The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Modern Crown Molding

Written by Milan Jara on 28th Jun 2022

Modern Crown Moldings

Your home's style and ceiling height may determine what crown molding is best for your home. This ultimate guide will help.

Adding crown molding to a room finishes the look. It allows homeowners to accessorize the home and involves doing a little work to achieve the perfect finished appearance. Crown molding is easy to install, providing you have a power miter saw and power nailer. Since modern crown molding has some rules of its own, we go over how to make it look its best in your décor.

Crown molding is not suitable for every home design. It can also be misused and overused. If you are going for a modern or contemporary appearance, you may have to be selective on your type of crown molding. Furthermore, adding crown molding to a room doesn't automatically provide a classical style.

However, just because you may not be able to incorporate an elaborately detailed design, this shouldn't deter you from using it in contemporary modern homes. It just means that you must find one that matches your home décor style. For modern styles, use trim with a simple and clean profile to compliment the home.

Crown molding is only a single facet of your home. You can also use it for baseboards, trims, wainscoting, and chair rails. It is not confined to ceiling trims. Additionally, crown molding can be placed around cabinetry.

The right crown molding should generate depth and elegance to the home. It should be subtle without overpowering the room.

What Is the Purpose of Crown Molding?

Modern Crown Moldings

The name itself creates images of luxury and royalty. However, the name simply describes the trim joining the ceiling and wall. Most people consider it the wainscoting for the inside corner of a ceiling.

Its purpose began with ancient Greek architects who used it to diffuse differences in material types in space. However, there are additional benefits like:

  • Creates dimension
  • Hides imperfections
  • Generates complexity and design possibilities
  • Elevates a home's value
  • Creates grandeur
  • Complements your existing design elements

Considerations for Choosing Modern Crown Molding

The features to consider when choosing the proper crown molding involve location, design / pattern, materials, size, and finish.


While people incorporate crown molding into living rooms, large entrances, or formal dining spaces, you can use it in any area of your home. It can create prestige in a room or provide a modern flair.

  • Over arches
  • In showers
  • Above a wall or kitchen cabinet
  • Traditional wall to ceiling


Modern Crown Moldings

Rooms with high ceilings can incorporate a larger crown. However, larger crowns will overpower a room with eight-foot ceilings and make the room look smaller. Square footage needs to be factored in when choosing the size of the crown molding.

While you may be tempted to use an elaborate crown for a formal space if the room has a high ceiling but not enough square footage, the crown will dominate the room.

In selecting your crown molding, choose one proportionate to the room size. Choose additional trim elements to add a modern touch or a bit of luxury. The general size guideline is as follows:

  • Eight-foot ceilings: 2'1" to 2'6" tall. The molding should be wider and offer a simple design.
  • Nine-foot ceilings: These can withstand a larger crown of 3” to 7.5” and use picture molds. They are often built up using two plus molding profiles known as cornices.
  • Ten-foot ceilings and up: This requires a larger crown for visual impact. They should be a minimum of 4". For any formal space, the crown should be a minimum of 9”.Above a wall or kitchen cabinet


Decorative crown molding materials are endless. Choosing the correct material for your home's vision isn't difficult, and you can easily find one suited for your budget. The three main categories are:

  • Wood Molding Alternatives. This includes rubber, foam, plastic, and polyurethane. These have the appearance of solid wood, resist moisture, and are flexible.
  • Wood. This is a popular material for decorative molding or a chair rail because it is easy to paint and lightweight.
  • Tile and Stone. Tile and stone molding provide superior aesthetics that look beautiful and natural and add interesting architectural detail. They include marble, limestone, granite, and others.
  • Plaster. More costly but not susceptible to moisture or environmental temperatures. It doesn't easily contract and expand as solid wood does.
  • MDF. This is an affordable option when compared to plaster or wood. It is durable and works well in rooms where you want to paint your trim.

Once the proper material is selected, consider the design for the crown molding.

Pattern and Design

Crown molding references any type of molding where the wall and ceiling join. There are several shapes and patterns you can incorporate into your look. The best way to determine how to choose a look that will elevate the room is by matching it to other trim types or existing baseboards.

You will need to ask yourself:

  • Is the design scrolled or sharp?
  • Is the design simple or complex?
  • What do the details tell you?

Classical homes can get away with very detailed crown molding. Minimalistic, modern, and contemporary homes will need something with straight lines so that they don't look out of place with the surrounding décor. Therefore, your crown molding needs to be simple, not ornate or detailed, and contain a more lined element than decorative.

Descriptions help determine the right crown molding style for your house. To narrow the list, look around your home. To find trim elements, examine your window surrounds, door surrounds, baseboards, backsplashes, chair rails, and wainscot molding.

Selecting the Appropriate Finish

Finishes can be just as important as selecting the proper crown molding. Some popular finishes include:

  • Honed finish provides a contemporary matte appearance
  • Polished finish appeal to marble and travertine materials
  • French quarter incorporates a distressed look for rustic or shabby chic homes

This guide will help you find the right modern crown molding for your room. Depending on the style of your home combined with the ceiling height may determine which type of lovely crown molding is best suited for you.

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