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Decorative plaster

Ten houses with decorative ceilings and ornate plasterwork


A Williamsburg home with a bathroom with its original tin-panelled ceiling restored and intricate 19th-century plasterwork in a modern apartment in this lookbook, featuring decorative and ornate ceilings.

Moldings are decorative architectural elements used as focal elements in interior spaces, lining the corners of ceilings and light fixtures in the form of ceiling roses, cornices, architraves and cornices.

These elements usually have a highly decorative and graceful finish with seamless patterns created by reliefs and recesses across their surfaces.

Moldings and ornate plasterwork are typically associated with the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras and are borrowed from classicism and ancient Greek and Egyptian architecture.

The architectural elements were often made of plaster and wood, but in the 20th century people searched for alternative materials to achieve more durable and cost-effective finishes.

This is the latest in our lookbook series, offering visual inspiration from Dezeen’s archive. For more inspiration, see previous lookbooks with deliberately unfinished interiors, maximalist interiors and homes with walk-in closets.

Stockholm Apartment, Sweden, by Note Design Studio

Swedish design firm Note Design Studio transformed this Stockholm office into a home with yellow, green and pink tones on the walls, moldings and window frames.

The rooms of the house are painted entirely in single colors, adding pastel tones to the 19th century features.

More information about Apartment Stockholm ›

Historic school building by White Arrow
Photo is from White Arrow

Historic Schoolhouse, USA, by White Arrow

The founders of Brooklyn-based interior design studio White Arrow, Keren and Thomas Richter, transformed this landmark Williamsburg building into a light and airy home, restoring some of its original features.

In one of the home’s bathrooms, the interior design duo found the original decorative tin ceiling tiles and restored them to the vanity. Tin ceiling tiles are an American innovation and were created as an inexpensive and more durable alternative to ornate plaster.

Find out more about Historic School Building ›

Färg & Blanche bakery house

Bakers House, Sweden, by Färg & Blanche

Owned by the family of Färg & Blanche co-founder Emma Marga Blanche for four generations, this residence has a traditional and extravagantly ornate interior. The house used to contain a traditional Swedish crispbread bakery at the rear of the building and is now mainly used for events.

Intricately detailed furnishings such as carved wood benches and gilded picture frames complement the home’s decorative ceiling moldings and trim. In each room, the ceiling details are painted in bold colors and fresco-like paintings are incorporated.

Find out more about Bakkershuis ›

Young family house of ŠA Atelier
Photography is by Norbert Tukaj

Young family home, Lithuania, by ŠA Atelier

Lithuanian architecture studio ŠA Atelier renovated the interior of this formerly dilapidated 19th-century apartment in Vilnius, Lithuania. Housed in an 1862 townhouse, the apartment has a minimal finish with some of the remaining original features restored as focal points.

Expansive plaster moldings and ceiling rosettes stretch across the ceilings throughout the home, while parquet floors have a neutral, light tone.

Find out more about Young single-family home ›

Passeig de Grácia apartment by Jeanne Schultz
Photo courtesy of Adria Goula

Passeig de Grácia, Spain, by Jeanne Schultz Design Studio


Ornamental details and finishes were added during the renovation of this apartment on Passeig de Grácia in Barcelona.

American design firm Jeanne Schultz Design Studio has taken and given new life to the house’s period and original features. In the main living area, it painted the stepped cove of the ceiling, which runs through the interior of the home, a green hue that was also applied to the room’s doors, frames, and baseboards.

Learn more about Passeig de Gracia ›

Napoleon apartment Freaks freearchitects
Photo is by David Foessel

Napoleon Apartment, France, Freaks

The French studio Freaks renovated this apartment in Paris. It retained historic moldings and architectural features but added modern touches, including fluorescent lighting and free-standing angular volumes.

“One of the main interventions was to open the new kitchen to the dining room, while taking charge of using a contemporary architectural language,” said the studio.

Wood Ribbon Apartment by Toledano + Architects
Photography is by Salem Mostefaoui

Wood Ribbon apartment, France, by Toledano + Architects

Perched above a ribbon-like plywood wall and contrasting with the apartment’s contemporary decor, ornate plasterwork, largely untouched since the 19th century, subtly defines and sets this apartment apart.

Where French architecture studio Toledano + Architects wanted to make the home feel more contemporary, it installed a polycarbonate false ceiling over the original decorative ceilings.

More information about apartment Wood Ribbon ›

Montreal home by Vives St-Laurent
Photo is by Alex Lesage

Montreal Home, Canada, by Vives St-Laurent

Canadian interior design studio Vives St-Laurent renovated and remodeled a family home in Montreal to better emphasize the existing architectural elements. The studio seemed to retain as much of the home’s original 20th-century features as possible, including the plaster moldings.

In the home’s open kitchen and dining area, the coving informally divides the dining room from the kitchen, while a ceiling rosette anchors a pendant light above a light wood dining table and four Marcel Breuer Cesca chairs.

Learn more about Montreal Home ›

34 Carrer Avinyo by David Kohn Architects

Carrer Avinyo 34, Spain, by David Kohn Architects

British architecture studio David Kohn Architects renovated this apartment in Barcelona to better reveal and emphasize the large windows, high ceilings and ornate moldings.

Above the dining area, cornices line the edges of the room, while coffered ceilings stretch across the living areas. Ceiling roses throughout the house became focal points over the ceilings with no light fixtures mounted on them.

Find out more about Carrer Avinyo 34 ›

Casa Cas 8 by DG Arquitecto
Photo is by Mariela Apollonio

Casa Cas 8, Spain, by DG Arquitecto

Panel moldings and corbels protrude from the ceilings of Casa Cas 8 in Valencia, Spain, created by Valencia-based architecture studio DG Arquitecto. The 1920s penthouse is intended to honor the original features, including the mosaic floors, moldings and arched doorways.

“Minor changes in the distribution, very limited by the original idea of ​​fully preserving the original floor of the house and the molded ceilings, helped us to transform the existing spaces,” said DG Arquitecto.

Find out more about Casa Cas 8 ›

Know more about apartment Napoleon ›

This is the latest in our series of lookbooks, offering visual inspiration from Dezeen’s archive. For more inspiration, see previous lookbooks with deliberately unfinished interiors, maximalist interiors and homes with walk-in closets.