Architraves are sometimes so subtle you may not even notice them in your own home. Still, once you begin to consider renovating or upgrading your home décor, a moulding like an architrave can often take centre stage.
Architraves are the mouldings that sit around your door or window frame to disguise unsightly joints or seams between the wall and the doorframe, or the wall and the window frame. Architraves are often confused as part of the frame, but where the frame is used to hold the door or window in place, the architrave has an aesthetic purpose, not a structural one, and can add character or a new dimension to the room.
In classical architecture, an architrave is a horizontal beam that sits on top of two columns, and can also be known as a ‘casing’ or ‘trim’.
Depending on the period of your home, an architrave may be used to create an eye-catching feature that adds flair, character, or style to your room. Elaborate architraves draw ones attention and can be particularly detailed and ornate when installed in Victorian or Georgian-style homes. In modern and contemporary homes, architraves tend to be more sleek and subtle, but they don’t have to be. Once you start to consider the thousands of profiles on the market, you might want to get creative.
An architrave also allows for the subtle movement of your home. Whether you like it or not, your home is never completely stationary from the time it is built. Moisture in the foundation, aging of materials, poor drainage, or the shrinking of concrete as the water drains out can cause enough movement for the plasterboard to crack, especially in fragile areas like around your doors and windows. A small gap is often left between the plasterboard and the frame to allow for this movement and prevent cracking, which is why an architrave has the crucial role of shielding this space.
Timber can also shrink and warp over time if it hasn’t been treated, so if your door or window frames are made from wood that’s been exposed to moisture, an architrave will mask any gaps or cracks that may occur from the unwanted movement.
Although architraves are most typically found around your door and window frames, they can also be found on features like an attic door or crawl space. Whether you want to draw attention to these areas will determine the profile of the architrave you choose.
Architraves can be bold and painted in bright colours to create a statement in a room or to create contrast in an otherwise plain space. It is not uncommon to see a honey-brown timber architrave moulding surrounding an otherwise white wall, creating a striking contrast, and a clear division between the wall and the windows, which is pleasing when your eyes move across them.
Architraves are most commonly made from MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) or timber, although in some applications, architraves can also be built with aluminium, plaster, PVC, or ceramic tile. The choice of material may be dependent on the existing mouldings or fixtures in your home, but as a general rule, MDF and timber are the most common, and allow for a greater variety of profile and style.
At the Australian Moulding Company, we have over 5,000 architrave profiles for homes and apartments built in almost any period. We specialise in styles from the Victorian, Federation, Art Deco, Late Edwardian, Colonial, and Post War periods, and are confident you will find precisely the profile you’re looking for in our range here.