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In years past, when you walked into a well-built home you would be escorted into a parlor with the appropriate furnishings, perhaps a fireplace with a marble mantle and a high ceiling bordered with crown mouldings.  This decorative touch took many forms: crown mouldings ran the length of the seam between ceiling and wall and provided decoration like a textured wrapping.  This fanciful framing was also used to provide chair railings along the wall, wrapping the walls from corner to corner at the height of a typical chair back. 

Crown mouldings typically has a repetitive decorative pattern along its length.  Sometimes it can be a flowered, filigree design and sometimes a geometric repetition of crosshatched lines or symbols.  It can extend well down the wall or out from the ceiling’s edge with parallel rows of decorative patterns or extended edges. 

Chair railings are usually strips a few inches in width that wrap around the room raised slightly off the wall’s surface.  The decorative touches on these crown mouldings are less physically obtrusive, as the surface of the railing should remain relatively flat.  Crown mouldings used along walls will often have extruding edges that then recess slightly towards the middle of the strip where the decorative frills are found, protected from chipping by the raised edges.

The fancier crown mouldings often have end pieces that are architectural decorations themselves, not only joining the lengths of crown mouldings but providing decorative highlights in the ceiling’s corners.  The room’s ceiling becomes a framed piece of architectural design, the crown mouldings drawing the eye and thus becoming an element of the interior design.

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