How and Why are Architraves Used?
An architrave can be found in nearly every home across the country, hidden in plain sight. Not many people can define what architrave is, or why and how it is used.
What is an Architrave?
Architrave is a form of interior moulding that you will find in most homes, offices and other buildings. One form of architrave is a strip of material that rounds off the wall and door. Interior moulding refers to a strip of material that conceals transitions between surfaces and add embellishment to a room, for example:
- Walls and doors
- Walls and windows
- Ceilings and loft arches
Why does my home need an architrave?
Architraves are often the finishing touches that are added when decorating and refitting your home. Despite the aesthetic aspect of architraves, they actually play a bigger role in interior moulding than you think: The purpose of the architrave for doors is to hide that joint and any following shrinkage and movement between the two. Similarly, a skirting board would be used to cover the weaker plaster at the base of the wall, and act as a trim where the walls meet the floors.
What is Architrave Made From?
There are three popular materials that all interior mouldings can be made from, including architrave; MDF, hardwood and softwood. All of these materials are favoured among many people but have their pros and cons (something we’ll discuss in a different blog).
The History Behind Architrave
The architecture dates back around 40,000 years, and became more prominent around the Tudor period, as architrave was developed to improve the finishes on the building designs, and would give the distinguishable architrave style that we see today, especially in more ‘traditional’-styled homes.
Within classical architecture, an architrave is used as the lintel that rests above the columns of a building or statue. Within the Greek language, the words ‘arche’ and ‘trabs’ would form together to mean ‘main beam’.
As you can see from the example above, the architrave is actually just one individual strip across the top, instead of also being included in the columns. However, over time, the meaning of architrave has adapted slightly to incorporate both the top bar and both side columns, to make a whole set of architrave. Oak architrave is a very popular material for use in homes.
Using Architrave in Your Home
If you’re new to the world of interior mouldings, you may only think that there is a ‘set way’ to use architrave. While framing your door is the most popular use for the moulding, there are more creative uses for architrave that we have seen, which may then open up your mind to new possibilities:
Framing your Windows
Framed windows are often seen in more traditional-style buildings, but with the abundance of designs now available, it is also becoming more popular within contemporary designs. A standard window design only uses open plastered corners with a window board at the base, but architrave around the frame of the windows adds a more focused design to the area, and can really change up the interior theme of the room. Meranti architrave is the perfect material to compliment a room like this.
Framing your Loft Hatch
An almost-hidden area, that you may not think about using architrave, is around your loft hatch. The difference that you can make to your loft, simply by adding a border, is incredible. Unlike window framing, your loft hatch is not as regulated by period style, as it is a subtle area, and the wide variety of styles means that a modern home would not be fixed to an Edwardian theme and vice versa. Shop our full range of architraves online today or get in touch for further information and details