Style-Setting Architectural Features

Discover new ways to layer on style -- whether it's rustic or traditional -- with architectural details, trimwork, and textured materials.

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  • 1 of 23

    Make a Statement

    Custom millwork adds grandeur to the library, which is the first room you see when you enter the home. Pilasters with capitals occupy each corner of the room and frame the doorway. Banks of shelves on each end of the room are topped with identical sets of arches that give the room exacting symmetry. The rich cocoa wall color, which repeats inside the shelves, highlights the architectural detailing and also grounds the room's color palette.

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    Feature Crown Molding

    Attention to detail is a hallmark of this handsome ocean-side home. Designed as the most formal room, the dining room features a handsomely detailed built-in that combines a sideboard-style server with furniture-style bun feet and cabinets.

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    Try a Box-Beam Ceiling

    Usually found in more formal areas like living and dining rooms, a box-beam ceiling adds a touch of elegance here. Because box beams lower the ceiling height, they work best in spaces with a ceiling that's 9 feet or higher. Most decorative beams are hollow boxes made from finished boards and applied molding.

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    Embrace Space

    Give small rooms a welcoming, spacious feel with an open staircase design. A contemporary backdrop with natural materials provides the perfect stage that lets this open staircase, made from salvaged wood planks, steal the show.

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    Repeat Shapes

    Repeating shapes create movement and strengthen the design statement of a space. A scalloped stair wall follows the curved lines of an upholstered banquette.

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    Usher In Natural Light

    Clerestory windows and a triangular skylight installed at the roof hip over the main sink invite even more light and present views of blue sky, giving the kitchen and family room a sense of elevation -- much like an urban loft.

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    Make the Fireplace a Focal Point

    A fireplace wall is often a home's architectural signature, and a symmetrically designed fireplace surround makes a strong traditional statement. Here, quartersawn oak paneling with a whitewashed finish enhances a limestone fireplace tucked into an arched inglenook.

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    Customize Wood Panels

    Customize floor-to-ceiling wood walls with unexpected materials. In this den, faux-leather panels add subtle texture to walls while keeping within the same warm color palette. For a bold look, use nailhead trim around panels.

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    Emphasize Room Height

    Tall vertical beams emphasize this room's soaring ceiling and stunning views. Pegged, mortise-and-tenon joinery and flooring of reclaimed barn beams adds farmhouse character.

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    Divide with Stately Columns

    Traditional detailing is strongest in this spacious room, where two columns both unify and separate the kitchen and dining area. A nuanced paint palette gives the space a clean, cohesive demeanor. White on the trim and columns creates the illusion of greater height.

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    Create Elegant Curves

    Add interest to tall, wide entrances with with beautiful archways. Magnificent architectural millwork crowns the entry hall leading to the home's library. Staying within the same monochromatic color palette gives a nod to traditional style.

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    Expose Wood Walls

    Fully exposed honey-hue pine walls and ceilings emphasize craftsmanship in this inviting office. A white box-beam ceiling, modern fabrics, and upbeat colors keep the space fresh and light.

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    Trend Spotting: Paneling

    Paneling is an easy way to make a style statement. Learn how to incorporate this hot trend into your home.

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    Boost Your View

    Don't make the great outdoors do all the work. In subtle reference to a ship's porthole, this kitchen's oval window was purposefully placed low to zero in on a view of the horizon. The extra visual emphasis plays up beautiful natural scenery.

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    Define with Curves

    The square footage added by bumping out the kitchen went primarily to a roomy alcove with a large banquette. A curved entrance adds visual interest and distinguishes the area from the rest of the kitchen. The banquette seating flips open to reveal hidden storage.

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    Up the Contrast

    A wide arch, framed with substantial moldings and columns, provides an elegant introduction to the staircase. Achieve architectural interest by setting white risers and spindles against stained treads, newels, and railings. A carpet runner adds to the look and guards against wear and tear.

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    Create Harmony

    Repeating shapes and textures within a room creates harmony. Here, a vaulted ceiling defines the dining space between the kitchen and living area. The table and light fixture introduce varying wood finishes but stay within the basic elements: wood, stone, and plaster.

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    Blend Rustic and Modern

    Quirky pairings can quickly and effectively denote style. A hallway easily combines rustic touches—such as a wall of timbered cabin planks and a cowhide rug—with modern art.

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    Draw Eyes Up

    Architectural touches don't have to pricey or overdone. Here, a polystyrene ceiling medallion and a crystal chandelier give the dining room an air of both fun and formality.

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    Enhance an Entry

    Architectural trims found in older homes, such as crown moldings, are fairly easy to replicate with stock trim from your local home improvement store. Trim on a wide archway emphasizes its waving curve.

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    Highlight a Curved Staircase

    This dramatic staircase is known as a bridal staircase for the sweeping curve and wide, gownlike base. The homeowners chose high-quality materials and old-world architectural elements to give their new-construction the feel of a century-old home.

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    Layer On the Structure

    In addition to emphasizing this room's soaring lines, wooden beams frame other architectural elements, like an entryway and tall stone fireplace. Pay attention to proportion. These hefty beams are weighty enough to have impact in this spacious living room.

  • Next Slideshow Living Room Trimwork Ideas

    Living Room Trimwork Ideas

    Improve your home decor by adding or upgrading architectural details and trim.
    Begin Slideshow »
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