The legs of a wooden table are the silent custodians of strength and style.
Much like the roots of a tree, they ground the table, providing stability and resilience.
Each style, from the simplest to the most complex, carries its own allure.
They subtly influence the aesthetic aura of the table, often reflecting the taste and style of its owner.
Laying the Foundations: An In-Depth Guide to Choosing Legs for Your Wooden Table
Knowing Your Timber
When it comes to wooden table legs, one of the first things to consider is the type of wood. Each variety brings its own unique personality to the table. This can have a major influence on the overall aesthetics of your furniture.
- Hardwoods such as oak, maple and walnut are known for their strength and durability. They're often used for larger, more robust furniture pieces.
- Softwoods, like pine, are more affordable and lighter, but also less durable. They're great for smaller, occasional pieces of furniture.
Note: The type of wood used for the table top should match or complement the legs for a harmonious look.
It's All About the Shape
When choosing table legs, their shape is an important aspect to think about. This will largely depend on your personal style and the design of the table top.
- Straight Legs: These are a classic choice. They're simple, elegant and suitable for a range of furniture styles.
- Tapered Legs: Tapered legs have a touch of sophistication. They're perfect for mid-century modern or minimalist furniture designs.
- Turned Legs: These legs are more ornate, often with intricate details. Ideal for more traditional or rustic furniture styles.
- Pedestal Legs: These provide a single, central support for the table top. This style often gives a touch of grandeur to the table design.
A Question of Size
Size is another crucial factor.
- Height: The table's intended use will dictate the height of the legs. A coffee table, for example, requires shorter legs, while a dining table requires longer ones.
- Thickness: The size and weight of the table top, as well as the overall design of the table, will determine the thickness of the legs. A heavy table top needs sturdy legs for support, while a lighter top can get by with slimmer legs.
Form and Function
It's easy to get carried away by the style of table legs, but it's equally important to consider their functionality.
- Stability: The legs should provide a stable base for the table, preventing any wobbling or tilting.
- Load-bearing capacity: The legs should be able to support the weight of the table top and any additional load.
- Compatibility: The legs should be compatible with the table top in terms of fixing methods and alignment.
Once the practicalities are dealt with, it's time to think about aesthetics.
- Style: The style of the legs should enhance the overall design of the table. It's possible to mix styles for an eclectic look, but the legs should still complement the table top.
- Finish: The finish of the legs can dramatically change the look of the table. Options include natural, painted, stained, or varnished.
- Colour: The colour of the legs can either match or contrast with the colour of the table top.
While this guide is primarily about wooden table legs, it's worth noting that other materials can be used as well.
- Metal: Metal legs provide a modern, industrial look and are often used in combination with wooden table tops.
- Plastic: Plastic legs are lightweight and affordable. They come in a variety of colours and styles, making them a versatile choice for certain designs.
Decoding the Terminology
The furniture industry uses specific terms to describe table legs. Here's a quick rundown of some common terms you might encounter:
- Sabot: This is a metal cap fitted to the end of a table leg. It can provide a contrasting detail and also help protect the leg from damage.
- Fluting: This is a type of decoration found on some table legs, featuring vertical grooves running down the leg.
- Cabriole: This is a style of table leg that curves outward at the top and inward at the bottom, ending in an ornamental foot.
- Bun Foot: This is a type of foot for a table leg that resembles a slightly squashed ball or ‘bun'.