What Is Crown Molding?

Margaret Wack
Written by Margaret Wack
Reviewed by Andy Kilborn
Updated June 9, 2021
White crown molding in living room
Klaus Vedfelt / iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Crown molding is a type of decorative molding that separates the wall from the ceiling

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If you want to add some decorative flair to your living room, crown molding might give you that classic style you’re looking for. Crown molding covers the corner where the wall and ceiling meet and is an easy way to elevate your space. Plus, there are a ton of different materials and styles of crown molding, and each one gives your room a totally different feel. Installing crown molding could even increase the value of your home!

What Is Crown Molding Used For?

Crown molding was originally used to hide any small gaps between a home’s wall and ceiling. While crown molding originally had a utilitarian purpose, it came to serve as a decorative function. 

During the Victorian era, intricately carved molding was used to make the parlor and bedrooms even more lavish. Though most modern crown molding is more low-key, it’s still the perfect opportunity to add a little character to your home.

What Are the Benefits of Crown Molding?

From the practical to the purely aesthetic, there are many reasons for adding crown molding to a room.

Crown Molding Covers Up Irregularities

The original purpose of crown molding was to cover up any irregularities between the wall and ceiling, and it still serves this purpose even in modern homes. Crown molding can also smooth out any discrepancies between the ceiling and other elements, including cabinets or built-in bookshelves, and can even be used to hide unsightly wires from view.

Crown Molding Adds Aesthetic Appeal

While crown molding started out with a very practical purpose, it’s also used to add style and character to a room. As a decorative element, crown molding can range from simple and straightforward to ornate and detailed—it’s all up to you and the vision for your space.

Crown Molding Increases Home Value

Trim improvements, including crown molding, can also increase a home’s resale value. Crown molding complements high ceilings, making homes more aesthetically appealing to help them sell faster.

Crown Molding Can Be Used for Lighting

It’s becoming increasingly popular to install crown molding slightly below the ceiling edge, and install soft lighting behind it. This creates a unique light source throughout the room.

What Does Crown Molding Cost?

Crown molding costs an average of $4 to $8 per linear foot. For an average project of 500 linear feet, the cost ranges from $2,000 to $4,000

Different crown molding materials may come with different price points. For instance, plaster crown molding is typically more expensive than wood because it demands a higher level of detail during the installation process.

Elegant Crown Molding
© SafakOguz / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images.

What Are the Different Types of Crown Molding?

There are a few different types of crown molding materials, including wood, plaster, and PVC.


Wood is a traditional choice for crown molding. It can be simple and straightforward, or may feature decorative patterns or carvings.


Plaster is another common crown molding material. But because plaster can be difficult to handle, it’s a good idea to hire a professional for installation.


PVC is a lightweight and affordable material choice for crown molding. It’s an especially popular choice in bathrooms, where the humid conditions may negatively affect other types of molding.


Polyurethane is a simple and durable material that’s often used for crown molding. This type of crown molding is even sturdier than wood and resistant to mold and rot.


MDF, which stands for medium-density fiberboard, is an affordable crown molding option designed to look like wood—but at a fraction of the cost. In most cases, you’ll have to stain or paint MDF crown molding.

FAQs About Crown Molding

What’s the difference between molding and crown molding?

Crown molding refers specifically to the type of molding between a wall and a ceiling. Just like a crown goes around your head, crown molding goes around the ceiling! Other types of molding includes casing on doors and windows, baseboards, and chair rails. Crown molding is also sometimes known as a cornice.

Can I install crown molding myself?

Depending on what type you choose, you may be able to install crown molding yourself. Lightweight PVC or polyurethane molding is more DIY-friendly than wood or plaster. If you’re interested in hiring a professional to install crown molding, you should contact a crown molding company near you for a personalized quote.

How do I fix crown molding?

If your crown molding is looking the worse for wear, there are a few options to fix issues with your trim. This may involve cleaning, painting, or even replacing your crown molding.

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