8 Modern Crown Molding Designs and Ideas

Ornate trim can make a room feel heavy and outdated, but modern crown molding can help you achieve a sleek, high-end look.

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crown molding in modern living roomExperienceInteriors/Getty Images

What Is Crown Molding?

Crown molding is a type of decorative trim added to the top of your wall where it meets the ceiling. It’s an architectural detail that makes a room feel taller by drawing the eye up. “Crown molding is a relatively inexpensive way to make a room seem more upscale,” says Michael Boucher of Full Scale Woodworking.

There are several crown molding material options, and an endless array of profiles and styles. A few of the most common materials used include:

  • Wood is the standard, and more durable than its synthetic counterparts. Most home improvement stores carry different hardwoods (great if you want to stain it) and primed wood for painted crown molding.
  • Medium density fiberboard (MDF) is less expensive than wood, but might not be worth the savings. It can sag over time if not installed properly and is susceptible to water damage.
  • Polyurethane or PVC is waterproof, so it’s great for bathrooms and other areas with a lot of moisture. DIYers like PVC because it’s lightweight and easy to cut.

Modern Crown Molding

If you like modern interiors with streamlined furniture and minimal clutter, then simple, clean crown molding is a great match. “Modern crown molding is generally less ornate and much more straight-lined than traditional crown moldings,” Boucher says.

So what exactly does modern crown molding look like, and will it fit in your space? We’ve gathered some of our favorite examples from Instagram to inspire you.

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Concave Crown Molding Via InstagramCourtesy @jennafharris/instagram

Concave Modern Crown Molding

This straightforward design used by @jennafharris fits well with her modern farmhouse décor. It adds the right amount of interest to her walls without being distracting. The crisp white finish creates a nice contrast with the gray walls, highlighting the clean lines of the crown molding and other trim.

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Matching Crown Molding Courtesy @hartshorn_hq/instagram

Matching Modern Crown Molding

Traditionally, crown molding contrasts with the wall and ceiling colors. This bedroom by @hartshorn_hq reflects a more modern take, with a dark gray ceiling and crown molding painted to match. The overall result is refreshingly unexpected — the crown molding becomes an extension of the ceiling and a focal point of the room.

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Flat Crown MoldingCourtesy @the_hen_homestead/instagram

Flat Modern Crown Molding

When Avery of @the_hen_homestead chose trim work for her modern home, she knew she wanted crown molding, but not classic colonial style. Instead, she chose this modern crown molding that combines a flat trim piece on the wall with one on the ceiling. The sharp-edged design blends well with the rest of her home.

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Monochromatic Crown MoldingCourtesy @meglorencreates/instagram

Monochromatic Modern Crown Molding

This gorgeous seating area by @meglorencreates shows another updated twist. The crown molding and other trim work bring texture to the room, but the moody monochromatic color scheme (painted Green 1905 by Magnolia) keeps the space modern.

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High Contrast Crown MoldingCourtesy @jenniferrizzodesigncompany/instagram

High-Contrast Modern Crown Molding

On the other end of the spectrum from the monochromatic look is this high-contrast crown molding by @jenniferrizzodesigncompany. The black walls against the thick white crown molding creates a crisp line that enhances the room and blends well with the overall modern boho decor.

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Art Deco And Craftsman Crown MoldingCourtesy @thewirelesswoodworker/instagram

Art Deco and Craftsman Crown Molding

Tim of @wirelesswoodworker likes Art Deco and Craftsman style trim work, so he combined the two with this beautiful crown molding in his remodeled bathroom. The layers of trim are an interesting architectural detail that looks clean and modern.

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Extra Large Crown MoldingCourtesy @adforjj/instagram

Extra-Large Crown Molding

The wide crown molding in this modern bedroom by @adforjj, blends well with the polished décor. With clean lines, cool colors and no clutter, it makes sense that the crown molding is equally sleek and unadorned. Its impact is all about its size.

Photographer: @nickjohnsoninteriors

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Glossy Crown MoldingCourtesy @mif_painting/instagram

Glossy Finish Modern Crown Molding

Classic white it the most common color of crown molding. To make yours more modern and kick it up a notch, choose a high-gloss finish. The glossy, dark teal color on this crown molding and trim by @mif_painting is unexpected and refreshing.

Erica Young
Erica Young is a freelance writer and content creator, specializing in home and lifestyle pieces. She loves writing about home decor, organization, relationships, and pop culture. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.