What’s Crown Molding? 

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through links. 

Crown moldings, sometimes referred to as cornices, add architectural beauty and some decorative flair to your home. At the same time, they produce an appealing separation between the ceiling and the walls. Best of all, crown molding is one of the most affordable options for upgrading the architecture style and aesthetics of your home’s interior.

Surprisingly, there is very little information about crown moldings out there. Yet there is a lot of information you need to know before you think about crown molding installation in your home.

Well, in this article, I’ll tell you all the crown molding basics that will come in handy during your DIY home improvement project.

What is Crown Molding?

Crown moldings have been in use for more than 2500 years, having originated from the ancient Greeks. More notably, the proportion rules and profiles they created all those years back are still being used today. The only thing that has changed about these moldings is that craftsmen prefer a relatively lighter-weight wood/ plastic crown as opposed to the original heavy stone.

Today, crown moulding is defined as any horizontal separating the ceiling from the walls. To be precise, crown molding refers to the decorative trim shape designed to fit between the ceiling and wall at an angle. However, it is also used on top of other architectural elements like cabinets and door casing for decorative purposes.

Note, ready-made crown moldings are available in various designs and their stock width ranges from 1.5” to 7.5”. But massive moldings are usually crafted from several pieces of decorative trim. Moreover, you can create a larger crown cornice by combining the decorative molding with other types of moldings like backer board, cove or baseboard to produce a unique custom look.

Types of Crown Molding

Different types of crown moldings can be categorized based on the used material. More importantly, you can choose any type of molding for your home, but that will depend on your budget. Besides, each type of material has its own set of cons and pros.

With that in mind, here are some of the common types of crown moldings based on that classification;

Wood crown molding

Wood molding is lightweight, relatively flexible, and available in 8 to 12 ft lengths. Even better, they are made up of various hardwoods such as walnut, oak & ash, or paint-grade pine. In terms of pricing, a simple plain pine crown molding starts at around $1 per foot, But large hardwood crown moldings can cost up to $30 per foot, especially if it has complex milled designs.

Polyurethane foam & flexible polyurethane

Available in 8-12 ft lengths, polyurethane molding looks like plaster-covered foam, but it is lightweight. Also, it doesn’t need professional installation since you can simply use construction adhesive to hold it in place and fill the joints with caulk.

Flexible polyurethane crown molding, on the other hand, is much heavier, but it cuts like wood molding. The best part? It’s quite flexible that you can install it in curved areas with a radius as small as 24”. However, its installation requires the use of construction adhesive as well as finishing nails to hold it in place.


Like polyurethane moldings, PVC trims are lightweight and simple to cut. On the same note, they’re easy to install with construction glue, making them a great choice for DIYers. The only issue with these molded and extruded moldings is that they have limited design options. Other than that, they’re suitable for use in high-humidity areas like bathrooms where wood is susceptible to warping.


Unlike most moldings on this list, plaster moldings require professional installation due to their heavy & rigid nature. Also, they’re a bit pricey, seeing that they can cost around $30 per foot. Still, on installation, you’ll need construction adhesive and screws. More notably, you have to fill the joints with plaster and paint the surface after installation.

Nonetheless, these trims are suitable for large complex designs on high ceilings like 2-story entryways.


Similar to polyurethane and PVC moldings, polystyrene is budget-friendly as well as easy to cut & install. However, it dents easily, and its texture isn’t that great. On the bright side, you can easily smooth out its surface texture with 2 or 3 layers of quality paint.

MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard)

In essence, MDF moldings are produced by mixing resin and sawdust under pressure. Interestingly, this results in less-expensive trim pieces that can range from $1 to $7 per foot. The only issue with using MDF moldings is that they’re susceptible to scratches and nicks because of their soft nature.

Popular styles of crown molding

Currently, there are countless complex and customizable styles of crown moldings you can use to enhance the style of your home. However, the classics are quite simple to find, not to forget that they always work. These include; Colonial, contemporary, Greek-Roman, and Victoria crown molding.

That said, let’s look at some popular crown molding styles out there;

Ovolo (classic egg-shaped design)

Also known as egg & dart molding, this style comprises egg-shaped carvings with darts or dividers. These patterns make them unique from bead styles, whose spherical carvings are side by side.

Acanthus (Greek-Roman)

Dentil molding

Dentil moldings feature a tooth-shaped block that creates an attractive continuous pattern.

Single/ stacked Beaded-shaped molding

A beaded crown molding has small spheres organized in unique patterns such as shapes or rows. You can also find this style incorporated into other crown molding styles.


Regardless of the material or style you choose, installing crown moldings is a budget-friendly way of enhancing your home’s architectural design. Hopefully, after reading this article, you now have a basic understanding of what crown molding is. Rest assured, that information will come in handy in your next crown molding project!

People Also Ask

What’s the difference between trim and molding?

Trim generally refers to any type of molding installed in a home including baseboards, door casing, and window casing. On the contrary, molding refers to a type of trim with an enhanced profile designed for decorative purposes.

When should I not use crown molding?

Crown moldings aren’t suitable for use in vaulted or cathedral ceilings since they may not look good or fit. Besides, these moldings need a specific stopping point and starting point. In essence, this means going around the living room in both directions, then meeting again.

What is the crown molding cost?

The cost of installing crown molding tends to vary depending on the style and material used to make the trim. For instance, solid wood moldings usually cost $2 -$4 per foot. While other materials like PVC, vinyl, and foam crown molding can cost around $1 – $2 per foot.

Why should I install crown molding in my home?

Installing crown molding is a great and fairly simple way to make your home look elegant and finished at a budget-friendly cost. Besides, it can increase the ROI as well as the home value depending on the amount you invest in the project.

Leave a Comment