A great advantage of having a period property is being able to make the most of period detail, to enhance features that bring style, elegance and consistency to the property. One of these features is architrave, something you might easily dismiss or ignore altogether, but an important feature both visually and functionally.

What is architrave?

Fundamentally, architrave is a moulding surround most commonly seen around door frames, but also seen around window frames. Architrave is also known as ‘door surround’, ‘door casing’ or ‘door frame’. However, architrave is the correct name because it defines the fact that you can use different materials and types of wood, which can also be styled with individual profiles to reflect different periods of architectural design.

The word architrave dates back to Greek architecture and actually means ‘main beam resting across columns’, but in UK homes you may still see it today, sometimes in original pieces and sometimes as modern replicas of Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian design.

How is architrave used?

An architrave moulding is used to frame an opening in a decorative and functional way. Architrave is not essential, but it does benefit your interior design schemes, by bringing balance and consistent detail. Architrave adds style to a room and applies a finishing touch not unlike skirting board. And in this sense, in many homes you may only notice architrave when it is not there, and when in place, architrave draws the eye and creates a more pleasing and symmetrical view.

What are the practical benefits of architrave?

Architrave doesn’t just have aesthetic properties, like skirting board, architrave can hide the rough joins and gaps where door frames have moved or wood has shrunk. It can also hide poor plastering. Exterior corners of walls and doors can also suffer from knocks and scrapes, so good architrave can withstand that and provide a more robust finish.

Our architrave products

Although architrave is best known for reflecting period detail, it can also be used in a modern property to provide a contemporary finish. Architrave is usually made from wood, with the four most common types being Pine, Tulipwood, Sapele and Oak. These hardwoods are ideal because they are long-lasting and keep their shape and appearance. They can easily be sanded, painted or wood stained for protection, and the wood won’t warp or split. Furthermore, these woods are easily machined and can be cut to bespoke lengths, making them adaptable and perfect for replacing existing products.

You should choose architrave that best suits the design detail elsewhere in your home, and you need to have a keen eye, because profiles can look similar but you may end up with Georgian skirting fitted alongside Edwardian architrave. Consistency is key to this, because architrave can provide a useful link between rooms, ie. on the outside of internal doors in corridors, and alongside dado rails, for example.

Ultimately, architrave is a great way to draw attention to feature doors or the view from a window, and it brings style and practical benefits to your home, whether it is a contemporary or period property.

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