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How Has Crown Moulding Design Changed Over The Years?


Crown moulding frames the space in which we live. From hand-carved columns to the adornment of temples, moulding of all types has drawn on elegant shapes and ornamental detail to enrich and embellish buildings made for shelter, worship, gathering, and even death. Dating all the way back to Ancient Egypt, crown moulding used to be carved by hand. A laborious task which designated the wealth and prosperity of the purveyor. Today, crown moulding is an affordable detail found in homes of all budgets. How else has crown moulding design changed over the years?

Original Crown Moulding Design

The ancient Egyptians favored two styles of crown moulding; the “cavetto” and the “torus”. Cavetto moulding was a grand cornice used on the outside of buildings, while torus moulding was used to decorate columns. The rounded designs we tend to use today, however, are inspired by Roman and Greek styles of moulding. Their classic shapes were based on circles, which eventually resulted in the rounded styles of moulding common in modern homes.

What Else Has Changed In Crown Moulding Design Since Then?

Unsurprisingly, the materials we use for our crown moulding has changed. Today, we favor wood or plaster mouldings, while the Greeks and Romans were carving from stone or marble. Manufacturing has also played a large role in the accessibility and range of designs available for crown moulding today. Before the 19th century, carpenters would use chisels and other small hand tools to carve and install each moulding by hand.

Crown Mouldings Move To Interiors

In the 17th and 18th century, English craftsman revolutionized the look of rooms by inviting crown moulding into the interiors of the home. Richly enhancing door frames, window lintels, fireplace mantels and staircases. In addition to wood favored by British and Americans, the French perfected the use of cast plaster moldings to enhance exquisitely carved woodwork, known as “boiseries.” Thus an entire industry arose with studios specializing in interior paneling and its ornamentation, which brings us to where we are today.

While the Victorian Era began to see more ornate mouldings, the age of clean and sleek lines arose to the modern crown mouldings we see today. But despite its endless variations and motifs, crown moulding can essentially be divided into two categories: simple or compound. And despite the many variations within, one thing is for sure. As long as humans continue to build shelter, crown moulding will continue to persist. Which historical style of crown moulding is your favorite? Tell us about it today at 905.856.9100 or

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