Beautiful corbels are vastly under-utilized architectural elements these days. If one needs to display or support a heavy item, such as a sculpture, stylish support from wood corbels or wood brackets is a necessity. Although less obvious today, the beauty and sophistication that these supportive structures add cannot be overlooked. Let your imagination go and visualize these supportive pieces in any area of your home.
A few ideas: In the kitchen, these ornaments are commonplace, although it may not seem obvious. Strategic placement is critical in supporting counters or islands, but they don’t need to be boring. Place an ornately carved wood corbel on each end, or several in a row, to support the top. This works beautifully with marble or granite countertops but can work with any well-made surface. Even cabinets get an upgrade by the strategic addition of these elegant supports.
Fireplace mantels are also among the most common locations for these ornate supports. And, there is a good reason for it. Hundreds of years ago, the average home contained an ample interior space – virtually a single room under a roof. Cooking was done at the hearth, and the occupants slept near the heat in the winter. So, it was situated near the center of the house as the only source for heat.
Over time, it also became the focal point of the structure, and for the gentry, the fireplace became a reflection of status, becoming more ornate, built with columns and pilasters or corbels with intricate designs carved on them. Your fireplace can be such a showpiece, as well. Whether your fireplace mantel is massive and ornate or more modest, the use of these beautiful supports will completely change the look of any hearth.
Any threshold or entryway can be improved by the tasteful application of a single corbel in the center or a pair on either side, especially if the entryway is arched. However, the same strategy can be used in entryways that are more modern in design. Wood brackets can work here as well, supporting a shelf that holds old books, plants or other pieces at higher than eye-level.
An ample wall space begs for striking design, and a corbel “table” might be just the thing. A corbel table is a row of these decorative supports, either placed right next to each other or spaced a distance apart, with a shelf or other platform placed atop the table. The drama created by this collection is impossible to miss!
Simple in design, ornate and even fanciful, wood brackets and corbels can give any room a warm, casual feeling, an air of formal elegance or anything in between, depending on the style you choose. The design options for using these decorative supports are as numerous as the styles you can dream up.