What are Corbels and How Are They Used In A Kitchen Design and Remodel?

Corbels were created as a structural brace to reinforce architectural elements. Learn how corbels are used in kitchen design.

Corbels are an architectural element that have been around for a long long time. Originally they were created as a structural brace to reinforce architectural elements in building construction. Today, they maintain this function, but have also found a new life as beautiful decorative elements in the home.  In fact, they are a perfect way to add a functional and luxurious design element to your kitchen remodel.

Corbels are extremely versatile. They can be used as anything from room dividers to countertop supports, decorative elements, or accent pieces. Lets explore the many creative uses of corbels when designing your ultimate kitchen.

Corbel Styles

Corbels are extremely flexible in terms of design and materials. They can be a striking addition that can enhance your cabinet design, especially when they are painted or stained to match the finish of your cabinets. They come in a wide variety of styles and materials designed to fit any décor including:

Mission style – Also known as shaker, mission style corbels feature vertical lines and flat, recessed panels. Originally influenced by 18th century Spanish missions in colonial California, today they are perfect for contemporary kitchens thanks to their clean lines.

Acanthus leaf – A throwback to classic greek architecture, Acanthus leaf corbels can enhance the look of your Mediterranean design, giving your kitchen an authentic look and feel. Acanthus leaf corbels offer a time-honored and sophisticated look, especially when used to enhance the ends of your island.

Modern – These corbels don't have the details of traditional or acanthus leaf corbels but they offer a sleek look. Extending them all the way to the floor can create a stunning design element for your kitchen island and offer a seamless look perfect for your modern design.

Wrought iron – Wrought iron corbels not only look great, they offer functionality as support pieces for shelves or range hoods. They are incredibly versatile. Wrought iron is raw enough to add an edge to an industrial design, or can have curves and intricate designs making them the perfect element for Mediterranean and Spanish-style designs. In a traditional design they can offer just the detail you need to make your design pop!

How to incorporate corbels into your kitchen design

As a design element, corbels are extremely versatile and can enhance almost every element of your kitchen. Because they can be custom made in any size, shape or style and can be painted or stained to match any existing décor, they are a go to design element when decorating, updating or remodeling any kitchen. Here are a few common uses for corbels in a standard kitchen design.

Kitchen islands – Corbels add detail and visual focus. With today's trend towards open spaces and the kitchen as the heart of the home, islands are the perfect spot to add corbels as a design element. Used under the countertop overhang, or at the end of an island, corbels can transform your boring kitchen island into an elegant furniture-style piece.

Vent hoods – If you want to draw focus to your chef's stove, consider adding corbels underneath the hood to create the illusion of support. It can draw attention to your design and give your stove a larger-than-life presence in your kitchen. If you're looking for a more subtle look, you can use smaller corbels under the upper cabinets surrounding the hood and still get the effect of creating a focal point.

Shelves – Here's lies the traditional, historicaluse for corbels, as support for architectural elements! Corbels can dress up traditional shelf brackets to create a beautiful design element in even the most minimal open cabinet kitchen. They can add dimension to an otherwise stark design.

Ceilings or room dividers – In today's open concept home, kitchens are often completely free of doors and walls. Corbels can be used to define and divide the space in a subtle, yet effective way. Mount them on the ceiling near the kitchen entrance to create a boundary. The can also act as a mood-setting design element as opposed to a room divider, perfectly at home in any décor from a traditional American farmhouse design to an industrial kitchen.

Upper cabinets – Corbels can be used to accentuate one or more of your upper cabinet sets. They work perfectly with glass-paned doors. Combine them with matching end panels to create a vintage furniture feel.

Lower cabinets – Corbels can make lower cabinets pop. The best way to do this is to make one of your lowers deeper and put a corbel on either side of the filler space.

Corbels are versatile, functional design elements that can add another layer of depth to your kitchen design. Whether your decor is traditional, modern, contemporary, or almost any other style, there is a custom designed corbel to suit your needs. They can be painted or stained to match your existing cabinets and can truly work to define your space. Speak with your designer or design/build contractor to learn more about how you can incorporate corbels into your new kitchen.

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