Six Things to Know Before You Buy Corbels

Six Things to Know Before You Buy Corbels

A Corbels Shopping Checklist:

1. Corbels: Choosing a style

What do you like? What is your style preference? Corbels come 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, we offer corbels and wood brackets with clean and simple lines to corbels with elegant 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 evident. The flat platform on the top of the corbel is a convenient place to set a shelf on or support a countertop 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 you intend 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, 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.

multiple sizes availableregular, wide $91.06$317.72
multiple sizes availablelarge, regular $115.00$852.30
multiple sizes availabledeep, regular $572.32$1,629.67

3. Choosing the right sized corbels

If you intend to use the corbel as a means of support, such as underneath a countertop, 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 critical 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 critical 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 the overhang.

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 abut the corbel, the sides of the corbel should be flat so it will be flush with the cabinets.

4. Mind corbels materials!

At, 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.

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.

Our hand-carved wood corbels are made from the finest, premium selected American and European Hardwoods. The beautiful, bright, 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 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, 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 beautiful, 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.

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