In 1950 when my parents married, buying furniture that was all matched was an ideal. People at that time grew up during the depression and had lived through the Second World War and times were tough. If you could buy a full room of matched furniture at the time, it said that you now had some money, and things were looking up. But, that was then, and opinions on decorating have changed. What was once considered fashionable, is now looked at as unimaginative and boring, or like you went to a furniture store and just said “I’ll take all of that”, and you never gave the decorating of your room a second thought again. This blog post shows you the different shapes of legs used on furniture, and covers how easy it is to mix things up when decorating a room.
The above three illustrations show a variety of different styles of feet that are often seen on furniture with exposed legs; they are classified as Spool, Bun and Tapered. The spool, bun, and tapered foot is often seen on sofas and chairs, but you will also see those three shapes used as part of the design of end-tables and coffee tables, dressers and chests, the feet on bedroom furniture, and some dining room pieces.
The above illustration shows an assortment of traditional and modern styled Straight legs seen on furniture. The straight styled leg can be seen on some sofas, on chairs with exposed legs, coffee tables and end tables, dining room tables, chests, benches, buffets, sideboards, and beds and dressers.
The above illustrations show both traditional and modern styles of Curved legs seen on occasional chairs ( similar to dining room chairs, with or without arms), wing chairs, dining room tables, as well as the legs of some coffee tables and end tables, chests, buffets and credenzas.
The final grouping of furniture legs to look at are an assortment of Straight and Curved styled feet that can appear on chests, dressers, cabinets, secretary desks, armoires, etc.
Working with Legs and Feet
Now that you have examined the illustrations showing an assortment of different styled legs and feet, both curved and straight, it’s time to decorate with them.
When decorating a room, diversity creates interest. There is nothing worse than a room filled with many exposed legged chairs, tables, chests, etc, where all the legs are in one style. When decorating a room try to have leg and feet styles (straight, curved, bun, spool or tapered) appear at least two times in that space, three times if the room is bigger, and then go onto one of the other leg styles.
Don’t put things with matching feet or leg styles next to each other, instead space them apart. You want to move leg and foot styles around a room, not isolate them in one space; that way you are keeping the eye moving.
After you have selected a pair of chairs with, let’s say, curved legs, a couple of end-tables with straight legs, and a sofa and chest with bun feet, go back into the straight and curved leg categories and find other straight and curved leg styles that are compatible with what you already have, and add them if space permitted.
One more thing to think about when mixing up leg styles in a room... You don’t want every piece of furniture in that room to have exposed legs, even if they are different styled. You want to have a sofa, or chair(s), here or there that has a Kick-Pleat flounce, Box Pleat flounce, etc, which is nothing more than a sofa or chair with upholstery fabric that goes right down to the floor. The chairs or sofa with covered legs will be a kind of calm spot, or place for the eye to relax and not be so stimulated as it looks at all the different styles of legs and feet in the room.
Now let’s look at the above drawing, it’s the cover illustration for this post before I colored it. First notice how the sofa has a tapered foot. Secondly look at how the two end-tables are not matched for style; one has straight legs, and the other is round with curved legs. Third, notice how the two chairs that face each other are matched with spool styled feet. Next look at the coffee table with its curved legs and finally the ottoman with its bun feet. If more of the room were shown, the bun feet of the ottoman and the tapered feet seen on the sofa would be repeated again in another part of the space if space allowed.
The final illustration for this post shows a sofa and ottoman with bun feet, the two chairs flanking the sofa have claw and ball feet, which would be viewed under the curved leg styles seen in the illustrations, the matched end-tables have straight legs and the coffee table tapered legs.
The above two photos show a small part of the great room which is in the Party Barn at nationally known interior decorator Bunny Williams and her husband John Rosselli’s Falls Village, Connecticut estate. What I want you to see here is how many different styles of furniture have been put together in that one room; there are things that could be considered modern, transitional, traditional and really antique. The diversity of pieces gives a lot of visual interest to the room, but the look is held together by the color of the off-white upholstery fabrics used on a lot of the furniture and the red which is an accent color in the space. Also notice how the sofa, with covered legs and the upholstered chair seen in the first photo, on the left, with its covered legs provides a bit of calm set against all the different kinds of legged furniture seen in the room.
Now that I’ve covered the basics of mixing up leg styles when decorating a room, I want you to start looking through decorating magazines like Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, Veranda, Elle Decor, Southern Home, etc. Go to book stores and page through the fancy coffee table books written by the famous decorators in the design world and see how they handled things. Look at Pinterest or Google search the name of any famous decorator that you know, followed by the word Instagram, and if they have a site you will most likely see many things that they have done.
I hope that this article has been inspiring, happy decorating to you all and don’t forget to look at the companion posts that follow, as you might find something there that will interest you.
Companion posts on Fred Gonsowski Garden Home,com…..
Arranging Living Room Furniture, so Sofas talk to Chairs, Like the Pros do 9-7-2012,
Arranging furniture TWELVE different ways in the Same Room 9-15-2012,
Arranging furniture in a 12 foot wide by 24 foot long Living Room 2-5-2014,
Arranging furniture around a Fireplace in the Corner of a Room 9-29-2012,
When buying Living Room furniture, FORGET the LOVESEAT, buy two Wing, Club or Occasional Chairs instead 10-13-2012,
Arranging furniture in a 15 foot wide by 25 foot long Bedroom 1-24-2016,
Floating (Arranging) furniture in a 20 foot long by 20 foot wide Living Room 1-29-2017,
The Right height of Table Lamp for your End Table 5-19-2011,
Matching the Right shape End table with a Table Lamp 1-12-2014,
The answer to…”Can you put a Floor Lamp next to a Sofa?” 10-4-2012,
Interior Decorating with ACCENT Lamps 12-5-2012,
Interior Decorating with TABLE Lamps 12-12-2012,
IInterior Decorating with BUFFET lamps 12-19-2012,
Arranging your Decorative Accessories (knickknacks and Collectables) 6-7-2011,
A Bridge unites Tablescapes and Wall Decor 6-10-2011,
Arranging Decorative Accessories on a Sofa Table, Buffet, Sideboard or Credenza 3-10-2015,
Picking and Hanging the Right size Picture or Mirror over your Fireplace 6-23-2011,
It’s Easy to Make a Grouping of Pictures 6-29-2011,
Making an Interesting Arrangement of Pictures 7-8-2011,
It’s Easy to hang Pictures up on the wall 7-17-2011,
Hanging Pictures around a Room 8-3-2011,
Hanging Pictures over a Sofa 9-12-2011,
Step-by-Step instructions for Hanging a Gallery Wall 2-15-2015,
Hanging a collection of Plates/Dishes up on the wall 1-19-2013
Looking at Patterns used in Interior Decorating on Fabrics, Drapes, Wallpaper and Carpeting 3-10-2012,
Interior Decorating..Looking at the Different sizes of Patterns used on Wallpaper and fabric 3-20-2012,
Mixing and Matching Fabric and Wallpaper Patterns 4-13-2012,
When Decorating a Beige room think Tones, Texture and Sculptural interest 3-16-2011,
Paint a room a Dark color, then add Light accents 3-27-2011,
Color Theory…When Interior Decorating a room, Remember Wood is a color too 3-9-2013,
How to pick the Perfect Gray Paint..A Popular Color Choice of the Moment 2-15-2014,
How to pick Paint Colors that go with an Oriental Rug/Carpet 2-21-2016.