Crown molding has evolved with the turn of the century, making appearances in different eras and styles. Originally a functional piece that aligned the wall and ceiling and hid blemishes, crown molding has grown in aesthetic appeal over the ages into a unique interior decor element. This article explores the metamorphosis of crown molding and its appeal over time.
The first of crown molding
Crown moldings traces its origins to ancient European civilizations like the Greeks and Romans. In the 14th century, crown molding played both functional and decorative roles. Exterior wall trim served as a ledge that prevented rainwater from damaging walls on ornate buildings. Interior crown molding framed enormous dining and entertainment areas. The profiles were heavily decorated and often carried emblems and religious themes.
As the world shifted into the Renaissance period, molding styles became more artistic and intricate, using complex leaf and scroll patterns.
Traditional crown molding has roots beyond the European continent. Ancient Egyptians used the molding to adorn Pharaoh's palaces, temples, and the homes of high-ranking officials. In Asia, crown molding also sat in temples and palaces and the vast styles detailed the region’s cultural and spiritual beliefs.
Crown molding in the 18th and 19th century
The Georgian and Victorian eras saw the expansion of the arts, literature, and architecture. During these periods, crown molding was a mark of affluence and featured sophisticated wood patterns in majestic homes.
The artistic liberation in these ages combined with the growing prominence of crown molding in interior finishes, led to the expansion of designs. At the height of the 19th century, crown molding styles were a mark of uniqueness and prestige.
Modern-day crown molding styles
Architectural styles shifted gears in the 20th century aiming for simplicity. The Arts and Crafts movement influenced smoother-lined profiles. At this time, plain crown molding expressed timeless class and deviated from extravagance.
As the century wore on, transitionist enthusiasts combined traditional layouts with modern ideas to unearth unique decor finishes. These designers banked on open-minded experimentation and continuous trial-and-error.
During this time, crown molding materials also evolved from the old-fashioned hardwood and stone to include more budget-friendly yet stylish alternatives. Today, wall trim comes in multiple choices like softwood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plaster, polystyrene and polyurethane.
Materials like polyurethane are light, flexible, and easy to install. They are durable and withstand harsh conditions like humidity and heat without warping or cracking. Dense polyurethane crown molding is versatile and can be painted to achieve multiple finishes.
Current crown molding trends
As home and office space designs lean towards minimalism, crown molding is a key component of bringing a space together. Today, crown molding plays these creative functional and aesthetic roles, in addition to the conventional task of providing fluidity between the wall and ceiling:
● Holds lighting installations like fairy lights or LED strips to create an ambient feel in a relaxation room or lounge.
● Can be used to design shelves or picture frames.
● To provide a focal point as stacked or elaborate designs.
● To complement other molding like wainscoting and baseboard molding.
● To create a contrast between the walls and ceilings by playing with color combinations. White is the timeless go-to color for crown molding. It easily compliments or contrasts any other wall color and conveys a clean elegance. However, modern concepts are broadening the color palette to fit inspired and fun ideas. Popular crown molding colors include cool tones like blue, minimalist hues like gray, and warm, popping colors to match the walls.
In addition, the availability of light and easy-to-apply materials has led to the rise of DIY fans who prefer self-installation over hiring a professional. DIY crown molding fixing is effortless with the right tools, like a miter saw, coping saw, and angle protractor.
However, professional installation promises high quality and is ideal, especially when cutting inside and outside corners. While DIY installation is a cost-saving strategy, one must be certain that they will do a clean job or be willing and able to make adjustments until the right fit.
Crown molding has stood the test of time and seen the rise and fall of empires and changing architectural layouts. Traditionally a show of social status, the wall trim spread out from lavish structures to complete modern, ordinary homes. While crown molding designs have evolved from the elaborate decor pieces adorning temples and palaces, the trim remains an aesthetic focal point for any room. Crown molding can emphasize architectural detail, demarcate an open area, or carry its age-old sense of splendor. As technology involves incorporating new designs and materials like polyurethane, crown molding remains an affordable and beautiful finish for interior and exterior spaces.