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What is Crown Molding?

By Shannon Kietzman
Updated Jan 29, 2024
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Crown molding is a decorative type of trim that is typically used to line the area where the ceiling of a home meets the wall. It was originally used in the late Renaissance, when it was used to cover imperfections in this area. While this trim may still be used for that purpose today, it is mostly installed in order to add a touch of class and style to a room.

This molding can be purchased from nearly any home improvement store in a wide array of sizes and designs. It may be plain or it may contain intricate designs, with abstract lines and images of leaves and other plant parts being the most commonly found. In addition, a homeowner may choose to have crown molding custom made for the room.

Crown molding can be made from a variety of materials. Molding made from softwoods such as poplar, pine, and spruce are commonly available. This type is relatively inexpensive and easy to cut. Hardwoods, such as oak, are a bit more expensive to purchase.

Other materials, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and high-density polyurethane foam, are used to create crown molding and are easy to paint. MDF can be a bit difficult to install because it is quite heavy, while the foam is lightweight and attached with adhesive rather than with nails. The foam is also advantageous because it does not swell or shrink like wood can.

The design, size, and materials used for crown molding in a particular room largely depends on whether or not it will be painted and stained. It also depends on the homeowner’s budget, as some styles can be quite costly. Regardless of the type selected, installing it in a home is a somewhat simple task. The most complicated aspect of the installation is attaining the correct cuts in order to make the pieces butt up against each other properly along the wall and the ceiling. After achieving the correct cuts, the molding is simply nailed into place and painted or stained to match the decor.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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