How To… Reveal Original Interior Cornicing

We were delighted at KLD to be asked to be part of Image Interiors and Living‘s ‘Ask The Experts’ and thought it would be helpful to develop our answer in to a step by step how to guide.

Q: ‘I have lovely cornice work on my hall ceiling, which is about 200 years old. Sadly, it is covered with so many layers of paint, you can hardly see any of the detail. Is there any quick method of stripping it back without risking it crumbling off ?’

A: Removing paint from detailed and delicate areas on original features like cornicing and ceiling roses can be both tricky and time consuming! To reveal the fine details of these original features, you’ll have to strip off the build up of paint. This will probably be a mix of both emulsion and oil-based paints that have been layers on top of each other over the years. Here are some easy steps How To.. Reveal Your Original Interior Cornicing.

Interior Cornicing


– Scrapper
– Cloths
– Toothbrush
– Ladder
– Paint Stripper
– White Spirits
– Paint
– Paint Brush


Step 1 – Cleaning

Wipe away any dirt or dust with a cloth.

Step 2 – Scraping

Gently using a scraper remove any flakes or cracked paint. This should give you a good idea of how think the build up of paint has been over the years. Be careful at this stage not to damage the material beneath the paint by being too heavy handed with the scraper.Interior CornicingStep 3 – Paint Stripper

Apply a ready mixed paint stripper (available from any paint supplier) this will begin to break down the paint. Follow the instructions of your chosen stripper, generally leaving the stripper on for 20-3o minutes before removing the broken down paint. Work in areas of 1-2 meters in length at a time.

Step 4 – More Paint Stripper

Due to many layers of paint you may have to repeat step 2 until you are happy with the level of detail that has been revealed. To help remove paint build up in grooves and detailed areas a soft toothbrush will get it to areas a cloth or scraper will not.

Interior CornicingStep 5 – Painting Prep

When all the paint has been removed wipe down the area with white spirits using a cloth. This will leave a nice clean surface for you to apply you new paint.

Step 6 – Painting

Using a paint brush apply 2 coats of your selected colour allowing to dry between coats.

Interior Cornicing

Top Tip

Always do a small test section with the paint stripper before taking on the whole job and wear gloves to protect your skin.