The History of Decorative Mouldings

Decorative Mouldings have been used for centuries to add decorative elements to buildings and homes. From intricate ceiling designs to ornate wall decorations, plaster mouldings have stood the test of time and continue to be a popular choice for adding elegance and charm to any space.

In this article, we’ll take a journey through the history of plaster mouldings, exploring their origins, evolution, and enduring appeal.

Origins of Decorative Mouldings

Plaster has been used as a building material since ancient times, with evidence of its use dating back to 7500 BC in the ancient city of Jericho. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all used plaster in their architecture, often incorporating decorative elements such as mouldings and reliefs.

In the Middle Ages, plaster was used extensively in Europe for both structural and decorative purposes. Plaster mouldings were commonly used in churches and castles, with intricate designs and patterns adorning the walls and ceilings.

The Renaissance and Baroque Periods

Plaster moulding in a church

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During the Renaissance and Baroque periods, plaster mouldings reached new heights of popularity and sophistication. The Italian Renaissance saw a revival of classical architecture, with plaster mouldings used to recreate the grandeur of ancient Rome and Greece.

In the Baroque period, plaster mouldings became even more elaborate and ornate, with intricate designs and details that were often gilded or painted to add even more opulence.

The Rise of Decorative Mouldings in the 18th and 19th Centuries

In the 18th and 19th centuries, decorativ mouldings became a staple in the homes of the wealthy and elite. With the rise of neoclassical and Georgian architecture, plaster mouldings were used to add decorative elements to both the interior and exterior of buildings.

During this time, plaster mouldings were also used to create elaborate ceiling designs, with intricate patterns and details that added a touch of luxury to any room.

The Victorian Era

Victorian plaster moulding

by Kelsey Weinkauf (https://unsplash.com/@kejeki)

In the Victorian era, plaster mouldings continued to be a popular choice for adding decorative elements to homes. With the rise of the middle class, plaster mouldings became more accessible and were used in a wider range of homes.

Victorian plaster mouldings were often highly detailed and featured floral and geometric patterns, as well as elements of Gothic and Rococo design.

The 20th Century and Beyond

In the early 20th century, plaster mouldings fell out of fashion as new building materials such as concrete and steel became more popular. However, in the 1980s, there was a resurgence of interest in traditional building methods and materials, leading to a revival of plaster mouldings.

Today, plaster mouldings continue to be a popular choice for adding decorative elements to homes and buildings. With advancements in technology and techniques, plaster mouldings can now be created in a wider range of styles and designs, making them a versatile choice for any space.

Modern Uses of Plaster Mouldings

Plaster moulding in a modern home

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While plaster mouldings are often associated with traditional and historical buildings, they can also be used in modern homes and buildings to add a touch of elegance and character.

In contemporary homes, plaster mouldings are often used to create a focal point in a room, such as a decorative ceiling design or a statement wall. They can also be used to add texture and depth to a space, creating a unique and visually appealing look.

Types of Plaster Mouldings

There are several types of plaster mouldings, each with its own unique characteristics and uses. Some of the most common types include:

Decorative Mouldings

Decorative mouldings are used to add visual interest and character to a space. They can be used on walls, ceilings, and even furniture to create a unique and elegant look.

Ceiling Plaster Mouldings

Ceiling plaster mouldings are often used to create decorative ceiling designs, adding a touch of sophistication and charm to any room. They can range from simple, understated designs to elaborate and intricate patterns.

Decorative Plaster Mouldings

Decorative plaster mouldings can be used in a variety of ways, from adding detail to furniture and cabinetry to creating unique wall designs. They can also be used to add texture and depth to a space, creating a visually appealing look.

How Plaster Mouldings Are Made

Plaster moulding being made

by Andy Bodemer (https://unsplash.com/@andybodemer)

Traditionally, plaster mouldings were made by hand using a mixture of plaster, water, and other additives. The mixture was poured into a mould and left to dry before being removed and installed.

Today, modern techniques and technology have made the process of creating plaster mouldings more efficient and precise. Plaster mouldings can now be created using 3D printing technology, allowing for more intricate and detailed designs.

Maintaining Plaster Mouldings

With proper care and maintenance, decorative mouldings can last for decades. Here are some tips for keeping your plaster mouldings in top condition:

  • Dust regularly to prevent buildup and discoloration.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on plaster mouldings.
  • Repair any cracks or damage as soon as possible to prevent further deterioration.
  • Consider hiring a professional for more extensive repairs or restoration work.

The Future of Plaster Mouldings

As technology continues to advance, the possibilities for plaster mouldings are endless. With the ability to create more intricate and detailed designs, plaster mouldings will continue to be a popular choice for adding decorative elements to homes and buildings.


From ancient civilizations to modern homes, decorative mouldings have stood the test of time and continue to be a popular choice for adding elegance and charm to any space. With a rich history and endless possibilities, plaster mouldings are sure to remain a staple in architecture and design for years to come.

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At Cornices Centre Ltd, we offer a full range of traditional plaster moulding and decorative plasterwork. From wooden moulding, cornices to fibrous plaster roses, we produce the finest quality plaster mouldings for projects large and small.

Cornices Centre Team

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