1. It’s Really Old

You may be looking for a conclusive Architrave definition, but the word ‘Architrave’ has been around for centuries. Ever since the ancient Greeks and Egyptians started building huge column like structures. The name actually is rooted in Greek and Latin; the words ‘arche’ and ‘trabs’ combining together to make Architrave. It’s name directly translating to ‘Chief Beam’. The Parthenon in Greece is a prime example of this.



Ancient Architrave Stone.

2. What Is An Architrave?

Originally – Architrave was just used to describe the style of mouldings at the top  of a door/window. Where the lintel sits on top of the vertical casing elements of the door frame. This would form a butt joint (think Ancient structures such as the Parthenon with rectangular stone sitting on top of columns).

3. It Can Be Made From Almost Anything

Historically – Architrave has been carved out of stone, wood, and plaster moulding. Because it has been around for so long, humans have had their fair share of time to experiment with the building materials. Today Wooden door mouldings remain a firm favourite in modern interior design, however pvc door moulding is a cheaper and somewhat easier option. Oak Architrave is very durable. 

4. Built To Impress

Also known as a ‘Header’ or ‘Pediment’, Architrave was built originally, to impress. The grandeur of an  entryway heightened by ornate Architrave Door moulding was certainly a statement back in Ancient Greece and Egypt, and has continued through history to be a classic, timeless design feature. 

5. Architrave Architecture

The architrave that you think of today, would not be the final article if you were in Ancient Greece. The Architrave is only part of a series of Moulding; the complete article is an effect known as ‘Entablature’. Entablature refers to three horizontal sections which sit on top of the vertical columns and continue up to the roofline. 

Architrave is at the bottom, which was generally less ornate and more sturdy, to support the other two sections – the highly decorative ‘Frieze’, and the generally larger, mantel like ‘Cornice’ Section. 

6. Architrave Mouldings

There are several types of architrave. This refers to the moulding styles. This was originally noticed and recognised in ancient indian practices of interior design and architecture. Their version of Entablature is known as ‘Prastara’ and is commonly seen on Hindu Temples and architecture. 

There are six types of moulding: 

  • Rounded
  • Wavy
  • Flower Shaped
  • Bevel and Tenon Type
  • Voluted 
  • Figural

7. Where Skirting Meets Architrave

This is often a question asked me: What do I do when the skirting meets architrave? The answer is simple! Don’t panic. Make sure you have the right tools handy and form a butt joint at the bottom of your door/window frame. This will make your frame look neat, tidy and classy. This is the same when fitting an architrave window trim.

8. Choose Your Profile Wisely

We have the benefit now of being able to purchase a whole array of different door architrave designs and architrave moldings, the world is your oyster! This comes with the benefit of being able to view and choose the perfect architrave profile. There are many different modern types of moulding these days, along with the classics, some you may have heard of include:

  • Chamfered
  • Bevelled
  • Pencil Round
  • Lambs tongue
  • Small bead

modern architrave design


modern architrave design

9. Not Just A Pretty Face

In the past , master craftsmen would sculpt beautiful mouldings probably as a display of wealth for their buyers, but architrave has a hidden architectural secret. Their key purpose is decorative, but they also serve to cover the joints left between the wall lining and woodwork. 

10. Keep It Indoors!

Because of its highly decorative nature – Architrave is generally best as an indoor feature. In the past it has been seen outdoors on grand statues and columns, but these were generally statues made from stone and more durable material. If you have plaster moulding cornice or wooden architrave, you may want to keep it on your indoor frames only.

For information about what to use outdoors, visit my article about brick moulding.

Hopefully you learned something new today about Architrave! And you won’t look at your door frames or window frames in the same light again!


PreFabulous happy to help you find your new dream Modular, PreFab, and Tiny Home!


Vancouver Office:

2780 Alamein Street
Vancouver, BC, V6L 1S2

Tel: 604-736-1171

Michigan office: Bay St, Traverse City, MI 49684, USA

Made by PreFabulous Homes. Copyright 2019.