Coving for Ceilings: What You Should Know


Coving is a term that is normally applied to a uniform moulding. Coving tends to be simpler in design than cornice and is usually formed around the traditional quarter circle, or C-shaped profile. The amount of detail and size of coving depends on certain factors, such as design preference and cost. Most home builders during the post-war period installed the simple C-shaped coving because it was effective, clean-looking, and affordable. It was also cheap to mass-produce, using gypsum plaster.

Coving Profiles Today

Coving profiles today come in various sizes, the most common of which is 127mm. These kinds of measurements often are confusing as they refer to an unseen straight line drawn across a coving diagonal. This line begins at a point touching the ceiling and wall. Therefore, the measurement does not indicate projection or height.  Profiles of 100mm and 150mm were the usual sizes installed from the 1930s onwards.

A Variety of Sizes and Designs

According to Oxfordshire painters and decorators, sizes can vary immensely, as there are designs that are available from the different Regency periods, as well as Art Deco designs. In addition, more contemporary coving styles include hidden illumination elements, designed to throw light upwards and over a ceiling.

How a Cornice Is Different

A cornice, on the other hand, tends to be more ornate than coving. This is done to achieve an effect that is grander in design, and therefore less uniform in dimension. So, a profile may be 150mm across a ceiling but 100mm down a wall. The shape of a cornice is often more complex, given that many feature a wide range of patterns that reflect changing architectural designs. Cornices have been used throughout history, during Victorian, Edwardian, and Georgian times, as well as during the Art Deco period of the 1920s and 1930s. Modern designs today are built in more trend-setting styles.

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