local design company. Crown molding is an enhancement Color Expressions Painting loves adding to a space, but what is the history of this ceiling and wall game changer?

The Beginning

Crown molding goes all the way back to Ancient Greece, but instead of the materials we use today, it was made of heavy stone. Now we use plaster or wood crown.

In the 16th century, crown molding was heavily used in dining spaces, dance halls, and other celebration spaces. There were several types including: round, apron, stool, capitals, pedestals, columns, and balusters.

With a renewed interest in art and beauty, builders leveraged crown molding to cover up imperfections, especially at the place where the wall meets the ceiling.

Up until 1850, crown molding was made on-site, which is often apparent when looking closely at older molding. As you can imagine, this process was tedious and time consuming. After the invention of large machines, crown molding was produced in mass amounts. With this enhancement, crown molding became more available, affordable, and even more elaborate.

Status Symbol

Back in the 16th century, crown molding was used as a way to express nobility and wealth. It ranged from ornate and handcrafted to fairly simple. Pine cones were often used to indicate royalty, which led back to the Romans. Architect Christopher Wren used this as inspiration for incorporating the pineapple in many of his designs, which you can see on several Virginia plantations.


Crown molding has gone back and forth in popularity over the years. In the 1990s, it lost its popularity when people started leaning towards minimalistic designs, especially in their homes. Rooms were long and lean and there was an emphasis on openness. In these spaces, crown molding was considered visually distracting and therefore wasn’t used.


Currently, crown molding is back at the forefront. Designers and homeowners are using it to enhance their living spaces. With all of the various crown molding options and the flexibility of modern design, people who love the look crown molding creates, can easily add it to their space.

Now there are over 100 distinct kinds of crown molding available in most hardware stores. If you don’t like the stock profiles available, you can even get a custom-made molding.

If you live in Northern VA and are interested in adding crown molding to your home or even sprucing up your existing crown molding, reach out to Color Expressions Painting today! We make crown molding installation easy.