From Classic to Contemporary: Exploring Different Types of Door Casings

March 4, 2024

By: The Finished Space

Option M - New Traditional - Dining Room - Door Angle - 2022

Door casings and other mouldings often provide one of the final yet essential decor touches to a room. They add texture, depth, and warmth, creating the illusion of space to the drabbest and smallest spaces. 

A trim’s style, material, and color can give a room an elegant-formal look or a simple farmhouse appeal — whatever you want for your home’s decor.

What is a Door Casing?

Door casings are functional design elements that conceal the gap between the wall and the door frame. And as a bonus, they also significantly enhance the architectural beauty of a room. Serving as a visual transition, they help define the style and character of your entryways.

Casings can be ornate or simple, and they’re often a key defining detail in a home’s interior and exterior design. Whether you opt for a bold, intricate pattern that draws the eye or provides a sleek, understated design that blends seamlessly with the walls, door casings add a finished look to your doorways and contribute to your overall design aesthetic. 

The Differences Between Contemporary and Classic Door Casings

Contemporary door casings are characterized by their clean lines and minimalistic design, often lacking the intricate details of classic styles. They also tend to be straightforward, using only flat or slightly rounded profiles that suit modern and industrial interiors.

When it comes to colors, contemporary designs are typically neutral as they allow the door casings to integrate smoothly into the overall design without dominating the space. In contrast, classic door casings are typically more ornate, feature classic colors, or have a natural wood finish. This is specifically done to highlight their elaborate craftsmanship.

Understanding the Shift from Classic Styles to Contemporary Styles in Modern Homes

The shift from classic to contemporary door casing styles in modern homes is largely influenced by changing architectural trends and homeowner preferences for cleaner, more streamlined interiors. 

As homes move towards open floor plans and minimalist designs, the ornate and complex details of classic casings often give way to simpler, sharper, and more functional silhouettes that enhance the openness of your space.

This trend is also driven by the increasing integration of home technology and the need for versatile spaces. Contemporary door casings work well with modern necessities without sacrificing style. Plus, the materials used in modern casings tend to be more durable and low maintenance, appealing to today’s eco-conscious and busy homeowners.

Types of Door Casings: Styles & Materials

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8 Popular Door Casing Styles

Door casings come in a variety of styles, from ornate and elegant to clean and simple—something for everyone’s tastes. However, designers highly advise that you keep the trim consistent from room to room (and with your exterior style) for flow and continuity.

Typically, door trim matches the window trim style — sizes vary according to the home’s different elements. 

For instance, you should apply the most intricate and expansive trim to the interior side of the front entry door; the next widest trim goes on the interior side of other large exterior doors, like French and sliding doors. Scale the interior trim down for small exterior doors. Finally, use the same size trim on interior doors and windows.

Here are few of the most popular door casing styles:

1. Farmhouse

Farmhouse-style door casings give your home a cozy feel. Timeless farmhouse style includes simple, clean lines, with little to no ornamentation on the boards. To add character and dimension to a room, try whitewashing, staining, or applying a dark color to your farmhouse-style door casings.

2. Modern Farmhouse

Modern Farmhouse door casings blend the rustic charm of traditional farmhouse designs with contemporary clean lines, creating a fresh, inviting aesthetic. These casings often feature a mix of natural wood tones and soft, neutral colors like white or gray, which helps to brighten and modernize the space. This door casing style is perfect for homes that want to strike a balance between country comfort and modern simplicity.

3. Craftsman

Craftsman door casings produce simple yet exciting details that add a purposeful style to your home — representing the signature elements of British Arts and Crafts architecture. The sturdy quality and handcrafted pieces of the craftsman-style door casings also play a significant role in complementing and unifying the exterior elements. To add depth and texture to your craftsman home, paint the door casings a creamy neutral tone or dark color.

4. Contemporary Craftsman

Contemporary Craftsman door casings merge the traditional elements of the Craftsman style with modern simplicity. This style often utilizes natural wood or is painted with earth tones, adding warmth to the room and drawing attention to the craftsmanship, which is important for this style. The casings are typically straightforward with a slightly thicker build, enhancing the doorway without overpowering the modern aesthetic.

5. Minimal

Minimal Door Casings

Minimally designed door trim produces a simple, finished, and clean look without overwhelming the space. Minimal trim works effectively with modern or industrial decor styles or in informal areas to create a sophisticated and open feel to contemporary rooms.

6. Urban Loft

Urban Loft door casings are perfect for loft living, blending raw materials like metal or unfinished wood with minimalist design to create a modern industrial vibe. This style typically features slim, straight lines that complement the high ceilings and spacious layouts usually found in loft spaces.

7. Vintage Industrial

Vintage Industrial door casings are typically characterized by their robust and rustic appeal. These casings add a historical depth to entryways, highlighting the industrial era’s emphasis on sturdy, practical designs. The rugged look of vintage industrial door casings pairs well with bold furniture and sharp décor.

8. New Traditional

New Traditional door casings blend classic design elements with contemporary touches, creating a timeless yet updated look. These casings often feature elegant detailing such as paneling, painted in classic hues or natural wood finishes to add a sophisticated flair. The New Traditional style is extremely versatile, providing a bridge between ornate classical themes and the clean lines of modern design.

9. Colonial

Colonial Door Casings

Colonial-style door casings combine timeless simplicity and rich details, enhancing the feeling of coziness and comfort in your home. Often featuring elegant, simple beads (small indented lines) and cavetto (concave) shapes and curves in their design, they can make a low-ceiling room feel more feminine and voluminous.

10. Shabby Chic

Shabby Chic door casings are both romantic and vintage, often featuring distressed wood or pastel colors. This style lends a soft, feminine touch to doorways paired with ornate details and carved embellishments that enhance its rustic charm. This kind of door casing works really well in uniquely-styled homes that feature a blend of the old and the new.

11. Butted vs. Mitered

Installing a doorway’s three pieces of casings typically involves placing the board’s thinner edge towards the inside of the frame, which reduces bulk in the doorway. Builders or DIYers can connect the short head casing ends to the top of the two side casings by either butted or mitered joints.

Butted Joints

Butted joints connect two flat surfaces at 90 degrees, typically with both glue and nails. Traditionally, butt joints connect flat board casings, with the head casing sitting on top of the side casings. Architects often opt for butted joints when designing homes with high ceilings because butted joints allow for custom above-door designs with intrinsic and detailed head casings. Decorative corner blocks can add even more interest and character.

Mitered Joints

Mitre joints involve cutting both the tops of the side and the head casing at a 45-degree angle and fitting them together to make a 90-degree angle. Mitre joints make a neat and clean wood joint.

The Best Materials for Door Casing

Several factors play into selecting the best material for door casings. For example, the amount of detail and buildup you want for the casing, whether you plan to stain or paint, and the room’s moisture susceptibility all play into your material choice for door casings.

Paint-Grade Wood

Paint-grade wood (commonly made from poplar and pine) door casing consists of bare wood, requiring homeowners to prime (unless pre-primed) and paint. You can build up the paint-grade wood casing, allowing for more detail and character than you can achieve with man-made casing materials. Painting the casing hides the joints, but staining will not. If you intend to apply a wood stain, you will need to select another material option.

Paint-grade wood door casings are in the middle of the spectrum when it comes to cost cost per linear foot (LFT), depending on the casing’s width and design.

Stain-Grade Wood

Pacific Coast hemlock offers a color-consistent, durable, long-length wood option for stain-grade molding, suitable for all stain colors or clear coat finishes. Wood-pitch and resin-free Pacific Coast hemlock prevent bleeding and blotching through the finished surface, producing an even-grained molding with fine texture.

Stain-grade hardwood casings offer another good option for doors exposed to moisture because they do not warp. Hardwood materials also accept stains beautifully, hiding the joints and resisting streaking. Builders most commonly use oak hardwood for door casings, followed by maple, poplar, mahogany, cherry, birch, and walnut.

Hardwood door casing are on the middle to high end when it comes to costs, but for broader and more ornately detailed designs, they’re costs can be even higher LFT — even more for custom-ordered, exotic hardwood door casings.



Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) door casings, formed from resin and wood fiber, offer homeowners a durable, inexpensive material that looks similar to the paint-grade wood casing. Most MDF door casings come primed and ready to paint, and while easier to install than miter (cut), it can be hard to layer as a decorative molding as the profile details and edges are not able to be quite as sharp as their wood counterparts. 

MDF door casing are generally lower in cost.

3 Tips for Choosing Door Casing

You can easily add architectural interest to your home with decorative door casings. It’s an easy DIY project you can complete in one weekend. However, the numerous choices of door casings can overwhelm some homeowners. Please read on for Metrie’s tips on choosing the best door casings for your home.


1. Consider Your Existing Home Style

Door casings add architectural interest; however, their aesthetic success depends on balance. Your door casings’ style should match or complement your existing window casings, crown moldings, etc. For instance, casual ranch-style homes should use a simple trim that creates a clean, informal feel. In contrast, a traditional Victorian home leans towards intricate and elegant casings. To create a cohesive look for your entire house, the style of your home’s exterior should influence your trim selections for the interior.

2. Add Your Own Creative Style

Berkely door

Door casings allow homeowners to personalize their living space — don’t be afraid to get creative with your choices of style, color, or material. Browsing through decorating magazines for style ideas, borrowing samples from your local home improvement stores, or visiting the Metrie web page on design tips all provide useful ways to explore your door casing options.

3. Get Advice From Experts

Today’s big-box home improvement stores offer a large variety of casing and moulding supplies but often lack the help you may need to make your selections. In contrast, visiting a Metrie molding showroom will put you in touch with knowledgeable decor experts who can answer your questions, show you the latest and best options in door casing, and help you meet the design goals for your home.

Metrie™, a leading manufacturer and distributor of interior finishings with locations across North America, makes it easy for consumers and building and design professionals to select, purchase, and design interior mouldings (including door casings) and doors. Metrie door trims come in various styles and materials to accommodate every home’s unique taste and style.

For more information on the best door casings for your home, please visit one of our professionals at our many Metrie dealer showrooms.