Cabriole legs represent an enduring design that can be equally at home in formal or informal furniture found in either modern or traditional settings. Primarily recognized for sensual and appealing curves, cabriole legs are generally associated with Continental furniture; a logical association as the design originated in France but was quickly adopted by Italian and English cabinetmakers. As rule of thumb, scale will dictate whether work done with cabriole legs will have a rustic appearance or sophisticated feeling. A heavier or larger scaled leg will create provincial appearance such as that associated with French farm tables. More slender or delicate cabriole legs will add sophistication such as when seen in traditional and charmingly diminutive Parisian bedside tables.
Selecting a wood type can also go far in helping to build on a theme. Mahogany would be appropriate for a small scaled but high-styled table with English references. Something dark such as black walnut in a heavier scale would create the feeling of a farm kitchen in Normandy. The same weight of scale in a light finish on hickory would seem very much at home in a South-of-France setting while a table with painted cabriole legs and a raw wood top would feel appropriate for a provincial Italian look. The simplicity and absence of obtrusive ornamentation contributes to the successful use of cabriole legs in projects designed for contemporary settings.
Coffee tables, dining tables and end tables with cabriole legs and finished with popular dark finishes such as cappuccino provide the perfect complement to understated upholstery. Cabriole legs make very smart coffee tables and end tables but they also lend an admirable counterbalance to the rectangular shape of a dining table.
Although cabriole legs are associated with sophisticated furniture design heavier or thicker legs in lighter finishes can create nice farm style table with French provincial references. Cabriole legs do not necessarily have to be situated in a room with only legs of the same type. In fact a single large piece with a cabriole leg will be better than submerging a room with this style. And used this way, a cabriole leg can relieve an abundance of vertical and horizontal lines caused by straight legs and flat surfaces.
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