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What is Ovolo?

By B. Turner
Updated May 16, 2024
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Ovolo is a type of architectural molding that features a convex profile. This molding consists of a quarter-circle that curves out away from the wall. Ovolo profiles are the antithesis of cavetto molding, which features the same profile with a concave curve. This trim can be used as base or crown molding at the floor or ceiling, and may also be used around a door or window. This type of decorative molding also is a popular profile for fireplace mantles, and can be used on the exterior of a building as a form of cornice trim.

Like all architectural trim products, ovolo may serve both an aesthetic and functional purpose within a space. This molding can be used to hide gaps or seams where the wall meets the floor, or along the edges of a door or window frame. It also serves as a type of transition between different elements within a room, and can be used to define or frame certain features. Since this type of molding is so closely associated with classical architecture, ovolo can also be used to recreate a historic design.

Ovolo molding may be chosen for the unique shadow pattern it creates along a wall. The curved profile of this trim reflects light along the top, so the top of the molding appears lighter than the bottom. This helps to draw the eye up to highlight specific areas or elements in the room. Ovolo can also be combined with cavetto molding to form molding with an S-shaped profile. This S-shaped combination of ovolo and cavetto is known as ogee or cyma curves, depending on how the two components are configured.

Ovolo molding may feature a smooth finish, or may be equipped with ornaments and decorative elements. Smooth profiles are used to create a sleek, modern look, while different types of ornaments provide a more decorative and elegant finish. In classical design, this molding is often equipped with an egg-and-dart ornament pattern, while other models may feature carved vines, scrolls, or squares. This trim may also be combined with other types of molding to create elaborate profiles. For example, a piece of quarter-round ovolo may be placed over traditional base molding at the joint between the floor and the wall.

Buyers who wish to add this molding to a home or building can choose from many materials and finishes. Traditional wood products are the most common, though vinyl and composite versions are often more affordable. The trim is nailed or screwed in place, and can be painted or stained to create the desired look.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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