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Crown molding iStock

Not all cakes need icing, but they’re arguably better with the sweet concoction. The same goes for a room decked in trim. Read on to steal these ceiling trim and molding ideas to add more style to your rooms.

Special thanks to the KB Classical Moulding catalogue, available at, for guidance on molding styles and history.

The Purpose of Crown Molding

It isn’t essential, but adding crown molding goes a long way in achieving old-house charm.

Crown Molding Designs

Here, we see what different styles of the trim—Federal, Greek Revival, Early American, Georgian, Colonial Revival, Traditional Revival and Craftsman—can do for your rooms.

Volume for a Low Ceiling

Federal Style Crown Molding With Low Ceiling Photo by David Prince

Simple, elegant beading makes this Federal style crown molding help a low-ceilinged room full of feminine neutral accents read as voluminous.

The English-inspired style was popular after the American Revolution and into the early 19th century and characterized by its simple beads (small indented lines) and cavetto (concave) shapes.

Bumped-Up Look

Bumped Up Crown Molding Photo by Gene Pollux

In addition to a four-foot bump out, visual cues like small-scale Early American molding help this reworked kitchen appear larger.

The cyma recta curve (concave at the outer edge and convex at the inner edge) where the crown meets the ceiling and simple beading makes this molding just enough of an accent for this bold-colored kitchen.

Upgraded Trim for Crisp Lines

Colonial Revival Crown Molding Photo by Tria Giovan

Like the rest of the house, this living room was in great shape but needed help. The homeowner hid the original built-ins' valances with new trim and installed Colonial Revival crown for a crisp, clean look reflected in the dentil mold of the room's mantel.

Typically reserved for nicer rooms of the home, this style harnesses a mix of bold (Greek Revival) and light (Federal) profiles for the best of both worlds. Crown profiles may include the S shape of an ogee and the double curved cyma.

Uncrowded Crown Style

Classical Revival Top Trim On Kitchen Cabinets Photo by Tria Giovan

Older homes have smaller canvases for flourishes like generous crown molding, creating a crowding problem. So this sharp homeowner tacked on Classical Revival top trim on her kitchen cabinets only, providing more room for natural light around the sink.

This style, noted for its dignity and monumentality, makes for a significant style contribution. The bold scale is softened in the small space by the cyma recta (concave at the outer edge and convex at the inner edge) top and flat-front boards that tie the crown in with kitchen cabinets below.

Original Built-In

Low Profile Crown Molding Photo by Tria Giovan

A revived original three-corner cupboard becomes the room's focal point with the help of low-profile crown molding and other trim details.

Barely-There Crown

Minimal Trim in Breakfast Area Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Minimal trim keeps this breakfast area looking cheery and finished without overwhelming it.

S-Shaped Crown for a Finished Look

Ogee Crown Molding Photo by Anthony Tieuli

A simple ogee (S-shape) crown molding—albeit a small dose—does wonders for putting the finishing touches on a bright redo.

Crown Hugging Odd Corners

Crown Molding in Corner Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Simple Federal crown molding makes this oddly shaped room feel cohesive.

Cohesive Kitchen Cabinets

Crown Molding in Kitchen Photo by David Prince

Glossy white cabinets and stainless steel appliances keep the kitchen area un-fussy in the open plan kitchen/dining/family room setup. Simple Early American-style crown molding—plus a little flourish atypical to the style at the bottom to join the cabinet tops—helps the eye roam to other parts of the open area plan.

Recreate the minimalist look by adding an intricate back bend at the bottom of the crown molding's flat casing to blend with the top of kitchen cabinetry.

Less Crown, More Impact

Bold Trim in Square Column Photo by Julian Wass

In some cases, using bold trim sparingly makes for a bigger statement. Here, Federal crown molding adorns a square column and cabinetry to highlight those structural elements.

Greek Revival

Greek Revival Crown Molding Photo by Julian Wass

Bright white Greek Revival crown molding gives the eye a place to rest in this blue room absent of wall adornment, save for an awning-style window.

This simple profile is meant to look like the column and entablature decorations found in ancient Greek temples. Supersized ogee (S-shape) and ovolo (convex) curves appear often in this style.

Contrasting Casings

Contrasting Casings in Arch in Bedroom Photo by Julian Wass

An arch in this master bedroom—modeled after an original built-in bookcase—is grounded by sleek Greek Revival crown molding.

Federal Old-Fashioned Feel

Crown Molding in Bathroom Photo by Julian Wass

Federal crown molding adds to other old-fashioned details that distract from the bath's modern amenities, like an air-jet tub.

Nautical Color Combo

Crown Molding in Houseboat Photo by Alex Hayden

A houseboat gets the ultimate nautical treatment with gleaming stained trim against clean white walls.

Minimalist Matching Trim

Minimal Traditional Revival Molding in Dining Room Photo by Alex Hayden

Minimal Traditional Revival molding was the basis for this dining room's new sustainable fir window casings. Corner molding provides a little more ornamentation for the eyes.

This style is an evolution of the classical profiles from earlier in the 19th century, minimizing and simplifying them while enlarging the individual parts. Think Greek Revival with more details.

Brightened-Up Compact Kitchen

Coffered Ceiling Trim in Kitchen Photo by Alex Hayden

A skylight and coffered ceiling decked in Federal trim lightens and brightens a tiny kitchen full of reclaimed finds.

Heavy on The Wood Trim

Wood Trim in Kitchen Photo by Nathan Kirkman

Greek Revival crown molding matches quartersawn white oak cabinets to balance out saturated yellow walls and ceiling, creating warmth in a cabin-reminiscent space.

Pared-Down Crown

Pared-Down Crown Photo by Nathan Kirkman

Barely-there beading of Early American trim highlights a handsome Craftsman built-in banquette and dining table.

Standout Crown and Feet

Early American Moldings in Kitchen Photo by Ken Gutmaker

Large-scale Early American moldings were made to match substantial kitchen cabinetry feet mimicked from a vintage dresser.

Highlighted Beadboard

Beadboard Ceiling in Living Room Photo by Ken Gutmaker

The Traditional Revival crown molding in this former sunken living room isn't the only element that's seen beading. The weighty topper highlights a beadboard ceiling chosen for its vintage cues.

Crown Curtain Rods

Georgian Trim in Bedroom Photo by Ken Gutmaker

Expand your crown molding horizons by using it to top off other room elements. Georgian trim with dentil details along the French doors and window tops significantly up the space's design, all while echoing the complementing trim just inches above.

This gracious 17th-century style is design-heavy down to the small square blocks of the dentil trim and other details.

Blended In Built-Ins

Early American Trim in Built-in Photo by Alex Hayden

Subtle Early American trim tops off the casing of a built-in, making the addition looks like it's always been there—even though crown molding is absent in the rest of the area.

Early American Trim Gives New Ceiling Height

Early American Trim in Kitchen Photo by Alex Hayden

Lose a drop ceiling and there's no sense in skimping on the crown molding! Small-scale Early American trim draws the eye upward and makes up for all that new ceiling room.

Coffered Ceiling: Crown For Preservation's Sake

Coffered Ceiling Photo by Paul Whicheloe

Gorgeous coffering serves as more than adornment. Designers added the feature to help preserve the pristine plaster ceiling from future water damage and cracks. Plus, the additional surface next to the beams allows for an ornate profile.

Greek Revival Kitchen Trim

Greek Revival Kitchen Trim Photo by Helen Norman

Bold Greek Revival trim tops off creamy yellow cabinets in this cheerful kitchen. Kitchen cabinet-topping crown molding lends cohesion to a room full of disparate features like the ceramic-tile backsplash and heart pine floors.

Flat-front Molding with a Shapely Mantel

Flat-front Molding Photo by Judith Bromley

Flat-front molding with few flourishes—typical of simple Craftsman trim—lets the handsome mahogany mantel and its geometric features command attention.

This relatively understated style is tied to the Arts and Crafts movement, which emphasized skill and craftsmanship, rather than the ornate details of previous styles.

Elegant Corner Block

Curved Corner Blocks Photo by Nathan Kirkman

Curvaceous corner blocks in the front parlor create additional visual interest to the Colonial Revival crown and green built-in bookshelves.

Federal-Style, Simple and Masculine

Federal-Style Crown Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Homeowners added low-key Federal-style crown in a formerly dilapidated bungalow's living room for a masculine finish with few flourishes.

Layers of Molding

Molding Layers Photo by Laura Moss

Substantial crown molding defines the ceiling and wall, and adds some much-needed ornamentation.

Custom Designs

Custom Crown Molding Designs Photo by Stephen Karlisch

Stepped-up Traditional Revival crown molding complements the faux-old floral tile on the fireplace's cast-iron propane insert. Molding built with flat fronts leaves room for custom-look flourishes, like the one pictured.

Framed Up Pocket Doors

Arched Pocket Doors Photo by Jurgen Frank

Lots of beading at play in the Federal crown molding frames up this dining room's entertaining features, the built-in China cabinets and arched pocket doors.

Georgian Style

Georgian Style Dentil Molding Photo by Jill Connors

Georgian-style dentil molding—plus extra details—gives this fireplace the ultimate historical treatment. Coordinating crown and window cases dripping in detail and generous beading keep the eye roaming.

Make like a circa 1770's wealthy landowner and replicate the elegance of the Georgian style with buildable blocks, bed molds, dentil and hefty crown molding.

Chic Corner Blocks

Corner Blocks Crown Molding Photo by Susan Seubert

Corner blocks of Colonial Revival crown molding draw the eye upward to the vaulted, beadboard ceiling.


Rosettes Crown Molding Photo by Timothy Bell

The lighter side of Colonial Revival crown molding and period-appropriate wall color let rosettes on window casings and a classical mantel take center stage in this former frat house's master bedroom.

Crib with a Coffered View

Coffered Ceiling Baby Nursery Photo by Matt Wittmeyer

Inspired by intricate Victorian plaster designs, a homeowner transformed a blank room into a nursery with a whimsical coffered ceiling. Federal molding with stepped details and corners provide lots for developing eyes to gaze upon.

The homeowner used a computerized router to cut patterns from MDF to use as bending forms. Then, he formed the coffering with a vacuum press, and seven pieces of poplar trim laminated, spending a total of 130 hours on the project.

Steel Beam-Disguising Crown

Steel Beam Coffered Ceiling Photo by Susan Gilmore

Two essential steel beams—along with a grid of false beams—create a coffered ceiling. Pared-down Greek Revival crown molding complements, rather than competes, with the room's built-ins.

Obscure Garage Tell-Tale Signs

Beadboard in Garage Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Federal crown molding masks any remnants of this media room's former identity—a freestanding garage. Built-in storage and plenty of beadboard throughout make the room feel like it's been there for years.

Refined Curve With Victorian Ambience

Wide Openings With Casings and Molding Photo by Matthew Millman

Wide openings with casings were created in an Italianate San Francisco townhouse formerly split up into apartments for a brothel. Federal-style moldings bring a refined and cohesive look to the former place of ill repute.

Fine beading and intricately shaped openings will do the trick for a formal, Victorian feel, even in places of already good repute.

Early American Molding Offers Widened View

Large Scale Molding in Brownstone Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Here, crown molding painted to match the ceiling makes the narrow room of the TOH TV Brooklyn brownstone open up visually.

Want to recreate the look? Opt for large-scale, simple Early American molding to get the optimal widening effect.