null Skip to Content
exterior home design

What Are Corbels?

What Are Corbels?

Sandblasted CorbelLet’s start with a definition, for those who may be new to home remodeling and architecture lingo.

Corbel: \ˈkȯr-bəl\ A bracket of stone, wood, brick, or other building material, projecting from the face of a wall and generally used to support a cornice or arch.

These right-angled supports, most often seen along roof lines, have been used since the late centuries BCE, when China first introduced the great-granddaddy of today’s corbels (called a dougong) to hold extra weight and maintain buildings’ structural integrity. And, since way back in the day, corbels have added a little extra pizzazz to said buildings’ exterior. In Classical architecture this meant ornate marble molding, and during the French Gothic period gargoyles became all the rage.

Today, however, with feats of modern technology and engineering — basically improved man-made building materials and tools—the necessity of corbels has fallen by the wayside. The extra exterior supports just aren’t needed to hold your roof up anymore.

But (lucky for us at that doesn’t mean you can’t take a cue from the days of old and use corbels to add some personality to your home.

Using Corbels for Decoration

Here are some ideas to inspire your decoration:

Exterior Design

As mentioned before, the most common way to make the most out of your corbels is to use them to support (or at least pretend to support) your roof’s ledge. Choose the design and style that goes best with your home’s vibe—whether this means rough sawn wood to enhance a rustic look, or carved Cyprus for a more Victorian touch—and go to town.

You can also place your corbels below windowsills, around your garage, or fit them into other unique architectural nooks your home may have. Check out these photos for more ideas.

Interior Details

Continue your design inside. One way to do this is to use the corbels as finishing accents to your ceiling beams. Simply attach the corbels to the wall at the vertex of wall and ceiling. This way your beams don’t end abruptly, but rather come to a smooth and seamless finish. Here is an example of corbels used in this way.

Decorative wooden trusses in a living room with corbels attached to the ends.

Corbels can also be added around a mantel, window interior, shelves, window curtain rods, cabinets or any other permanent fixture that needs a little extra flair.

Of course, we have a zillion—okay, that’s an exaggeration, we have many—styles of corbels to choose from. Make sure you click through to check them all out, and then write back with your thoughts.

Here’s the now much anticipated (I’m sure) link to the corbels for sale on our website.