Interior columns provide both decorative and functional benefits unlike any other architectural element. Their timeless beauty can do everything from adorn a grand entrance way or staircase to framing windows, foyers, kitchen counters, bathtubs, mantels, bookcases and doors. They also work well highlighting focal points or dividing spaces and creating borders while maintaining the airiness of a room.
The trend today for new construction as well as remodeling projects most often calls for architectural and decorative columns cast from fiberglass and cellular PVC. That’s because for exterior purposes you just can’t beat them. These materials stand up to the elements so much better than wood and require very little if any maintenance. Plus they are resistant to insect infestation, chipping, splitting and rotting.
However, if you’re going to accentuate your interior space with columns you may want to consider the timeless beauty of natural architectural wood columns. For centuries wood columns have stood for strength, authority, and classic beauty. When selecting interior columns consider these five points:
- Nothing boasts quite the same look and feel as wood. It exudes an unmatched warmth, richness, and beauty that serve as a focal point of any home. As a natural product, the variations in wood hues and the unique wood grains makes each column a one of a kind work of art.
- Wood columns are a standout in any application and won’t simply blend into the woodwork. They can be left natural or may be stained in any of a dozen or more shades of wood to match or highlight your wood furniture and floors. They can also be sealed with a lacquer for protection that will last for years to come.
- For interior use you may select columns made from softer woods, but wood columns made of Western Red Cedar or Clear All Heart Redwood lumber are generally considered best for both exterior and interior use.
- Properly stained and lacquered interior wood columns are also very low maintenance because they won’t show smudges and fingerprints, as painted columns tend to do.
- Because wood columns are based on the timeless orders of architecture—three Grecian and two Latin orders of Architecture, they are sure to compliment any décor. Choose from: Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite column shafts then select a stunning cap and base to really set it off.
There are several different styles of caps and bases to complement wood column shafts. Caps and bases for wood columns are usually made of materials other than wood. The molded part of the cap is called the echinus, and the flat slab above it is known as the abacus.
Caps for wood columns distinguish the column’s classical order architecture. There are five orders of architecture, but all architectural capitals originate from Doric, Ionic or Corinthian styles. Over the years cap styles have developed into many sub-categories. Some manufacturers, like HB&G Columns, make custom column caps that follow the orders of architecture, but the names for these styles or sub-categories often vary by manufacturer.