What Is Crown Molding and Is It Outdated?

What Is Crown Molding and Is It Outdated?

Walls
Additions and Remodels
By Alex Mikayelyan October 27, 2021

As contemporary design philosophies focused on simpler design features, small details that used to accentuate the more complex interiors of the Victorian or Gothic began to disappear. Molding, decor, wall and ceiling ornamentation, and plenty of other interior additions that were once considered elegant and high-class are seen as somewhat outdated today. But are they really?

Interior design and architectural trends go through cycles. What was once considered outdated is now popular again and what was once considered the peak of stylish design is now tacky and overdone. One design element that we tend to ask the same question about is crown molding ceiling trim. Molding of various types has decorated ceilings, walls, as well as door and window frames for ages. And while with the introduction of minimal contemporary interiors this particular feature has lost its popularity to some extent, would one go about calling it outdated?

What is crown molding?

The Subtle Beauty of That Comes With Wall Trim

The Subtle Beauty of That Comes With Wall Trim

But before we understand whether it is outdated or not we must first understand what crown molding is and how it’s used in interior design. Crown molding is a type of ceiling trim you will typically find in Victorian, Gothic, Traditional, Transitional, and many other types of interiors.

Trim is a type of wall and ceiling decoration that is attached to the surface and goes along the entire perimeter. Trim is also used to decorate door and window frames, giving them a more complex visual flair. Other examples of trim include wainscotting, paneling, or cove molding. While these are not particularly loud or bold design details, they contribute to the overall atmosphere of the room, adding subtle notes of luxury and style.

Trim is meant to accentuate the interior, complementing the colors of the walls, the furniture, and other, more apparent design details. Crown molding is a type of trim that is installed on the edge of your walls and ceiling. It allows the walls to smoothly blend and flow into the ceiling, as opposed to having a jagged edge and corner in that particular area. 

Does crown molding add value to a home?

The Benefits of Installing Crown Molding

The Benefits of Installing Crown Molding

It really depends on what the crown molding looks like, its condition, as well as the condition of the walls and ceiling. In a contemporary interior, where design elements are minimal and the room is meant to have few to no ornate details, ceiling molding can look out of place and tacked on. But if you are going for a more classic interior, such as Victorian, Georgian, or Gothic, then highly-ornate and decorative crown molding will surely add value to your home.

The Effects of Crown Molding and Other Trims on Your Interior

The Effects of Crown Molding and Other Trims on Your Interior

Crown molding is typically installed in the busiest rooms around the house, such as living rooms, dining rooms, and lounges. Crown molding can even be found in bathrooms and kitchens, though not as commonly. In bathrooms and kitchens, which are rooms with access to water, buyers may instinctively look up to the ceiling to see if there are any drip marks or stains. When they look up and see the elegance of the crown molding they will surely be impressed. Also, crown molding gives the edges of your walls and ceiling some added protection. Leaving them bare could reveal damage that you don’t want the buyers to notice.

Crown molding can be replaced and freshened up right before the house goes on sale. This can greatly increase the value of your home and land you a better price than if the edges of the walls and ceilings were left bare, with all their imperfections. So while the increase in home value may not be as concrete as say bigger, more visible home additions, every little detail counts, and the crown molding will definitely catch the attention of your potential buyers. 

Why is crown molding so expensive?

You Get What You Pay For With Crown Molding

You Get What You Pay For With Crown Molding

Increasing the value of your home is all about taking the little steps and making the best of what you have. Ask any real estate agent and they will tell you how important even the tiniest details of your interior can be. Unfortunately, even something as subtle as crown molding can be quite costly. Crown molding prices vary from the more affordable $5 per linear foot to $45 if you’re looking for something of higher quality.

So if you are installing a lower-priced $10 per linear foot styrofoam crown molding in a 300 square foot room, it may cost you upwards of $800 to cover the full room for the materials alone. And this is for just one room. Keep in mind that if you install crown molding in one room, say the living room, you will also have to install it in all the other rooms that it transitions to, such as the family room and dining room. Having one room with crown molding and leaving the one right next to it bare will be very conspicuous and the buyers will immediately notice the inconsistency.

Elegant and Alluring Crown Molding Designs

Elegant and Alluring Crown Molding Designs

However, there is an easier way out. There are modern crown molding installation kits you can purchase which allow you to install the trim yourself, saving you the expense of labor costs. While it’s always good to have a contractor by your side to help you get all the installation steps right, this is one way you can save on the cost of installing crown molding trim. 

How is crown molding installed?

What You’ll Need to Install Crown Molding Yourself

What You’ll Need to Install Crown Molding Yourself

Modern retailers offer a lot of useful tools that make crown molding installation a breeze. There are kits on sale which come with everything you need to install crown molding. In fact, all you really need to get the job done in terms of tools and equipment is a hammer, nails, caulk, and the crown molding itself. You may also need a handsaw for cutting crown molding into smaller pieces. A ladder is also a very important piece of equipment in crown molding installation, as are gloves and goggles to ensure your safety. To have an easy crown molding installation, it is also advised to have someone more experienced with you on standby to help you with all the nuances of the process.

Assuming that the foam crown molding pieces have all been cut to fit your room perfectly by the manufacturer or the retailer you bought them from, you can start the installation. Begin by ensuring that all the pieces are cut to the exact length and that they line up perfectly along the wall. Also, remember to check the crown molding corners and joints to see if they properly fit onto the corner. If they do not, mark them using a pencil and cut down the molding piece with a saw to make it fit.

Ways to Ensure That Your Crown Molding Stays on for a Long Time

Ways to Ensure That Your Crown Molding Stays on for a Long Time

Once you have measured out the pieces and they all fit perfectly into place, you should now apply the adhesive to the walls and ceiling. You can use any kind of construction adhesive that you trust, like caulk for example. Once the piece has been attached and is firmly on the wall, use the hammer and nails to affix the molding into place.

Measure out each piece of crown molding, especially the joints and connectors, before you attach them. The entire process should take you a day or two depending on how much crown molding is going to be installed.

Is crown molding outdated?

Interiors That Should Include Crown Molding

Interiors That Should Include Crown Molding

This leads us to the most important question: is crown molding outdated? What would be the point of going through the trouble of installing crown molding if it results in something that is too passe to appreciate?

Fortunately, ask any professional interior designer and the answer will be a resounding “no”. Crown molding is more than just a simple fad that comes and goes, such as accent walls or color pops. It is an interior design feature that spans generations and all manner of interior styles. Its wide usage and high personalization allow it to stay fresh as homeowners find new and exciting ways to implement it into their interiors.

Crown Molding Designs and Styles Still Relevant Today

Crown Molding Designs and Styles Still Relevant Today

With modern revivals of classic interior designs, such as Victorian, Gothic, and Greek, crown molding isn’t simply a preference — in many cases, it is a requirement. If you want to instill the regal vibes of a Victorian or Georgian, you should not leave your walls and ceiling bare and will have to install crown molding. The same goes for the more minimal Transitional interiors, which also make good use of the added elegance and poshness that crown molding has to offer. 


So, while crown molding does not have a role to play in more modern interiors, such as the Loft, Industrial, Contemporary, or Scandinavian, it is still tantamount to any other design element of classic interiors. Avoiding crown molding in your Victorian is the same as not having a chandelier, or ornate doors, or wainscotting. You won’t get that wholesome vintage look without them.

Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan