© Yuri Arcurs

Grate Expectations: Grilles and Grates for Projects Large and Small

Sheila Kim Sheila Kim

Metalwork and woodwork specifically produced for the purpose of screening need not be limited to applications such as vent covers and heating registers. Depending on the product and style, grilles and grates lend themselves well to space division, light-fixture diffusion, screening windows and transoms, wall décor, ceiling medallions, infill, cabinetry and storage ventilation, and more. But, even if you are looking to cover a vent, consider using a design that really adds something to the space. Such minute yet thoughtful details don’t go unnoticed by the discerning client. Here is a sampling of products to get you started.

AJK Design Studio

AJK Design Studio: Various
Previously a textile designer for Maharam, Annie Kantor has applied her knack for patterns to custom metal grilles and registers. They range from Moorish tile motifs and latticework to sinuous and whimsical dot patterns. Available to both the trade and consumers via her website, the grilles are made to order in steel, brushed or polished stainless steel, and brass. The steel units can be powder-coated in a selection of 10 finishes.

AJK Design Studio

Architectural Grille

Architectural Grille: Wood Grilles
This Brooklyn-based concern offers a variety of metal designs, but also in wood. Any of the company’s perforated designs can be specified in oak, maple, teak, ash, poplar, or cherry wood, in several stain, lacquer, or paint finishes. Of course, Architectural Grille also has the standard bar-style wooden grille should you prefer that.


McNichols: Various
Best known for perforated and mesh architectural metal, McNichols’ products can also be used on smaller scales from creating decorative light diffusers to screening heating and ventilation openings. Round holes, square holes, diamonds, slots, hexagons, shells, and clover leafs are only a handful of styles the manufacturer offers.


Tableaux: Various
This company (also shown at top) fabricates both residential and commercial-grade products that mimic the look of wrought iron, minus the weight and cost of the real thing. Designs run the gamut from traditional ornate patterns such as scrollwork and filigree to modern geometrics and are made of recycled wood fiber or veneers.

Decor Grates

Decor Grates: Elite Collection Art Deco Register
These floor registers come in solid brass or aluminum in solid brass, brushed nickel, brushed satin, or oil-rubbed bronze finish. Each comes with a damper box, but no air filter. Five formats are available: two by 12 inches, three by 10 inches, four by 10 inches, four by 12 inches, and four by 14 inches (inside dimensions).

Doug Mockett and Company

Doug Mockett and Company: LWAVG Wood Air Vent Grille
Designed for use in millwork, furnishings, and storage pieces that require air ventilation, these grilles come in beech, cherry, maple, or oak and in round, square, and rectangular shapes (in a range of sizes). Depending on the model, it permits anywhere from 20 to 44 percent airflow.

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