Looking for an attractive way to provide support for your kitchen counters? Your solution probably lies among the many models of corbels and brackets available for this very purpose.
Corbels and wood brackets are architectural elements that can serve a functional role while also adding beauty to your kitchen. If your countertops are made of a heavy material such as granite or marble, corbels and brackets are absolutely essential from a structural standpoint. If your countertops are a bit lighter, corbels and brackets may only be decorative in nature.
Corbels vs. Brackets
Both corbels and brackets are pieces that protrude from a wall and are designed to support some sort of weight. In kitchens, corbels and brackets are typically used beneath countertops, islands, bar tops, and shelves.
The critical difference between corbels and brackets is their width; corbels are generally thicker than brackets. In fact, some corbels are as deep as they are wide, while brackets are often two, three or even four times as deep as wide.
Despite their dissimilar proportions, both corbels and brackets come in sizes that can accommodate even the heaviest counters (although corbels are more likely to fit this bill). And each provides homeowners with a variety of materials and styles from which to choose.
Focus on Corbels
Choosing corbels for your counters depends on factors such as these:
1) Corbels Material: Many homeowners decide to go with wood corbels or polyurethane corbels. Marble is also a standard option. Hand-carved wood corbels are generally available in a number of woods, such as maple, oak, cherry, birch, and alder. This level of flexibility is high if you’re trying to match the wood elsewhere in your kitchen. Meanwhile, polyurethane corbels are very resistant to damage and usually last quite a long time. Please keep in mind, however, that polyurethane corbels are designed for decorative purposes only.
2) Corbels Style: Corbels come in a wide range of styles, so it’s easy to find one that suits yours. Everything from simple and understated (e.g., straight lines for an essential elegance) to beautifully intricate (e.g., carvings of flowers, grapes or leaves) is at your disposal.
3) Corbels Application: When choosing corbels, you must also consider their specific application. If you need to provide support for a countertop than do not purchase polyurethane corbels. When looking at wood corbels, the critical feature to focus upon is corbel depth. Specifically, the corbel should measure between one-half and three-quarters the depth of the overhang it will support. And corbels should be spaced about three feet apart for adequate support and balance.
Focus on Brackets
These three key factors can also help determine which brackets are right for your counters:
1) Brackets Material: For homeowners in search of a purely functional solution, counter brackets come in metal and stainless steel. Iron brackets – in finishes such as bronze rust and matte black – are a definite step up from a decorative perspective. Of course, many homeowners come back to the classic look of wood brackets. As with corbels, brackets can be found in a variety of wood types, including maple, cherry, oak, and birch.
2) Brackets Style: A wide selection of brackets is available for use in kitchens of all styles. Metal and stainless steel are pretty basic in terms of design options, but iron comes in all sorts of motifs, such as flowing leaf, twisted rope, and various scrolls. Meanwhile, wood brackets often feature beautiful historical designs; popular carvings include leaf scrolls, grapes, and acanthus leaves.
3) Brackets Application: The same rule of thumb that applies to corbels also applies here: Bracket depth should be one-half to three-quarters of the depth of the overhang, depending on the weight of the counter. And like corbels, brackets should be spread about three feet apart.
A Final Word
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the corbels and brackets out there for your counters. But concentrating one by one on the three key variables – material, style, and application – can make your decision a bit easier. And remember: No matter how your kitchen is decorated, there’s a corbel or bracket that’s perfect for you.