What is a Finial?

What is a Finial?

Finial, what a strange word.  A nice round rather posh word I would say.  One that I can imagine being bandied around at ladies coffee mornings when discussing their interior designs. But then my husband points out to me that finials are used for much more that just curtain poles and are made of lots of different materials.  Really?

So what is a finial?

An ornamental termination to the top of a piece of furniture, the top of a gable or pinnacle, or some italic fonts.

It all sounds very serious with the use of the word terminal, but translate that to finale and finials suddenly become much more decorative and flamboyant. A decorative finale if you will.

So what are they used for (aside from curtains)?

Curtain Pole finials add a touch of design and sophistication to your windows whether they are metal spun, crystal or wood turned designs.  They also have the practical purpose of preventing your curtains falling the floor.

Decorative bed frames are often completed with finials on the posts.  With lamps  a detailed, ornate finial is often used to disguise the screw fitting. In both the cases the finials are made using metal spinning and wood turning techniques.

Flag Poles and Wind Vanes are also finished off with a finial, although not often the decorative kind. They are usually made from metal spun cones that can withstand the weather conditions, like this one in this video:


Roof finials are used as a decorative ornament or feature which is typically based on the ridge tile fitting. This emphasizes the gable or apex of the roof adding character to the property.  They are characteristic of the victorian era and are often found in properties of that time.

Fence finials, or post caps are used as an ornate finishing touch to a run of fencing or fence panels. Made of with wood turning techniques or are cast out of metal.

So, it seems on this rare occasion my husband was right and finials are indeed more than just decorative ends for curtain poles mastered by metal spinners and woodturners.  I have also noticed many more finials in and around my home.

Have you got any in your home?  Let me know in the comments.

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