Natural Beauty: Live-Edge Furniture for Every Room
Live-edge pieces bring a uniquely organic element into any space, showcasing the wood's natural edge, grain and intrinsic characteristics.
Photo By: Design 4 Corners
Photo By: Bob Narod, Courtesy of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath
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Photo By: Photography by Bob Narod for Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath
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Photo By: Whit Preston; Laura Roberts Interior Designs
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Bring the Outdoors In
"I think people love to be reminded that their table or bar top is an actual piece of wood from a tree," says Elaina Samaniego Myers of Design 4 Corners. "The rawness of the live edge reminds us of its origins and tells the story of the tree."
"I wanted to incorporate a raw and exposed material in a modern way," Elaina says. "This particular villa [in Bali] was designed to be indoor and outdoor so there is no real distinction between the two. Adding a live-edge dining table was a direct way to connect to the outside."
"Using live-edge wood materials in a project that otherwise contains sharp, angular surfaces brings a soft, organic component to the design," says designer Lauren Levant. "Using wood as a countertop surface can be done even in a kitchen space, when the wood is protected appropriately."
To add personality and texture to the neutral, bohemian office space, designer Vanessa Matsalla used two live-edge wood topped desks in her design. The rich, honey color of the desktops brings welcome warmth to the bright space. "You can combine the look of live edge with so many different styles and it always adds depth," Vanessa says.
One of a Kind
Use live-edge wood slabs for a more rustic countertop, like in this Atlanta bathroom designed by Karen Hott Interiors. You can find live-edge countertops for bathroom vanities via online artisan marketplaces. You also can salvage wood from fallen trees and work with a craftsman to get the finish you want, depending on your budget.
"Using live-edge decoratively in furniture and mantel pieces is also something I enjoy doing as a designer," says Lauren Levant. "This is part of the general movement towards transitional, warmly modern interiors. Live edge lends itself to softening the lines of otherwise contemporary spaces and appeals to people with a variety of personal aesthetics."
A Lived-In Look
A live-edge slab of wood has been cut to fit this space and create a work-station perfect for working, writing or a kid-friendly art center. "Even the mainstream furniture companies are offering live-edge case goods," says designer Vanessa Matsalla. "I think people are starting to appreciate natural, lived-in looking interiors rather than over-the-top staged and perfect."
Stark and Striking
In this contemporary space, a live-edge wooden bench in front of the fireplace makes quite a statement. The modern stone fireplace is a wonderful juxtaposition with the bench's rustic features. The resulting look is both striking and inviting.
Organic and Modern
"I wanted to break up the formality of the room with a more organic piece," says Susan Jamieson of Bridget Beari Designs, about this live-edge coffee table. "It is the beauty of wood that attracts people to the live-edge look. It is both organic and modern at the same time," Susan says. This beautiful and natural piece of wood plays off the finished wooden bookshelves, fireplace, and end tables.
Salvaged live-edge wood was used to craft these custom bookshelves in a modern beach home. "Life-edge furniture is more desirable than mass-produced, ready-made furniture," says designer Sarah Barnard. "Each live-edge piece has a unique character, brings with it its own history, and contributes to a personalized living space like no other."
Rustic and Rugged
"The house is situated on an alpaca farm in a rural area, just outside the city of Redmond, WA.," says designer Sheila Mayden. "While the homeowners enjoy modern amenities, they wanted the house to feel very much tied to its natural setting, so that the interior reflected the beauty and rugged quality of the surrounding landscape."
Sheila says, "additionally, the live-edge wood has such a nice, tactile quality. You see it and want to touch it! I think it makes you more aware of the materials you are surrounded with, and sort of forces you to slow down and appreciate nature."
"Incorporating nature in design is always beneficial," Sarah Barnard says. "Visual connections to the outdoors help to soothe our minds and encourage rest. Sculptural wood forms are naturally luxurious and create sensory richness."
"I look for interesting shapes and colors when selecting a piece for a live-edge project," says designer Lauren Levant.
"The outer perimeter of the tree, which is preserved in a live-edge project, is the most interesting in terms of its shape and often its color with the sap wood intact on the outer edge. It often creates a color difference from the hardwood at the center of the tree."
Work of Art
The gorgeous live-edge coffee table is the star of this living room. "When you incorporate a live-edge piece into your space, you not only have a beautiful, tactile piece of nature, but you also have a work of art," says designer Sheila Mayden. "It instantly becomes a focal point in the room."
A Natural Touch
Next to the bed, a live-edge nightstand brings a gorgeous, natural elegance to the bedroom. "The main reason live-edge furniture was chosen for this project was because it is an opportune way to bring nature into the home," says designer Barbara Vail. "Each piece is unique in its beauty and flaws, which makes for a truly organic element."
A massive live-edge table with a tufted leather bench on one side and black dining chairs on the other creates a surprisingly cozy dining area. "Celebrating wood in its natural state connects us with the environment and elevates nature to the level of an art form," says designer Lauren Levant.
Natural and Unique
Crisp white walls provide a clean, fresh backdrop for a live-edge dining table with its unexpected warmth and rusticity. "Live-edge furniture celebrates the inherent beauty of natural trees in a way that traditional furniture cannot," says designer Lauren Levant. "We’re reminded of the original nature of the material before it reaches the hands of the artisan."
Make It Work
"My client was moving from a huge house in the suburbs to a much smaller house in the city, and had an enormous live-edge dining table that wouldn’t fit in the house, so we decided to cut it down and use it as the kitchen island," says designer Kerra Michele. "It was perfect because it added a much-needed organic element to what was otherwise a sterile white space."
As seen on Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna Gaines created this rustic design for the whole family to enjoy. A live-edge mantel piece mounted on a stone fireplace complements the rustic design and, along with a log end table, helps to warm up the space.
"New builds and fresh renovations very often mean homes lose so much of their character and architectural detail," says designer Kerra Michele. "By using natural live-edge finishes in shelving, bar counters, dining tables, benches, headboards, and fireplace mantles—just to name a few—you’re able to infuse much-needed warmth and organic architectural elements into empty spaces. Humans always feel comfortable surrounded by nature, and bringing these live-edge woods into your home helps bring those outdoor elements inside."
"This u-shaped kitchen had lots of huge commercial-grade appliances in a very small space, so I used live-edge floating shelves and a live-edge bar counter to offset the coldness of all the stainless steel and copper that was exposed in the kitchen," says designer Kerra Michele.