1) Corbels: Choosing a style
What do you like? What is your style preference?
in a multitude of shapes and sizes. Incorporating corbels into your decor may
seem like a formidable task, considering the endless possibilities we make
available to you.
The most straightforward way to narrow down your choices is to
analyze your own unique decorating style. Do you prefer a more traditionally
styled home? Do you tend to gravitate toward the Arts and Crafts style of design;
do you tend to love Mission-style furniture? Is your goal to lend a
Mediterranean feel to your home? Is your home a contemporary one, with modern
lines and furnishings?
At InvitingHome.com, we offer
corbels and wood brackets with clean and
simple lines to corbels with elaborate curves and scrolls to corbels with
whimsical, eclectic details. No matter what your style is, or what your design
goal may be, there is a style of corbel that is perfect for your decor.
2) The intended corbels purpose: Support, Decoration, or Both?
Corbels are more than just functional architectural elements.
They are focal points because of their detail; the eye is naturally drawn to
corbels as points of interest.
Although the intention of the carvings on wood corbels
is geared toward the pursuit of an aesthetic, the corbel's intended function is
obvious. The flat platform on the top of the corbel is a convenient place to set
a shelf on, or support a counter top on. Thus, corbels are useful in any room in
the home. Frequently utilized in the kitchen, corbels are often placed
underneath the overhang of counter tops, underneath cabinets, and underneath or
beside the hood of the stove.
If you are using corbels for decorative purposes, keep this rule of thumb in
mind: although your intention is to adorn your home, the corbel's appearance
should be that of utility. In other words, even if the corbel isn't actually
supporting another structure, it should look as if it does. Also, be aware of
the proportions you are working with.
At InvitingHome.com, not only do we offer a wide selection of motifs to choose from,
but also offer several sizing options for your selection. Our corbels lend a natural,
polished appearance under your countertops; embellishing arch and entryways; or below
the structural beams in your home.
3) Choosing the right sized corbels
If your intention is to use the corbel as a means of support, such as
underneath a counter top, the depth of the corbel you choose must be at
least 1/2 of the depth of the overhang which it will support. If your
intention is to use corbels as a means to brace shelving, than you must
choose a corbel that is at least 2/3 of the depth of the shelf which it will
support, since the corbel will be the shelf's sole means of support.
When incorporating corbels into your home for purely decorative reasons,
choosing the correct sized corbel is based upon the proportions of the surface
you're working with, as well as the physical details of the corbel itself.
If you intend to place the corbel above the fluting of a pilaster, the key
dimension you are working with is the width of the corbel. The corbel should
measure as wide, though no wider than 1/2 inch of the pilaster.
If you intend to place the corbel underneath a structural beam, the key
dimension you are focused on is the width of the corbel. The corbel's width
should measure as wide as the width of the beam, or no smaller than 1/4 inch of
the width of the beam.
If you intend to place the corbel beneath a countertop, the key dimension you
are focused on is the depth of the corbel. The same rule applies when using the
corbel as means of support: the corbel should measure at least 1/2 of the depth
of the countertop's overhang; or more preferably, exactly 3/4 of the depth of
If you intend to place the corbels inside a door opening or entryway, the key
dimensions you are working with is width. The corbels' widths should measure the
same as the width of the doorway. They should never measure smaller than 2
inches of the doorway's width, with 1 inch on either side. Also, special
consideration should be given to the sides of the corbel, since the carved
details will face outwards. The carved details will be the first glimpse of the
corbels one sees when passing through the doorway.
If you intend to place the corbels on either side of a kitchen's stove hood, you
are working with both dimensions of width and depth. The corbel should be rather
large; at least 12 inches deep. If cabinets will abut the corbel, the sides of
the corbel should be flat, so it will be flush with the cabinets.
4) Mind corbels materials!
Historically, corbels were fashioned out of stone (often in
marble) and wood. Today, you can buy corbels in these traditional materials, but
also in resin and polyurethane.
At InvitingHome.com, we offer both wood and
polyurethane corbels, but our hand carved
wood corbels are the most popular by far. It is important to note that polyurethane
corbels are designed for decorative purposes only! Quality polyurethane corbels are
made from the highest density polyurethane, otherwise known as furniture grade polyurethane.
High quality polyurethane's appeal is in its overall durability. Low grade polyurethane is
less stable. The low density makes it far more susceptible to heat, moisture,
and other environmental factors.
Our hand-carved wood corbels are made from the finest, premium selected American
and European Hardwoods. Beautiful, clear, good grain is the hallmark of the
premium hardwood. All of the carvings and wood corbels we offer are triple
sanded and ready to accept your choice of finish. For ease in installation, all
of our wood corbels are fitted with keyhole inserts in the back, eliminating any
chance of intrusion on the design.
5) Machine-carved corbels verses Hand-carved corbels
All of our wood corbels at InvitingHome.com are carved by
hand. Through your due diligence, you will find that many retailers claim their
wood corbels to be superior because they are machine carved. However, the truth
is evident when you consider the details and evaluate the process: any two of
our wood carved corbels are identical in terms of dimension and carving design,
but if you look closely at the carvings themselves, you will find slight
variations attributed to the individual skill of the master who carved it. The
particular person who carved the piece left behind the imprint of their
undivided attention, their perspective, and their unique eye for beauty. You
will find that these slight variations impart a sense of soul to the carving,
and this soul-like quality can never be replicated by a machine.
We take pride in our hand-carved wood corbels. Produced from the highest quality
standards and with the finest materials available, our carved wood products
are the culmination of a degree of excellence that is unsurpassed. At
InvitingHome.com, you can feel confident that we never compromise on quality...
6) Corbels: Which wood should you choose?
Most of our wood corbels are available in your choice of Hard
Maple, Red Oak, White Oak, Cherry, Alder, or White hardwoods. They come to you
triple sanded and ready to accept your desired finish. Before you choose your
hardwood, we strongly suggest you consider your specific project:
If you intend to paint your corbels one solid color; the best wood types
for your project is Alder, Maple, or White hardwood. A nice, tight grain is a
characteristic of these wood types, and since the opaque quality of the paint
will cover the grain in the end, these wood varieties are the most cost
effective for your project.
If you intend to stain your corbels and wish to match an existing stain,
Maple and Alder is the wisest choice. These varieties are lighter in color and
possess a minimal grain. Apply the stain in layers until you achieve the depth
of stain you desire. Maple and Alder are the most forgiving of the varieties and
are considered to be the most user-friendly.
If you wish to stain White Hardwood, be aware that this hardwood is less dense
than the wood varieties. This quality allows the wood to absorb stain the most
extensively, so the utmost care must be taken with the application. Vigilance is
required when applying the stain, since any overlapping of layers will show
clearly. With White Hardwood, you must work quickly and carefully.
If you wish to match existing Cherry cabinet components finished in a
clear varnish, select a Cherry corbel and finish it in clear varnish as well.
The same rule can be applied for matching Oak finished in a clear varnish.