Plaster Cornices » What is an ornament?

What is an ornament?

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Each individual looks at the world around them differently, and we have varying definitions of beauty. To most of us, beauty is something that has the power to invoke emotions, and that is what an ornament is. An ornament is a form of decorative art that is used to embellish parts of an object or an architectural structure. It adds compelling detail to an otherwise dull interior or item. An ornament serves no architectural purpose other than to make something more appealing and beautiful to the observer.

Ornaments used for embellishment purposes can be impressed onto any surface as applied ornament. It can be carved from wood, stone, precious metals, or formed with clay or plaster. In the applied arts, the materials used for ornaments are usually paint and vitreous enamel.


The Basic Types of Ornaments

Geometric and Stereometric Ornaments – Such ornaments typically feature a combination of perfectly proportionate lines and patterns embellished on surfaces like ceilings, walls, floor tiles, ornamental plates, furniture, and so on.

Vegetation or Plant Ornaments – More commonly referred to as ornamental plants, these types of ornaments are organic. These are plants that are grown purely for decorative purposes in gardens, landscape projects, and even as part of an interior ornamental design that features treated and stylized organic materials such as flower petals, leaves, shoots, etc.

Figural Ornaments – Ornaments that are specially made to adorn or beautify a particular space. As the term suggests, these come in a variety of figures, from animal or human forms to fruits, flowers, and even eggs, like the famous Fabergé eggs of Russia.

Technical Ornaments – These ornaments are derived from, or are by-products of, technological ingenuity. Such ornaments are generally produced by way of bonding, forging, weaving, or braiding various materials. A good example of technical ornaments are the triglyphs of the ancient Greek temples.


Aesthetic vs. Symbolic Ornament

Aesthetic ornaments observe specific rules and design trends as a guide. Although it is still an art form, the aesthetic design and patterns are merely there to enhance the character and the expression of the overall design. Symbolic ornaments, on the other hand, are more than purely aesthetic. They feature designs and patterns that are abstract or symbolic in nature. Symbolic ornaments are like poetry in the form of wavy lines and geometric patterns.


How You Can Beautify Your Home with Ornaments

The best thing about ornaments is, depending on their design, they can be used on virtually anything. They can add some color and appeal to the blank spaces in your walls, bare roof beams, ceilings, wall panels, windowsills, banisters, furniture, and even window and door frames. If you have bare columns in your home, you can embellish them with specially designed ornaments to make them look for interesting and beautiful.

Ornament Placement

First of all, you need to determine how to properly place or position the ornament. You can choose from three options: lying, standing, or a combination of the two.

Ornaments in a lying position are for filling in an area with wide width. If you want to fill in the space with a lot of height, place the ornament in a standing position. If filling the space or area is not your primary purpose, go for a combination of the lying and standing placement.


 Ornament Motifs

A motif is an element of an image or a pattern. Or it can be a part of an image. It can be repeated in many patterns, composition, or design. Or it can appear or be placed just once in an ornament. Motifs vary as they can come in figures, geometrical shapes, and patterns.

Ornaments that are repeated or symmetrically separated can be bound together or altered accordingly depending on their positions. These ornaments are considered tectonically-divided. The spread pattern, on the other hand, may be simple, but is not recommended if you want to fill up space.


Plastic and Flat Ornament

Most plastic and flat ornaments are drawn or painted. They are best used in natural spaces.








Het schippertje ornaments
Celsiusstraat 11
3846 BK Harderwijk
The Netherlands
Tel: 0031 341 418461
Fax: 0031 341 417708



Monday - Friday
8:00 - 12:00
13:00 - 16:30

09:00 - 16:00