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What is an Onlay?

OnlayAn onlay is a pre-carved or cut decorative piece which is attached to a surface. Onlays are often featured on furniture, cabinets and molding.

An onlay is a carved decorative element that is added to a wooden surface. An onlay can be quickly added to a home’s molding, cabinetry or furniture. Onlays allow woodworkers or cabinetmakers to create design elements in a separate location. This conserves time that would be spent creating an inlay, which would require hand carving and the high risk of breakage by the carver. By using an overlay, woodworkers can carve the item using a greater variety of tools without risking the door, molding or furniture that will feature the decoration. Many onlays are available, and the most popular designs include rosettes and shell designs. Onlays can be created to match the wood and finish of the room, and they are available in several sizes. This makes it easy for homeowners to add decorative elements after their furniture or cabinet units have been completed.

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