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A Guide to Architectural Design Features

When it comes to interior design, small details can make all the difference. It can be easy to not really consider what makes a room so appealing and defines its style. You will not really notice individual items and detail but just the appearance and theme of the room as a whole. There are a whole host of decorative architectural features which can sometimes be the defining points to a room. These include skirting boards, coving, picture rails, dado rails, ceiling rosettes and architrave. The following article will take a look at what each of these items are and discuss specification options.

Skirting boards

The most common item on the list. Nearly every home/ room will have skirting boards. These are used mainly for decorative purposes to cover the join between the floor and the wall. They also act as a barrier to prevent damage if anything smashes into the wall such as a vacuum. Skirting can come in many styles and shapes, pre-finished or bare wood. There is therefore something to suit everyones taste or circumstance.


Coving is like the ceiling version of a skirting board. It is used to cover the join between the ceiling and wall. It can be very decorative in appearance and can be used to match to skirting boards, furniture and other features to make attention to detail in a room high and well co-ordinated. Coving can be rather ‘fiddly’ to install due to the height, so this needs to be taken into account, and help is recommended.

Picture rails

A picture rail is a line of wood between the floor and ceiling. It is often seen as more of a period style feature but can of course be used however you may wish. The picture rail is often found to be level with the top of the door frame. It was used to hang pictures from in days gone by.

Dado rail

A dado rail was, in the Georgian period, created for use to protect the wall from damage from chairs. It would be fitted in a dining room as tradition was to leave chairs out away from the table and against a wall. It is again a strip fitted between the floor and ceiling, below the height of a picture rail

Ceiling rosette

A circular moulding fitted around the base of a ceiling light. These are often highly detailed and intricate and come in a variety of styles. These are solely for decorative purposes and are often found in period properties. They can also be added into ordinary homes to give the hallway a grand appearance and this can be achieved at a relatively small cost.


Architrave can be fitted around door frames or archways. They are used to improve the visual and textural appearance. Architrave is normally bare wood, meaning it can be undercoated and glossed or stained with a varnish depending on the door. The architrave therefore has a very versatile scope.

All of the above can be sourced in a variety of materials such as wood, plastic or MDF. Common woods used are pine, oak, beech and tulip. All woods are different shades of brown and come at varying costs. A skirting board or any of the items in our list can be used as a design feature to tie in your choice of furniture material. You can also paint these and can choose any colour you want to fit in with your interiors.

Written by who sell a variety of products to include skirting boards, coving and architrave.