Understanding Live Edge Furniture, Why it’s Awesome and So Darn Trendy

Using Salvaged, Reclaimed, or Rough-Cut Wood Furniture in Your Home

You see it in all the fancy furniture showrooms these days – so much so, that it seems to have taken the decorating world by storm. That gorgeous slab of warm wood on a base, polished to a lustrous sheen, asking for spare decoration or a series of wonderful dishes to be laid out upon it. But the twist is: one or more of its edges has been left rough or completely unfinished, looking very much like the live tree it came from some time ago. Of course, bringing elements of the natural world into the interior of the home (or conference room at your local startup) is nothing new. Rustic, or lodge-style interior decorating often uses rough-hewn timber-framed furniture, raw unfinished stone, and log furniture to bring a bit of the outside indoors. The style gives the homeowner, their family, and guests a real opportunity to settle into the comfort of a bygone era. Live edge furniture does this by incorporating something unfinished into an otherwise-finished piece of furniture. And while the wood used to create live edge furniture may not have ever been selected for a conventional application in cabinetry or as a part of a piece of furniture, it is this less than perfect nature that makes it all the more beautiful. The “History” of Live Edge Furniture Live edge furniture has likely been a part of interior decorating for some of us for a very long time. Making fine, fully finished pieces of furniture was typically beyond the skills of most people making their own furniture for much of the history of our species having interiors to decorate. Japanese furniture making tradition has also incorporated unfinished or live-edge pieces throughout its history. In fact, it was a Japanese woodworker, George Nakashima, who introduced the use of live edge wood to American furniture making in the nineteen forties with his award-winning furniture designs for a couple of American furniture companies. In these collaborations, he utilized wood specifically selected for the beauty of its natural imperfections, and left it in an unfinished state to highlight these qualities. The Few Drawbacks of the Live Edge Live edge furniture is not for every person and not for every home. Unfinished edges can make a piece of furniture less usable, and even dangerous in some contexts. For instance, the splinters available from a piece of unfinished, live edge wood can be a hazard for children. Additionally, live edge furniture can collect dust that can be difficult to remove. The Natural Rustic Beauty of Live Edge Furniture Live edge furniture, whether it is crafted from slabbed trees, reclaimed wood from salvaged architecture, or from unfinished timber, has a natural rustic beauty that is sure to compliment any home or interior decorating style. Live edge furniture is especially appealing in rustic decorated interiors, adding an additional component of the natural world in all its raw splendor to the other elements of the lodge look. It’s surprising what leaving a single edge of a tabletop can do to bring an entire room to life, in addition to—or in spite of—the other decoration throughoutin the room. In the end, a live edge coffee table, dining room table, bar top, or other pieces of furniture can be a great additions to your home, whether or not you’re decorating in the rustic style.
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