Last edited 28 Jun 2021

Cornice coving and architrave definitions

The terms cornice, coving and architrave are frequently used incorrectly, or used as if they are interchangeable.

A cornice is a profiled moulding used to conceal the joint between a wall and a ceiling so that it does not have to be finished and any cracking along the joint is hidden.

A cornice can be plain or highly decorative.

Plain cornice may be referred to as ‘coving’.


[above, decorative cornice]


[above, plain cornice or coving]

Typically cornice and coving are made of plaster, paper-covered plaster, polyurethane, expanded polystyrene or timber.

An architrave is a moulding that sits above a door, window or other opening, where the architrave extends across the top of the side mouldings to the opening. However, in the modern construction industry, the term architrave it is frequently used to refer to any horizontal or vertical mouldings that form the surround to a door, window or other opening.

Typically an architrave will be made from timber, although if it is ornate it may be made from similar materials to cornice and coving.

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