Beautiful Millwork Designs

living room
Millwork in a house is like the details on a fine piece of furniture. Whether you prefer clean lines or elaborate ornament, millwork in a variety of designs and applications can add flourish to any room.

Focal Point

An elaborate framework lends prominence to this dark wood bed. Fashioned much like an arched door opening or built-in bookcase, the frame showcases a slight arch with heavy crown molding. Bookcases support each side of the arch. Mirrors fill the opening reflecting the views out of the facing window.

Perfectly Calculated

Custom cabinetry and molding transform this master bath into a luxurious suite. Raised panels on the vanity are repeated on the tub surround. Dentil molding, an ancient design that adheres to mathematical equations, wraps the perimeter of room’s ceiling. Maintaining the geometry, the shape and weight of the tub is balanced by a boxed ceiling design. A mirror fits neatly between the tub and overhead detail, uniting the two elements.

Shape Up

An arched opening leads to a formal living room outfitted with a contemporary mix of furnishings. Here, the classic shape of the simple arch and clean lines of the opening’s inset panels take precedence over elaborate carvings. The ceiling displays a geometric painted plaster relief of skewed octagons connected by rectangles. 

Subtle Details

Dentil crown molding trims the ceiling in this modern living space. The simple, classic detail takes a second seat to the marbled fireplace surround and framed mirror above. A painting hangs in front of the mirror for added dimension.

What a Relief

A wooden framework showcases a marble mantel surround in this living area. Above, a carved relief adds a formal flourish. A deep shelf offers a place for display. Extending to the ceiling, the woodwork offers a recessed over mantel providing a natural spot for mirror or artwork.

Wrapped in Luxury

Decorative ceiling medallions draw the eye upward in this dining space, extending the decor from floor to ceiling. Historically, ceiling medallions eluded to status -- the more ornate, the more prominent the family. Victorian in nature, the earliest medallions were plaster, with rich details and ornate patterns. Most medallions are painted to match trim color so they stand out from the ceiling. 

Even-Handed

Paneled walls frame this living room creating a warm, cozy surround. Lower panels are set at chair rail height, breaking up the linear expanse. Moldings are evenly spaced to create symmetry. For continuity in design, panels and trim molding are painted the same hue. Whether decorative or to hide cabinets, paneled walls add warmth and a sense of intimacy to a space. 

Over-the-Top

Slate blue walls recess to put the focus on the cabinet and trim details in this kitchen. Using a variety of techniques, the designer created a rich, classic look. Cabinets display furniture details with legs. A narrow storage cabinet above is capped with a heavy capital. The range hood offers a scrolled corbel and rounded edges to tie into the circular design of the transom and curved lines of the built-in case beyond.

Smooth Finish

In this master bathroom, the designer proves that heavy molding doesn’t have to be ornate to be effective. Marble tiles are used to frame the shower surround and base molding as a continuation of the wet space. A heavy crown frames the ceiling and barrel vault above. The dark wood cabinet is a standout, but the similar trim makes it right at home in this airy space. 

Dramatic Detail

An arcade defines a bookshelf creating a stunning focal point in this study. Scallop shell details at the top of each arch are ancient decorative details, highly used by 18th century furniture maker, Thomas Chippendale, for its natural symmetry. To set off the crisp white-painted millwork, the rear walls of the shelves are painted dark chocolate brown. 

Big Impression

An arched opening separates this living area from the entry hall. For tension, the architects squared off the corners of the archway with fluted pilasters and a simple crosshead. Rosettes, small decorative elements at each plinth in the upper corners, bring a small but noticeable flourish to the classic trim. A fireplace shows the same restraint with simple details using a carved wood mantelpiece with panels and oval insets. In the entry beyond, the wood bannister rail and newel posts on the stairwell are standouts against the painted white trim and balustrades. 

European Elegance

Set off by dentil molding and simple side panels, the central frieze of this living room mantel showcases a floral garland with center cherub. A recurring motif in artwork and architecture during the Renaissance, garlands and angels are associated with blessings and celebrations. Their ornate carvings set a formal, Old World tone. 

Working Together

A leaded glass fanlight follows the curve of the ceiling in this dining room. Here, multiple components of millwork combine for a strong, single statement framing a built-in china cabinet. Breaking it down, the arched ceiling is met by a smaller trio of arches -- two door openings and one, for the fan light above the built-in china cabinet. Pillasters, capped with Corinthian capitals add to the formality.

Casual Millwork

A keeping room, just off the kitchen, has an adjacent bar for entertaining. Set off by an arched opening, the entertaining area is distinguished, yet still part of the room. The repetition of similar style moldings and cabinetry creates a harmonious flow from kitchen to keeping room to bar. 

Proper Alignment

Box molding creates an interesting backdrop wall for a pair of inset oval windows marked with diamond tracery. The raised box trim, matching windows, and limestone fireplace surround with depressed arch are symmetrically placed. To skew the balance, the designer offset the mirror and artwork on the mantel. 

Share the gallery



Better Homes & Gardens may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website.