What Size Coving Do I Need?

We are often asked by customers what size cornice should I use for my room? Whilst in the end this will always come down to personal preference here are a few guidelines that will help to narrow down the choice.

A common mistake is to underestimate the actual size of coving or cornice. Measurements are always given in terms of ‘the drop’, how far the coving extends down the wall and ’the projection’, how far the coving extends across the ceiling once it is fitted. This is often confused with taking a diagonal measurement across the face of a piece of coving. For example a cornice with a drop and projection of 120mm, which we would call a 120mm (5 inch) cornice, when measured across the face will actually be around 170mm (7 inch). This is a size suitable for most modern houses and many older Victorian properties, a good example of 120mm coving is LPC021.

Understand the size of your coving as you size up your room

The largest plaster coving we stock has a drop and projection of over 200mm and can be found in our large coving section. This is often used for hiding pipework as it is too big for anything but the largest rooms with the highest ceilings in older properties. You need to have 4.30M or 4.60M (14 or 15 foot) ceilings before coving of this size starts to look in proportion. When measured across the face of the coving it is 300mm (12 inches) wide.

Cornice with either a drop or projection of 120mm and above is most often fitted in rooms with a ceiling height upwards of 2.75M (9 foot). Different designs can look more pronounced than others so again there is no absolute size rule that dictates which cornice is most appropriate. A lot will depend on personal choice as to how important an element of the interior decoration scheme you wish the cornice to be, and how it relates to other decorative elements on the wall. With higher ceilings, a plaster dado or picture rail is often used to break up the wall and allow for different colours to be used above and below.

Large cornice (LPC015) looks well proportioned in a room with a high ceiling

It can be hard to imagine how these larger coving sizes will look in a room and we would always advise buying a sample first if you are not sure. Samples of all our different cornice designs are available on our website and we also sell sample packs of our best selling lines.

For ceiling heights below 2.75M (9 foot) our smaller coving styles of 50mm to 70mm (2 inch to 2 3/4 inch) are often used because they look much better than leaving a plain joint where the ceiling meets the wall. The same rationale applies to rooms with tall units such as bathrooms or kitchens.

For the vast majority of rooms and houses a cornice from our medium coving section with a drop and projection of between 70mm and 120mm will be suitable. The final determining factor will be on how much of a prominent feature you wish the cornice to be. Having sent out hundreds of samples we have a good idea of what sizes of cornice are ultimately chosen by customers, the most popular sizes are between 90mm and 120mm drop and projection, and we have put together the most often chosen examples of this in a cornice sample pack.

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