Design Ideas > The Legs Have It

The Legs Have It


Feet First || Stylish feet and legs support the look and function of your favorite furniture

Feet First || Stylish feet and legs support the look & function of your favorite furniture

When it comes time to select furniture or redesign your rooms, you may not think much about feet and legs, but these details play an important part in the look and function of your furniture. You’ve probably seen or have traditional-style furniture supported by bracket feet, bun feet, square block feet, or other styles, maybe with turned details. And, you’ve likely seen antiques with cabriole (Queen Anne) legs, ball-and-claw feet, spool (bobbin) legs, and classic fluted legs. Many of these classics appear in new interpretations along with more modern styles like metal hairpin legs or simple tapered square legs and feet. One good design approach is to include furniture pieces with different leg and feet styles to give your room visual intrigue, and balance. For example, you could anchor a living room with a sofa that features short bun feet with accent chairs that feature longer fluted square legs. Mixing different feet and leg styles is encouraged, and keeps your rooms from looking stale. There may be times when you want to include pieces with no visible feet or legs because you want the furniture’s upholstery to be more of the focal point.

Unexpected combinations can create the most memorable two-tone furniture pieces.

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Simply Modern || Most modern furniture pieces lean toward simple legs and feet with square tapered shapes, sometimes in atypical colors and finishes like greys or metallics. Many of today’s modern pieces take their cue from mid-century styles like black hairpin metal legs, sleek round pedestal bases or splayed tapered legs with no feet.

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Fancy Footwork || Elevate your furniture pieces into works of art with elegantly carved or turned legs and feet. Classical details like acanthus leaves, Greek keys, fluted columns, paneled carvings, and moldings can add artistic beauty to chairs, tables, servers, and accents. Some vintage furniture – even new vintage-inspired pieces – will feature decorative carvings with wood inlays, painted surfaces or a mix of materials, such as a stool with turned wood legs ending in a brass metal overlay, and ball-and-claw feet with the ball in glass. Many of today’s rustic industrial-style furniture pieces rest on large wheel casters in place of legs and feet to add character, as well as easy mobility.

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The Classics || Classic furniture legs stand the test of time, giving your pieces sturdy support, character, and presence. One of the most popular styles with many variations is turned legs, found on everything from tables and chairs to beds and nightstands. These legs feature simple carvings traditionally turned on a lathe with gently rounded curves. Bracket feet are also frequently seen on bedroom furniture, including beds, dressers, chests, nightstands, and bookcases. More formal living room furniture might feature Queen Anne legs, spider legs or ball-and-claw feet for the finishing touch. One thing to keep in mind is if your furniture sits upon bare hardwood floors, the legs and feet will be more noticeable, whereas if they’re on a patterned area rug, they’ll likely be more discreet.

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