Fluted legs tend toward a more formal statement that can be very appealing on dining table legs or sofa legs. Even kitchen island legs can reflect refinement when fluted. The fluting also reinforces the verticality of the leg and adds a pleasant note of refinement. Fluted legs are a useful choice when working on projects in which you want to create a historical reference. They will lend themselves easily to work in which you want the feeling of finer styles of eighteenth and nineteenth century English furniture as a fluted leg would be seen on examples of Chippendale, Hepplewhite and Sheraton pieces. In order to create a strong sense of these styles the usual wood choices would be mahogany, walnut or cherry.
Later periods such as the Edwardian period are also associated with the use of fluted legs. In French furniture, fluted legs are strongly associated with Louis XVI styles in which they would receive gesso base followed by a painted finish and occasionally some light gilding. Italian pieces also include fluted legs with painted finishes but more typically in a polychrome painted finish. Scandinavian antique pieces may also be replicated correctly by including fluted legs. These pieces would also receive painted finishes with the most typical color range being grays and blue-grays in matte or chalky finish.
Fluted legs have historically served on a wide range of pieces including tables, chairs, settees and sofas as well as for desks and even bedsteads. Less frequently seen pieces also use this style of leg. The magazine-combination-book rack that is known as a Canterbury is a charming and useful piece that can be reproduced successfully with a fluted leg.
Another piece that presents attractively with a fluted leg is the standard tea table. Several styles of drop-leaf table also show very nicely with this style of leg. Although more usually associated with a square tapered leg, a few Sheraton pieces are known to have been produced with turned and fluted legs. In particular there is a very fine example of a later Sheraton sideboard that sports this leg as well as some of the sofas produced by Sheraton just prior to the period of Empire furniture. There are also examples of tri-foot small tables known as candle stands on which the single central support is a fluted leg.
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