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Simple Ways to Add Architectural Details

As a designer, one of my goals is to bring exclusive details to our clients and customize each project to suit their unique taste and style. In my quest to bring each home to the next level of design, function, and luxury, adding architectural details is an obvious step.

Floor plans, paint colours, and area rugs definitely have a role in transforming spaces, but altering and adding architectural features elevates the look by adding detail to the space's existing form. These details ensure that our clients home is anything but generic and is exclusive in every way. Here are a few of our favourite details and why they matter.


Adding millwork quickly turns otherwise-boring wall space into an exquisite and detailed backdrop. It is perfect for stairs, hallways, and feature walls, and is equally effective at full height, or as a half- or two-thirds-height wainscot. Depending on the level of detail used, the feel of millwork ranges from formal to rustic, and nearly everything in between. One of our go-tos is the classic grid pattern shown here, which adds much-needed detail to this large wall.

Ken Bishop Way | Photo by James C Lee Photography


Header Caps

A header cap is an added piece of wood at the top of the door or window moulding. It adds a bit of flare to generic trim work that surrounds a door and can be as understated or dramatic as you please. The room above is a perfect example of why architectural details are important. Without the ceiling treatment, wainscoting, or header caps over the doors and windows, such a large room would feel more cavernous. These details elevate the space and help it feel cozy and inviting, rather than cavernous.

Design by Amber Interiors | Photo by Tessa Neustadt


Custom Doors

Doors are often overlooked but an absolute architectural go-to. We all have doors in our home, leading to restrooms, bedrooms, garages and offices, so why not make them BEAUTIFUL? There are so many different patterns, finishes, hardware, glass inserts, and designs, metal detailing and panels to choose from and this is yet another opportunity to set your home apart as a thoughtful, custom space.



Stairs are often overlooked as an architectural feature that can make or break the design scheme of your home. Often placed in a central location, stairs need to be an integral piece of your layout and design puzzle. There are so many options for customizing stairs, including painting, repositioning, adding runners, new railing systems, and completely swapping out. At one of our recent builds, we added floating glass stairs that not only ooze character and style, but also allow the small space to remain open and airy.


Ceiling Details

Adding architectural details to ceilings is one of my all-time favourite ways to add an element of decadence and refined luxury. A coffered ceiling like the one shown here adds a feeling of tradition, while a planked ceiling or rustic beam would feel more casual. We use ceiling treatments to draw attention to a certain area of the room and to break up the different functions of an open floor plan.

Design by Amber Interiors | Photo by Tessa Neustadt


Shiplap Walls

'Shiplap' is a common term for horizontal boards (either tongue and groove or not) applied to a wall. They recall the days before sheetrock was widely used, and evoke a nostalgia for simpler times. Typically associated with casual style, shiplap can be unfinished or stained wood for a rustic feel, or it can be smooth and painted for a more refined look.


Built-In Cabinetry

Adding a wall of custom cabinetry or shelving brings instant permanence and coziness to a room, and provides storage and display space that may be otherwise lacking. They are an especially good choice in larger rooms or under high ceilings, where furnishings are easily diminished. You may choose to paint them a bold, dramatic color, or add wallpaper to the back of shelves, which gives the room another decorative layer.


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