What are Decorative Columns?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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Decorative columns are vertical columns that are included in the decorating scheme of a space as a way of adding visual interest. Unlike supporting or architectural columns, a decorative column is not present to provide any type of practical function. The contribution of decorative columns to a space is completely as a visual element of the design.

A decorator may choose to add decorative columns for a number of reasons. One potential application of the columns is to help define specific areas within a space. For example, the decorator may choose to install two columns in a rectangular space as a way of defining two different functions within the same room. On one side of the columns, a living area may be created while the opposite side is utilized to create a dining area.

Another application for decorative columns is to add visual interest to a wall that is lacking in character. By strategically placing two or more columns along the wall, it is possible to add depth to a wall and liven up what otherwise might be a dull area. Placing paintings or other types of wall art in between the columns would also help draw attention to the wall, making the columns into a major focal point in the space.


Decorative columns can also be utilized as a means of creating drama around a window. This approach can be especially useful if the window casing is very plain but dressing the window with draperies is not desired. The columns can include detail that helps to frame the window and enhance the visual appeal without blocking any of the natural light.

It is also possible to use decorative columns to add appeal to a patio. Two or more columns can be placed to help create ambiance for a romantic dinner for two by arranging the columns to define the area immediately around the table. When candles are used on the table, the gentle light will reflect off the columns and make the open space seem more cozy and intimate.

The use of decorative columns is especially helpful when the occupant of the space is renting or leasing. Since many landlords prefer that their tenants do not make any permanent structural changes, the columns can be freestanding visual elements that enhance the décor and are easily removed when the tenant moves. Going with a freestanding set of columns also allows the tenant to redesign the layout of the space by simply moving the columns and the furnishings to different locations in the room.

Decorative columns are often made of wood, but they can also be constructed of durable plastic. Generally, it is a good idea to go with decorative columns that are light, especially if there is a chance the columns will not become a permanent part of the décor. By choosing lighter columns, it is possible to move them at will for storage purposes or to create a new and different look in the space.


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