We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Colonnettes?

By Jessica M.
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Colonnettes are small, slender columns commonly used in architecture to flank or subdivide windows or doors. Less commonly, they are used to support an arcade, gallery, or porch or to create what is known as a blind arcade — a trompe l'oeil relief giving the impression of looking out through an arcade, but which is on a long wall. Often, the opening the colonnettes are framing is arched. Generally, they are used for purely decorative purposes and are not depended upon to support any part of of a structure.

They are commonly fashioned from marble, plaster, iron, or wood, and are used both in interior spaces and on building exteriors. Colonnettes may appear singularly, or in rows or clusters known as piers. The word colonnette should not be confused with colonnade, which indicates a long row of standard-sized columns.

Colonnettes feature heavily in Romanesque and Gothic architecture, especially in cathedrals such as the one at Tours, France, whose facade features enormous columns, each made up of many smaller colonnettes. They continued to be used through the centuries, both on public buildings and private residences throughout Europe and the Middle East, and many examples are still extant today. In the US, they are commonly found on the entryways or verandas of large plantation-style homes in the South built during the Federal Period, as well as on early 20th century structures, such a theaters and apartment buildings, built in the flamboyant Spanish or Moorish style. One example of this kind of architecture is Chicago's Aragon Ballroom, built in in 1926, which features colonnettes on its outer windows and corners, as well as indoors supporting an arcade.

In private homes, especially in those of the Victorian period, wood colonnettes were often used indoors as part of a fireplace or mantel. A baluster is a type of colonnette used to support a stairway railing, while a balustrade serves the same function on a porch or balcony. Colonnettes are also sometimes used in interiors to create a separation of rooms without requiring an actual doorway.

Indoors or outdoors, colonnettes lend themselves better to large, traditional homes than to smaller, cottage-style homes or more contemporary dwellings. The Colonial Revival style of home almost always incorporates colonnettes, and they are even featured on smaller examples of the style, albeit in a properly scaled-down form. They also tend to give an air of formality which is something to consider when using them as a decorative element.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By golf07 — On Dec 01, 2011

When I was in college, I was able to spend one semester studying overseas in France. This was like a dream come true. I spent a lot of my free time exploring the cities and the countryside.

There are a lot of old, beautiful cathedrals in France that have colonnettes as part of their architecture. I was able to see inside many of them, and often left with a feeling of awe.

None of them ever looked the same, and I never got tired of admiring them. Once in awhile you would also see them on personal homes.

These were usually in areas that appeared to be quite well off. These style of homes seemed to fit in perfectly with the romantic atmosphere of this country.

This was a semester I will never forget, and the rare times I see colonnettes on a building here, always remind me of the semester I spent in France.

By Mykol — On Nov 30, 2011

@cloudel - I live in the South, and there are still a lot of older homes around here with colonnettes on the front. There is something about them that looks so inviting, yet somewhat intimidating at the same time.

Most of them are large plantation homes which really fit in with the style and decor of that lifestyle.

Sometimes you see them on smaller homes, but they aren't as big, and don't have quite the same appeal as the large mansions.

I love to drive by these stately homes and try to picture what life was like inside these homes years ago. Many of them are still occupied by family members as they have been passed down from generation to generation.

I have never known anyone who lives inside one of these homes, so have not been able to see first hand what it is like.

The closest I have come is a couple tours that I have been through, and this at least gives you a glimpse into what these homes look like on the inside.

By cloudel — On Nov 30, 2011

I have seen colonnettes on the porches of Southern mansions, and they are quite beautiful. They make the place look so regal, and you get the feeling that the home is an antique just by looking at these decorative posts.

Personally, I would love to have colonnettes on my front porch. However, I live in a small, two-bedroom, box-shaped home, and they just would not go with the look of the place.

If I ever have a house built, I want to include colonnettes in some part of the design. I love archways, and I would probably have a porch with at least one arch over the front entrance.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.