Ornamental Wood Mouldings Blog

In focus: Cornices Proportion, scale matter

What are decorative cornices, how are they used?

From the earliest times, people have enhanced their homes, houses of worship, and places of government with ornamentation.

The ancient Egyptians were architectural masters as were the Greeks. Their legacies survive in the styles used today in Western architecture.

 outer golden shrine from King Tutankhamun's tomb
The outer golden shrine from King Tutankhamun’s tomb, now on display in the Cairo Museum has a beautifully proportioned cove cornice. Image Licensed under CC By-SA 2.5 via Commons.
Ionic cornice
This plate from an old book displays a elegant example of a cornice in the Ionic style from the Temple of Minerva Polias at Preiene. Image Licensed under PD-US via Wikipedia.

Correct in proportion and design

In both the cultures, proportion of the entablature and its components was critical to correct use. The Golden Ratio, a mathematical formula, guided, architecture, music, mathematics, and philosophy. “Two quantities are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities.” Application of the ratio to one’s design ensured that buildings and rooms would be pleasing in scale and organization. Rooms based on the ratio are often said to be most agreeable and to create sense of “rightness.”

Palladio's Treatise on architecture
Palladio’s Treatise on architecture

When Italian architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) wrote his treatises on architecture, he mandated proportions based on those of the Greek mathematician Pythagoras, whose ratios guided not only music tonality but design and mathematics.

Wood mouldings for traditional homes

In our modern world, we frequently seek the quickest, least expensive way to do something. In the universe of moulding, this equates to purchasing stock mouldings at big box builder supply stores. Mouldings which lack the right proportions and design to complement your room. As a result, crown mouldings and cornices may be undersized or too large of their placement. The finished room often feels “off.”

At Driwood, we create cornices designed to fit your space. We offer a range of designs in stock or which can be modified to suit the proportions of the room you’re designing.

Wood moulding and cornices for a Charleston home
Decorative wood moulding cornices for a Charleston residence

Review all our cornices to find the one precisely right for your next project.