Building neurosis – cornices

Our demolition started on Friday! First stage is stripping the house of salvageable materials. This stage will take a couple of days, and then they’ll send in the bulldozer (probably on Wednesday).

The old house had decorative cornices – nothing too fancy, and certainly not worth getting upset over. But one thing that I have definitely NOT wanted in the new house is the standard cove cornice.

Cove cornice

Cove cornice

In fact, our builder includes both Cove and Symphony cornices as standard.

Symphony cornice

Symphony cornice

I think cornices are an important architectural element, and I want something that fits in with the style of the house. For me, neither Cove nor Symphony cut it.

After doing a little research online, I’ve come to realise that there are a lot of companies that do different decorative cornices – the choice is astounding! Some companies even offer custom services, such as copying your existing cornice if they don’t have it in their regular range.

But most of these decorative cornices are on the traditional side, which is not the style we are after.

For me, there are two standout options: 4-step and a slimline square style.

Four-step cornice

Four-step cornice

Aria cornice

Aria cornice

The four-step cornice is a variant of the popular trio cornice. It’s quite striking and a nice feature.

On the other hand, the Aria cornice is designed to blend in with the ceiling line.

I have concerns about both.

With the four-step cornice, I worry that it might look too busy, especially in the hallways which has lots of fiddly angles in it.

On the other hand, I worry that the Aria cornice will be a bit too bland.

I’ve seen a house with the 4-step in it, and thought it looked really nice, but I haven’t seen a working example of the aria.

To give some context, in our kitchen/living area and entrance, we will be having bulkheads with shadowline cornices. The purpose of the bulkhead in the living area is to conceal the curtain rails, while the purpose of the bulkhead in entry is to highlight a feature light fitting. In both cases, I don’t want cornicing in the bulkhead as I think it detracts from the overall look.

Shadowline cornice with bulkhead, with concealed curtain rails.

Shadowline cornice with bulkhead, with concealed curtain rails.

Bulkhead in entry

Bulkhead in entry

So, the cornices will be in areas without bulkheads. I have no idea how to resolve this dilemma. Toss a coin?

Edited to add:

Found some more profiles.

Florida Square cornice.

Florida Square cornice. Subtle banding on wall and ceiling. I like how the ceiling side is longer than the wall side.

A bit more ornate:

Lined Steps cornice.

Lined Steps cornice. Like the previous, but the banding is less subtle.

More ornate again:

Topline 65 cornice.

Topline 65 cornice. This one says, “hello, I’m here!” I like it because it has presence, and looks fairly modern. Will it suit 31 course ceilings?

And then there’s…

3D cornice.

3D cornice. This one is back to basics, with minimal plaster on the wall side, but extending the length on the ceiling.

(Visited 1,021 times, 4 visits today)


  1. I’ve been looking forward to hearing about your second neurosis. Never having noticed a single cornice in my life, I find your dilemma amusing. Sorry! However, since you have educated me, I would say that the 4 step cornice has the potential to close in the space. So I much prefer the Aria cornice. I think it looks stylish and sometimes less is more! Looking up at our current apartment roof, we have no cornices at all, and that is certainly ugly. I am no help to you at all, but I’m off to check my paperwork to see what kind of cornices we will be provided with.

    • Amuse away! 🙂 I think we are tending towards the Aria cornice as well, I think it probably flows better between the corniced and non-corniced areas. Not really in love with it though.

    • Have updated to add some more options.

      • I quite like the Florida one. The next two might be obtrusive in a 31 course high room. The last one could have the effect of making the room look smaller?? We are having “sky look” which is rather dull. No doubt you’ll find it boring. I shan’t be losing sleep over it!

  2. Hadn’t seen the Sky Look before so had to google it, and found a brochure with dodgy pictures of a woman holding a drill in a sexy manner. Hm. Anyway, that one looks nice, should suit your house nicely. 🙂

  3. I am like Jo and i haven’t really noticed cornices before and I didn’t do that much research either so i hope our choice of Aria throughout looks ok – too late to change my mind as they are about to be installed!. I do like the look of shadowline but when we got a quote to do our place we felt it was too expensive.
    I will have to have a look at Jo’s Sky Look.

    • I wonder if I notice cornices more because my old place had non-standard ones. Looking forward to seeing pics of yours installed!

      • There are lots of things i’d never noticed before we started building!
        I will pop some pics up once ours are done (still working my way around the site so it might be easier said than done).
        Looking forward to following your build 🙂

  4. My vote is on the Aria (esp for the library) 🙂
    Topline is nice too. Any IRL photos? (rather than just the profile?)

    • It’s stupidly hard to find good photos of cornices is actual usage. Which makes it a bit of a gamble to think about how they could turn out. The Aria and Topline seem to be at different ends of the spectrum, so now you’ve got me stumped!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *