Most famous for appearing as gargoyles and other creatures on the side of churches and cathedrals in Paris, corbels can be found on medieval castles as well as modern-day homes. The word "corbel" comes from an old French word meaning crow, referring to the corbel's beaklike shape. The corbel was originally a structural piece built or fixed into the wall to provide the necessary support for architectural elements like beams, arches, or other components. Of course over time human need for artistic expression produced beautifully carved and sculpted corbels. Now practicality of the corbel was no longer a priority being overshadowed by the desire to have magnificent architectural detail.
Decorating with corbels isn't anything new. Their ability to provide both style and function simultaneously has secured them a spot in home design indefinitely. Today’s vast assortment of wood, stone, and composite corbels can be very plain or ornately carved just as they were centuries ago. However, they are almost exclusively used as a decorative element.
I prefer using antique wooden architectural salvage decorative elements to add interest as well as the warmth of authenticity to your home. Wonderful salvaged corbels can be found if you enjoy the treasure hunt.
This blog is designed to bring the corbel to your attention again, get you looking at architectural salvage as a means of adding sophistication to your decor, and hopefully provide some ideas for incorporating some corbels into your interiors.
There are so many different and unique style of architectural salvage corbels..........don't believe I have ever seen the same design twice.
Add some grandeur to a plain hallway with a couple of well placed corbels.
A set of stunning antique marble corbels in the iconic acanthus leaf pattern. I have one similar that I use as a door stop. The Acanthus leaf corbel's design derives from a Greek and Roman architectural ornamentation. The Acanthus trees are found in the Greek Isles. Acanthus leaf is used in an ornamental way and inspired the architecture in the past as well as today.
Incorporating one or two weathered pieces like this door and set of salvaged wooden corbels into a simple vignette will send a message of warmth and coziness.
Corbels were integral to the "gingerbread" millwork decorating Victorian-era facades from the second half of the 19th century.
Their simplicity and light airy appearance is what we find so appealing. Most corbels have just enough carving to make them charming and not overpowering.
These extra large vintage chippy white corbels are cleverly used to create a unique shelf or fireplace mantle. All types of architectural pieces and parts are being salvaged and appreciated for their beauty and design by collectors and decorators.
Here the homeowner has either found or created a very unique vintage piece for hanging bath towels using corbels and other pieces of salvage. Owning one of these pieces is like incorporating a little bit of history into your home.
There was time when only those with a passion for restoration would painstakingly weeded through salvage yards and demolition sites hunting for architectural treasures. Now many home owners are using salvage as a way to enhance their new construction projects.
Corbels are a great way to bring style and architectural structure to you kitchen. When securely anchored, corbels can prop up a mantle shelf or brace a countertop.
Strategically placed corbels will add an instant old world feel to a vintage kitchen.
Look for a pair of large salvage corbels and a long board, piece of glass, or marble slab and make an easy console or buffet. Or buy a ready made reproduction from a supplier like Restoration Hardware.
Or use corbels to add character to floating shelves.
If you like brocante (French flea market) style, then a salvage corbel or two is a must for your space.
For a great weekend project try creating a fabulous headboard made from salvage doors, mantles, etc, embellished with unique corbels of course.
Or build a great desk/vanity and use corbels for the finishing classical touch.
I use several corbels in my home. Here some of them run under my mantle appearing to give it, support. This mantle was salvaged from a historic home in central Kentucky. I also use a salvaged corbel as a doorstop.
I like to use them as a shelf for displaying a treasured object like this piece that belonged to my mother.
There is not a room in the house that can't benefit from the addition of a corbel used in some interesting way.
Breathe new life into any room with architectural salvage unique decorative elements.
Using architectural salvage remnants like columns, corbels, and stonework is the way to give your home a classical, and historical feel.
Consider a corbel if you have a space in need of embellishment.
Interior designers are using them as exciting focal points in modern as well as period homes. Styled after the corner brackets found on charming old porches, this corbel has a worn white finish that makes it perfect for a vintage vignette.
Or use one for a vintage inspired architectural feel to your mantle, bookcase, or desk.
Frame some books with a set of salvage corbels like this.
Let your imagination go and visualize how to use these salvaged treasures in your home.
To find salvaged and second-hand architectural embellishments like these great corbels, check out area salvage providers, yard sales, flea markets and the classified section of local newspapers.
And who says salvage corbels have to be used in vintage rooms or be chippy white only. Use them in bright colors and make this minor update into a major attraction.
Salvage corbels are a great way to mix antique with modern. They come in a wide variety of styles which makes it easy to express your personality.
The beauty and sophistication that these supportive structures add cannot be overlooked for use on the exterior of your homes as well.
With loads of shapes and materials of decorative shelf brackets and rustic corbels available, there is bound to be one that supports your style and needs.
Click here to see the previous post
This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer