Ornamental trim is a type of trim that adds a highly decorative element to a design.

One of the most popular pieces of trim in this category is the rosette.

The traditional rosette is a round, stylized motif that features a botanical design. It was derived from the natural shape of the circular formation of leaves around a flower.

It has been a popular motif for centuries, adapting to interior design trends and consumer tastes again and again.

Let’s explore how this decorative element can enhance contemporary designs.

Classical Design

I always find it inspiring to look to the past to understand how an element has been used to see how it can be adapted to contemporary design.

The images above were snapped on a trip to New York City while exploring classic buildings such as the Plaza Hotel and the New York Public Library.

The rosette showed up often in both plaster and wood.

It was a decorative element that adorned ceilings, walls, doors and furniture.

Corner Block Rosettes

In the 1800’s the Victorians adapted the rosette motif into a corner block that was used in the corners of door and window frames.

Today these corner blocks are often referred to as rosettes.

This type of installation became a popular installation because on site it required only straight cuts to produce it.

It also worked well in homes with fluctuating humidity levels because the expansion and contraction of these joints was much less noticeable than with mitered joints.

Today, the traditional round rosette is still a motif found in classic, traditional and colonial styled design but there are options.

Modern Rosettes

The popularity of the Victorian rosette has spawned many different interpretations over the years.

Today there are manufactures and artisans producing decorative rosettes to match any client’s taste.

I would encourage you search out motifs to reflect your client’s unique design aesthetic.

Here are some ways you can use contemporary rosettes in your designs.

Door & Window Frames

Inserting a contemporary rosette as part of your window and door trim is an easy way to get a unique decorative element in a design.

As the Victorians discovered, it is also an easy way to trim out these areas and it is a good technique to use in homes with varying humidity levels.

Mirror and Art Work Frames

Placing a modern rosette at the corner of trim surrounding a mirror or a piece of art is a great way to use this ornamental piece.

This type of installation is also the perfect place to play with unique colors and finishes.

Fireplace Mantels

A fireplace surround provides the opportunity to incorporate a decorative rosette as an accent.

Many classical fireplace surrounds carved from stone would feature rosettes and using a contemporary rosette as part of a wood surround is a modern approach.

Interior Doors

Interior doors can be embellished with contemporary rosettes.

As per the example above, placing rosettes in the corner of a single panel door produces a one-of-a-kind interior door.

Experiment with other door styles and rosette designs for unique offerings for your clients.

Ceiling Treatments

Contemporary rosettes are perfectly suited for ceiling treatments.

Look to use them where different pieces of wood, like beams or panels intersect.

Contemporary rosettes can be used to develop a ceiling treatment layout by spreading them out, or grouping them together.

Experimenting with paints and stains offers the designer infinite possibilities for ceiling treatments that incorporate contemporary rosettes.

Rosettes in Kitchen Design

The contemporary rosette can add a stylistic embellishment to a Kitchen Design.

With the variety of motifs on the market there is an option for almost any decor style and various places that they can be placed.

Let’s explore a few examples.


Topping Kitchen cabinet pilasters with a rosette produces a nice termination point.

Depending on the style the Kitchen Designer is working with the rosette can be highlighted with chalking or glazing for more impact.

Decorative Hoods

The popularity of the the wood decorative hood offers a great opportunity to add contemporary rosettes.

The apron front of the hood is the ideal location to specify rosettes, but they can also be used as a more subtle embellishment.

Island Posts

The corner of a Kitchen Island is the perfect place for a rosette embellishment.

Corner posts give an island a furniture feel and a contemporary rosette can make it unique to your client’s Kitchen Design.

I would encourage you to explore other possibilities for specifying contemporary rosettes in your projects.

In my upcoming workshop on Integrating Mouldings and Millwork into your Kitchen Design Business I will offer many other ideas on how different types of mouldings can make your projects more unique.

If you would like to receive updates on the launch of the workshop please subscribe to my list.

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Jan Rutgers has been designing kitchens and products for over 25 years and is a recipient of Kitchen & Bath Design News’ Top Innovators in 2020 for the Kitchen & Bath Industry. She has designed more than 1000 kitchens learning valuable skills with each one! Her experience in Kitchen Design, Millwork Manufacturing and Product Development has led her to create VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she educates and mentors people passionate about the Kitchen Design Industry.

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