The History and Evolution of Crown Molding: From Ancient Greece to Modern Design

The History and Evolution of Crown Molding: From Ancient Greece to Modern Design

Crown molding, also known as cornice molding, is a decorative element used to provide a smooth transition between the ceiling and wall. It has been used for centuries to enhance the interior of buildings, providing a touch of elegance and sophistication. Let’s take a look at the history and evolution of crown molding, from ancient Greece to modern design.

Ancient Greece

Crown molding can be traced back to ancient Greece, where it was used to decorate the tops of walls and columns in temples and public buildings. The Greeks used simple, straight-edged moldings made of clay or stone to create a clean, understated look.

Ancient Rome

The Romans adopted the use of crown molding from the Greeks, but they took it to another level, using more elaborate designs and incorporating materials such as marble and bronze. They also used crown molding to decorate their homes, creating a more luxurious and ornate look.

Medieval Europe

In medieval Europe, crown molding was used in castles and churches to create a sense of grandeur and majesty. Gothic architecture, with its pointed arches and intricate carvings, often featured crown molding that was richly detailed and elaborate.

Renaissance Italy

During the Italian Renaissance, crown molding became even more ornate and extravagant. Italian designers used crown molding to accentuate the grandeur of their architectural creations, often using it to complement other decorative elements such as frescoes and wall paintings.

18th and 19th Century Europe

In the 18th and 19th centuries, crown molding became a staple of European interior design. The Baroque and Rococo styles of this era emphasized opulent and grandiose design, and crown molding was used to enhance the overall effect.

American Colonial Period

In the American colonial period, crown molding was a common design element used in homes. The early designs were simple and functional, but as the colonies prospered, the designs became more elaborate and decorative.

Modern Design

Today, crown molding is seen as an essential design element in modern architecture. The styles that adorn new buildings and homes are varied, ranging from the classic Victorian to the sleek, modern designs of today. Materials such as plaster, wood, and foam have been used to create a range of styles and finishes for crown molding.


In conclusion, crown molding has gone through many changes over the centuries. It has evolved from a simple design element used in Greek and Roman buildings to becoming a defining aspect of modern architectural design. Although the materials and styles have changed over time, one thing remains consistent: crown molding continues to be used to add elegance and sophistication to buildings and homes.