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Why Table Legs are Important to your Design
You probably don’t spend much time thinking about tables and table leg design, but there are so many types of tables, you may not realize how important furniture legs are to your interior design when considering their role in the functionality of the space. There are many types of tables, one for every purpose: coffee tables, end tables, accent tables, dinning tables, patio tables, board room & conference room tables, and so many others. Tables can be just much decorative as they are functional, and one way to spruce up your design is using beautiful metal dining table legs.
Furniture Legs and Table Legs do more than hoist up the table; they set the tone for the design and give the piece its unique identity and purpose. Choosing the right table legs is important not only to ensure that you are providing enough strength and stability for the intended use of the furniture, but also to add value and guarantee the overall quality.
Tables are among the most used furniture pieces in any interior and they are usually the centerpiece of the room. Thus, choosing the right metal coffee table legs requires taking a step back and taking a broader approach in thinking of the overall interior style and purpose. There are a lot of styles out there to choose from, but which one are you trying to achieve? Which is your favorite? Or which style fits your interior design? Whether traditional, contemporary, or wildly original and unique, the right table legs will really bring your design together.
Picking Table LegsTable Height
The height of your table will pretty much determine what it is to be used for. What kind of table are you looking for? Work desk? Dining Table? Standing height work bench? Identifying the purpose of your desk will aid in determining the proper height. For instance, a regular dining table is usually 30 inches high while coffee tables are more like 16 inches to 18 inches. Work desks can run a little lower or a little higher depending on who will be using the desk, but typically run about 28” to 30” high. Paying attention to these details will guarantee the table has the perfect height and the right legs to match.
Picking Table LegsLeg thickness and weight
For this part you have to consider the tabletop. Thin tabletops made of glass or thin stone pair well with thinner, more delicate metal bench legs (assuming they are within the weight capacity of the legs). Thicker tabletops call for a sturdier and thicker leg to fit the design and to add more support. Be sure to factor in how much weight each table leg supports. If you are building a table with a really thick wood top you have to make sure the legs can support all the weight, plus any added weight that may go on top of it. So always look for the total weight each leg can handle. The best table designs have a nice, harmonious relationship between the custom top and the legs that fits the style and the demands for usage.
So how many legs do you need? You might think that all tables have FOUR legs, one for each corner of the table. Makes sense, but that is not always the case. Depending on the design and the size of the table, you may even get away with two legs if they are dual legs or have additional supports adding to the structural integrity. Or suppose you have a peninsula table coming off the wall or off the edge of a larger table or countertop – that may only require one leg even. Or you can open up a whole new set of options when dealing with cubes or cylinders to accommodate large tops.
Cubes and cylinder bases are a simple minimalist table base solution that can still serve as a bold statement piece in any room. Use it right in the middle under a square or round top or use multiple bases for large oval or rectangular tables like board room or conference room tables. Our cubes and cylinders are available in different sizes and finishes and are made from the highest quality steel. As a rule of thumb, the base needs to be at least half the size of the top it’s supporting (a 24” dia top would need at least a 12” dia base for instance). Made to order to your exact specifications.
When ordering as a set, it takes some of the guesswork out of specifying parts. This table leg set is connected by a center spine with two dual legs on either end. You can never go wrong with this one – it’s easy to put together, it’s durable for all light duty tops with a 200 lb weight capacity, and it has an ultra-modern feel with a statuesque display.
It’s a problem as old as civilization: the wobbly table. You may have thought your only recourse against this scourge is a hastily folded cocktail napkin stuffed under the offending leg. If so, take heart, because mathematicians have recently proved a more elegant solution. Just rotate the table.
The intuitive argument, which dates back at least to a 1973 Scientific American column by Martin Gardner, is straightforward. Consider a square table with four equally long legs. Any three of the legs must be able to rest on the floor simultaneously, as a tripod does. Assume the floor undulates smoothly and the fourth leg hovers above it.
Now imagine turning the table about its center while keeping the black metal dining table legs grounded, or balanced. Once the table has rotated by 90 degrees, the wobbly leg must lie below the floor. (If you do not see why, imagine pushing down equally on the wobbly leg and a neighboring leg until the neighbor sinks below the floor and the wobbly leg touches down.) And so, at some point along the wobbly leg’s arc, it has to hit a spot on which it can rest. As simple as this argument may sound, however, proof was a long time coming.
The first serious mathematical inroad against table wobbling seems to have occurred in the late 1960s with Roger Fenn, a PhD student at the University of London. One day Fenn and his graduate adviser ended up at a coffee shop faced with—you guessed it—an unsteady table. “The table wouldn’t stop wobbling and we fiddled it around until we got it to stop,” recalls Fenn, who is now at the University of Sussex.
At his adviser’s suggestion, Fenn wrote out a proof that for any smoothly curving floor that bulges upward like a hill, there is at least one way to position the table so that it is balanced and horizontal. But he did not reveal how exactly to find that sweet spot, and he quickly tabled the subject. “I didn’t think people were going to take this very seriously,” he admits. “You say to somebody you’ve met, ‘Well I’m trying to put a table on the floor so it doesn’t wobble’; they’ll say, ‘Oh yeah?'”
The season for proving the table turning hypothesis would not arrive for another 35 years. By then, the idea had become such a part of mathematical lore that two years ago mathematician Burkard Polster of Monash University in Australia included it in an article on neat math tricks for teachers. He promptly received a letter pointing out that the idea would not work if a floor possessed sheer cliffs, such as between tiles.
Polster rose to the challenge. “It’s never been really pinpointed exactly what the ground should be like,” he says. So he and some of his colleagues ran through the appropriate calculus and satisfied themselves that if a floor has no spots that slope by more than 35.26 degrees, then turning will indeed balance a square or rectangular tablealthough the table may not end up level. They detail the proof in a paper accepted for publication by the Mathematical Intelligencer. (In one of those odd cases of co-discovery, a retired CERN physicist named Andr? Martin published a similar result within a few months of the Australians’ version.)
Polster’s group even spells out a procedure for balancing the table [see video above]. First lift up the leg of the table diagonal from the wobbly leg. Make sure both legs are roughly equal distances off the ground and then begin rotating. “In practice,” the researchers write, “it does not seem to matter how exactly you turn your table on the spot, as long as you turn roughly around the center of the table.”
The best dining table for you will be one that works for your budget, is solidly constructed, fits in your space and has a style you’ll love for years. There are some core factors you should consider when choosing a good one.
First, be wary of giving into trends, said Christophe Pourny, a master furniture restorer and the author of “The Furniture Bible,” who noted that a good table should last at least five to 10 years. “If you get something too funky, with too many weird details, one day you may wake up and wonder what you were thinking,” he said. “Keep it simple and sturdy.”
Along with affordability and a timeless style, stability and construction are important to look for when inspecting tables at furniture stores. Think about how it feels to sit at one of those tables, whether it will be comfortable for long periods, and examine floor models for signs of wear. Look for nicks and scratches that may indicate how the tables would endure through serious use at home. If you’d like some specific recommendations, Wirecutter, the New York Times product review site, has great sub-$1000 dining table guide here.
“In addition to the footprint of the table, you’ll want three feet of breathing room on all sides — and more is better — to comfortably sit in a chair and move around the space,” said Lucy Harris, an interior designer in New York. So whether it’s part of a multiuse space or a separate dining room, start by measuring the length and width of the area you can dedicate to the dining table. Then subtract about six feet from those two measurements to get a target dining table length and width.
Next, think about how you’re going to use the table. “Figure that each place at the table needs 22 to 24 inches of table space and that larger-scale chairs will require more,” said Max Dyer, a furniture industry veteran and a current vice president of casegoods (a category of hard furniture like tables, cabinets, and chairs) at La-Z-Boy Industries.
As a longtime apartment-dweller, I’ve found that the “visual weight” of a piece of furniture can really influence how big it feels in a room. It may technically fit, but it’ll seem huge if it’s a dark or bulky piece or if it’s too close to other furniture.