Designer SOS : Crown molding

Today's question comes from a dear friend of mine. Like many, she has standard eight feet ceilings and wants to know, can crown molding work in my house?

Crown molding can add architectural interest and make a room feel more polished. When deciding if and what type of crown molding to go with, there are a couple key things to consider.

1)The architectural style of your home.

If you have a very contemporary or modern home, crown molding all together may look out of place. The period of your home should also influence the crown molding profile that you use. A very ornate crown molding would not be complimentary in a craftsman style home.

2)  The ceiling height of your home and the available wall space above windows and doors.

Scale is important. A molding that is too overpowering will make a room feel smaller; too small and it will look wimpy.  As we know, all rules can be broken but here is a general guideline:

Eight feet ceiling height - keep crown width to  3-5"                                                  

Nine to Ten feet ceilings- keep crown width to 5"-7"                                                                 

For even taller ceilings, you will need to build up. Once you get to this range, more than likely you won’t find crown molding in exactly the right width. The molding is usually built up by combining multiple pieces of trim.  One common way to build up molding is by starting with a standard baseboard, installed upside down. Then, on top of this, a piece of crown molding is used, exposing the bottom few inches of the base, as seen in the image below.

A trick when working with lower ceiling heights, you can achieve the illusion of a wider crown without taking up much wall space by extending molding onto the ceiling. 


In the image below, they took it a step further and painted the crown the same color as the walls giving the illusion of the ceiling being lifted.

This crown is pretty narrow in height but has a wide projection.

So yes, crown molding can look good in homes even with standard ceiling heights. Just be cautious of its proportions and that it is in harmony with the aesthetic of the home.