Crown molding is the crown of the room. Not only does it draw our eyes up to give us a sense of greater height and space, but it’s a little the earrings in a good outfit--it finishes the look. Whether you’re a traditionalist or into the most modern of spaces, we’ve got tons of awesome crown molding ideas to check out below!
As you’re browsing this list of ideas, keep in mind a few questions. First, what kind of statement do you want to make with your home’s style? Do you want a modern, cool look? Do you want a historical, dramatic look?
You should also think about the design challenges you face. Do you have short ceilings that you’d like to lengthen? Do you have huge rooms that seem almost too big? Is everything builder grade, and you need to customize it and make it feel more personal?
Types of Crown Molding
The decision to use one of these crown molding ideas might be a no-brainer but figuring out which type might be a little more difficult. There are so many crown molding ideas and types to choose from!
The good news is that thanks to all the options and materials available today, you can find something to fit your style no matter your budget. The bad news is you’re going to fall in love with so many of these ideas; it might be hard to choose just one!
Plaster molding is dramatic, traditional, expensive, and stunning. The original version used by the Greeks has been modified for today’s materials and lifestyles, but it’s no less statement-making.
Today’s plaster crown molding is made to order and needs to be installed professionally.
If your heart is set on stained wood crown molding, you’ll need to go with 100% real wood. And it’s a beautiful choice--though, like all wood, it’s subject to expanding or contracting with the temperature and moisture.
That said, it’s the best choice if you want the look of unpainted wood, and it has historicity to it that’s hard to deny.
MDF molding is much cheaper than plaster or wood, and it’s also much more stable. It must be painted, but that’s an appropriate choice for most homes.
Polyurethane is cheap and holds up well to insects and moisture, so it’s a good choice for places like bathrooms. It is also able to take on a stained-wood look, though it won’t be quite as satisfying as wood molding.
PVC molding is made from plastic, so it’s a terrific choice in wet parts of the house, like the bathroom. As practical as it is, however, it doesn’t take well to paint so that it can be something of a challenge.
Here’s How to Use Crown Molding:
No matter what type of crown molding you decide to use, here is our eight favorite ways to use it!
1. Use Crown Molding to Make Your Room Look Bigger
Crown molding is all about proportions, and using it artfully can fool the eye into thinking the room is bigger than it is. This can go both ways, however, so be careful. Crown molding that’s too large for the space will make the walls look shorter.
Perfectly-sized molding, however, means that your eye is constantly traveling, not just up, but around the room. This helps to give the room a sense of space and breathing room.
Crown molding will also help your room look bigger if it’s the same color as the walls, helping to extend their lines. Dark colors also help to make rooms look bigger, while strong contrast or light or bright colors can make it look smaller.
2. Use Crown Molding to Make a Statement
Whether you’re using plaster or polyurethane, crown molding has the reputation it has because of the drama and flair it can add to a room. You’re probably thinking of dramatic Greek flourishes or heavy wood crown molding panels, but something as simple and profound as shaker crown molding can also make a strong style impact on a space.
3. Use Crown Molding to Take Your Cabinets Up a Notch
If your cabinets touch the ceiling, you can use crown molding to make them look more finished. Done right, they’ll make your cabinets look more modern or more luxe, without having to redo them.
If there’s a space between the cabinets and the ceiling, using crown molding to trim your cabinets can make them look taller and more spacious, as well as more expensive. Plus, that small piece of molding will help your kitchen feel more balanced, especially if you’ve put a lot of thought and design work into the floor and countertops.
4. Use Crown Molding to Jazz Up a Small Space
Small spaces like entryways or bathrooms can be difficult to decorate. If the paint is too bright, for example, they can close in and feel even smaller, but if it’s too light, space gets lost.
Especially for entryways that are often very tall but have a tiny footprint, crown molding can provide a visual anchor and help to delineate the room. Crown molding can also make these spaces more interesting, especially when there’s no room for artwork or furniture.
When used in the entryway, it can provide guests with a distinct clue about the style in the rest of the house, providing a welcome invitation.
5. Use Crown Molding to Create Mood Lighting
A unique way to use crown molding is to pair it with lighting for a distinct sense of ambiance that’s either inviting, cozy, homey, or dramatic, depending on how you design it! It can be a complicated, architect-designed situation, or it can be as simple as a gap between the molding and the ceiling and rope lights tucked into the area between!
Installing a dimmer switch can help you customize the lighting even more; you can even use smart lights to change the colors and set timers on your lighting. This kind of lighting is especially helpful when you’re not able to use lots of lamps to create a homey atmosphere, or when you are dealing with harsh overhead lights and want to soften them.
6. Use Crown Molding to Trim Doors and Windows and Decorate the Walls
Crown molding doesn’t have to just be for your walls; you can also use it to trim your doors and windows! While there’s molding designed specifically for these items, using crown molding, instead, is an unexpected and often delightful twist.
Using it to accent windows, for example, is an inexpensive and easy way to add a tremendous amount of style and drama without relying on expensive window treatments like custom curtains or blinds.
You also don’t have to use crown molding only on the tops of your walls; you can also use it in the center of your wall to mark a change in paint color or to top bed board or other accent material. Or, use it to make squares and create panes. If you do this, make sure you paint it a contrasting color, so your artwork stands out!
7. Use Crown Molding to Add a Touch of History
Let’s face it--crown molding is the ultimate in old home romance! It can be expensive and time-consuming to fill your home with antiques from your favorite period, but historical crown molding is a simple way to add that sense of history without breaking the bank.
8. Use Crown Molding to Add a Modern Vibe
If it’s modernity you prefer, not history, you’re in luck, since crown molding can help you achieve that look, too. Keep your crown molding clean, simple, and minimal gives it a modern edge, and painting it contrasting colors can help bring it into the modern age, as well.
9. Use Crown Molding to Make Your Home Look Custom Built
There’s no doubt that crown molding can make your home look more refined, elegant, and luxurious but the good news is this doesn’t have to cost a ton of money or be a ton of work. A simple molding can make boring walls look custom in no time.
The Final Word on Crown Molding
Crown molding is not something you should settle on. It has too much power in a room to be an afterthought. Not only can it help create the illusion of more space and height, but it can lend a sense of drama that you’ll have trouble creating otherwise. Hopefully, this list of crown molding ideas has you convinced that it’s worth spending time and energy on; happy designing!