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What Is Architrave?

Posted by Skirting World on 7th Aug 2018

What Is Architrave? | Everything You Need To Know

Architrave is a common door feature found within most homes.

Athens MDF Architrave Around A Doorway

Considering we walk through this door feature on a daily basis, often we pay no attention to it at all! Some people even consider it to be part of the actual door frame (not everyone knows what it is or where the idea came from).

Also known as a door surround or door casing, the term Architrave originated from Greece many years ago translated from the Greek word Epistyle.

The Greeks used the Epistyle as an Architectural moulding found at the top of two columns connecting them together with elaborate designs.

The type of architrave chosen will help to add your own personal touch to the visual appearance of the room.

You could go for a a simple modern and sleek design or a more luxurious and eye-catching profile.

Epistyle - Greek Architrave

The History Of Architrave

As said above, the terminology of the word architrave derived from the Greeks with the main emphasis surrounding plaster mouldings.

It was not until the Victorian era that architrave progressed into a common wooden fitting. This was because it was more suitable as a structure support than plaster.

Because wooden picture rails and dado rails were being used at the time, wooden architraves fit into the interiors better than plaster mouldings.

As the years have passed, each time period have gained their own stamp/design.

This includes the Elizabethan, Victorian and Edwardian Styles to name a few. Each one has its own distinct design that symbolises the era.

These tended to be big, bulky and rich in design owing to the showpiece lifestyle being lived by those who could afford it.

What Is The Purpose Of Architrave?

We now utilise architrave around frame doors, rectangular openings and in some cases windows. But why?Architrave can really set a room apart from the rest with a real “wow” factor.

With the amount of designs and styles now becoming readily available over the years, there is so much choice and endless possibilities to achieve the look that best suits you and your family’s personality and lifestyle.

The right architrave choice can turn a plain boring door into a grand exquisite entrance or a small room appear to be spacious and a larger room look more homely.

Architrave does have a practical purpose too.

Behind architrave is where the wall of the room you are in meets the door frame. The purpose of the architrave to mask and cover the unsightly joint where in most cases stone meets wood.

Image Courtesy of Wickes

What Is Architrave Made From?

Most households will have architrave made from one of three different materials including MDF, Softwood and Hardwood.

Each of these materials have their own characteristics and the reason for choosing one or another will vary depending on the look you are trying to achieve.

Some will view Pine as an old fashioned material and MDF being too modern and out of place for the property they are installing it in.

If you are going to be varnishing/staining the architrave, a good quality hardwood or softwood would be used to achieve the look you desire.

If you are looking for a long-lasting board that you will be painting to a high quality and give you that modern look, MDF architrave would be a great choice.

Joiners and fitters will have their preference on the material they like to use. Should you require more information on what you should go for, we are more than happy to help you with that decision.

Modern Day Architrave

With the times moving from how architrave was viewed in the past, we now see a lot of common profiles.

Profiles such as Chamfer and Bullnose are modern designs that are popular with people going for a sleek and minimalist design.

This is not to say that the profiles with more curves are not popular. However, maintaining cleanliness of lesser designed boards is much easier than detailed profiles.

Modern Architrave Designs

Utilising Architrave In Your Home?

With architrave being such a common household feature, you may think the only place it can be utilised is around a door.

However, this is not the case. Below are some ideas for utilising architrave to improve your own home.

Architrave Around Your Windows

The use of decorative architrave around a window is becoming very popular. Formerly it was found in older properties.

It's a great way to make the view from your window more picturesque even if it is a wet and gloomy day outside.

With standard windows, we generally see very square and straight cut openings with plastered wall corners that don’t really have any style to them.

Adding an architrave border/frame can really set the style in the room, especially if the design is similar to that used with the skirting boards, dado rail and picture rail.

Architrave Around A Loft Hatch

Typically, you will find most homes will have an architrave design around the hatch that leads to the loft.

Just imagine how plain and boring it would appear to have a covered hole in the ceiling that did not have some form of border.

Designs used for such purposes range from a very discreet simple Bullnose or Chamfer profile to a design already utilised throughout the home, carrying the same theme throughout.

Architrave Used Around A Loft Hatch

Image Courtesy of The Loft Access Company

Improving Or Re-purposing Furniture

Another great use for architrave is sprucing up new or old furniture.

We have seen how individuals have used the architrave around fitted cupboards as a border making the furniture in your home tie in with your interior theme.

Recycling old property is becoming very popular in this day and age and utilising architrave around a piece of furniture could turn an unwanted and dated piece into a great showpiece thus giving your furniture a new lease of life.

If you require any assistance in finding the right architrave for you or have any general questions, please get in touch with us.

We would love to hear your experiences or ideas of how you have utilised Architrave in your home.