7 Creative Uses of Corbels

Posted by Patterncut on 6/26/2014 to Ornaments, Corbels, Medallions & More

Corbels were historically made of bricks or blocks that were partially embedded in a wall with the other end projecting out from the face to support the weight of a horizontal protrusion, a function that continues to this day in supporting eaves, mantels, kitchen countertops, cabinets and cupboards, to name a few. Over time, corbelling evolved from being simply architectural to ornamental. The modern twist on corbels takes on the latter form albeit retaining its original function as a source of support, and then some.

Below are some of the more artful uses of corbels that you may want to consider for your next home project.

1. Camouflage drain pipes. There's no doing away with drain pipes if you want your house to retain its structural integrity. But they can be an eyesore if not well constructed. Conceal them and add a touch of style to your eaves with ornamental corbels.

2. Fashion a bedside table. Attach a corbel to a wall beside your bed and nail a table on top. The size of the corbel will determine the size of your table, so decide whether you want to use it for a bedside lamp, a stack of books or interesting bric-a-bracs.

3. Frame a wide entryway. A large door may make your place look spacious, but if it's just a rectangular opening with no adornments, it may sport an unfinished look. Polish it a bit by adding a pair of thick and wide corbels on either side to give it a finished touch without reducing the size of your doorway. If the rest of your crown moldings come in clean or angular lines, choose corbels that are elaborately carved to add architectural interest. Do the same for windows that have no other architectural feature that makes them stand out. Others even install shelves across and above the windows to utilize limited space and create contrast and additional detail.

4. Install an open coat storage. Space a pair of corbels about four feet apart, attach to the wall, secure a closet rod between the corbels, top off with a table, and you have an instant coat rack. Corbels that come in a thicker variety are sometimes crafted into open shelves by installing the corbel sideways.

5. Use as a plant hanger. Add visual interest to your overhead decoration with a plant hanger made of corbels. This is particularly useful when hanging a plant outdoors and you couldn't figure out where to suspend the plants without them looking forced into the architecture.

6. Repurpose as bookends or candle shelves. A thick piece of wooden carved corbel attached to the wall makes an instant decorative candle shelf, while a pair of finely carved corbels can be repurposed bookends.

7. Craft an artsy headboard. Recycle your old door and give it a new look with a pair of elaborately carved corbels. Attach the corbels, with the detail facing out front, to both ends of the door laid sideways and you have a one-of-a-kind headboard.

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