Plaster Ceiling Design + Architectural Mouldings



Today’s post is a continuation of the series on mouldings. I have so many beautiful images, that I realized that I needed to break it up. Since I started with plaster ceiling design, this is what I’m going to focus on for today.  Some of you may recall that I’ve already done a post entitled You’re Gonna Hit the Ceiling… which focused on paint and wallpaper finishes for the oft-forgotten ceiling.

These are types of rooms that one really hates to put anything in them. And quite frankly, I love more contemporary furnishings in homes like this.

I’m going to start with old plaster because quite frankly, like a lot of things, they simply cannot do what they used to do.

Not even close


Decorative plaster ornamentation is commonly found in homes built in the 19th century in large cities like Paris and New York. The rooms always have very high ceilings– at least 10 feet and large gorgeous windows.

So, let’s start with those. Of course, along with the ceilings, we’ll also get a lot of the wall and floor, but today’s focus is upward. I could not find the original source for some of these images, so if they are uncredited, that is why.


Absolutely love this image and even though I never do paint this glossy, I really think it works so well here.


swedish+ad+fotoA Swedish interior. Very interesting detailing on the ceiling

andrew-twort-photophotograph by Andrew Twort




brucebuck_photoBruce Buck

Love the mid-century modern mix in this apartment




Blamey Saunders Hears


Palladio Mouldings

Beautiful website with lots of gorgeous plaster mouldings. These tracery type mouldings on the ceiling are becoming quite the trend and I think in most cases, it’s a good one.


Anne Claire Rohe

Love that some of the ornamentation was left in an otherwise modern room.


Cullman & Kravis

My jaw kinda hit the floor when I saw this unique design


Thad Hayes

This adds another dimension to this otherwise contemporary kitchen


Tillingham Estate Yawn Design


Above and Below the former Brooklyn apartment of  Jenna Lyons





stephensillsStephen Sills

Oh Man… is this the most amazing place or what? Absolutely heavenly!



  • Betzie - February 6, 2017 - 4:57 PM

    Your photos are so inspiring!! I just adore that last photo.ReplyCancel

  • Jeremi Bryant - November 6, 2016 - 10:48 PM

    Should the crown be the same paint sheen as the ceiling?
    My plan is to use a white flat paint (Chantilly Lace) on the ceiling. I’m also planning on painting the crown chantilly lace, just curious about the sheen.
    The baseboards, and door casings are Chantilly Lace satin impervo.
    Large Victorian Era townhouse with plaster moldings, 12′ foot ceilings.

    • Laurel Bern - November 7, 2016 - 4:40 PM

      Hi Jeremi,

      99% of the time, I do flat on the ceiling and semi-gloss on the trim.ReplyCancel

  • Beverly Shatzen - March 20, 2016 - 6:46 PM

    Where did I read in one of your blogs that someone turned the cabinet doors around to make it shaker style? I want to do that!! How do you do it if the brackets on the inside took out a chunk of golf ball sized wood?
    Our cabinets were painted white before we moved in and they are cracking at the seams already and that was a little over 6 mo ago. I have “new” granite but it’s the ugly spotted builders grade “we gave you granite what else could you want” granite. I’m dying to get rid of it but hubby is going to have a heart attack if I start chopping on my “new” house which I fully intend to do (maybe he won’t notice).
    Turn cabinet door around.
    New hardware.
    Paint cabinets again using Laurel’s “no fail” white color.
    Cararra marble or Carrara look alike counter top.

    What else???ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 20, 2016 - 11:08 PM

      Hi Beverly,
      Gosh, that was not my blog you read about turning the doors around, but that is a wonderful idea– except if you have concealed hinges. I don’t think you can turn the door around because of the aforementioned hole.ReplyCancel

  • Shirley BassIri - October 5, 2015 - 8:38 PM

    What white paint colors do you suggest or think are being used in the beautiful photos with ornate plaster moldings? Should wall and plaster paint colors always match ? Not sure if wall paint and plaster trim colors can differ or should always match in a room with extensive plaster moldings as above.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 6, 2015 - 3:42 PM

      I Shirley. I like them to match. In old homes, the walls would be plaster too. ReplyCancel

  • Tone on Tone Loi Thai - June 3, 2014 - 8:54 PM

    So, so stunning! And you are absolutely spot on: love the modern furnishings in these grand old homes / flats. It’s looks very European. Happy June! xoReplyCancel