Live edge tables are solid wood that preserves the natural contours of the outer part of the tree that grows under the bark. That first layer, called sapwood, is typically a different tone than the core of the tree (heartwood). This adds to the visual interest of the table, embraces the natural flow of the grain, and creates fantastic oppotunities to enhance the decor of any room.
A live edge table exposes the variety of color tones that exist in each wood specie. For some, that variation is subtle; oak, maple, and ash have a fairly consistent grain color. Others can be stunningly vivid like walnut, purpleheart, bocote, and a crazy wood called monkeypod.
Conveniently, wood grain looks amazing next to other wood grains even if the color and tones are very different. This is why a forest is beautiful. The rules for decorating with wood are not the same as putting together a great wardrobe; it's easy to get your outfit wrong by combining clashing colors and patterns, but the same is not true when you add a natural wood table to a room.
Live edge tables were common as the country was being settled. It was easiest to get a wide slab from a mill (or just cut down a large tree yourself and work it into a flat board) and remove the bark and prop it up on legs. Rustic, but functional. Perhaps those settlers did not appreciate the beauty of their dinner tables, but we look back and can appreciate how special that looks compared to a processed, rectangular table.
The sapwood in a live edge table follows the natural grain flow of the tree. Exposing the live edge (rather than cutting it off) creates a graceful flow from the center of the table to the edge as well as from one end of the table to the other. This softness is almost liquid and enhances the comfort level of any room.
Tables with live edges have seen a huge resurgence in modern homes. Building a custom live edge table is an opportunity to bring natural tones and lines that add a versatile element to the room. A live edge table is perfect for daily use, special gatherings, and even formal events.
These tables are solid and durable. Adding modern finishes will protect the beauty of the wood grain. Combining the finish and hardwoods creates a table that stands up to years of daily use.
Additionally, live edge tables can easily transition to hosting more elegant affairs. A runner or candles, place settings, cloth napkins all can dress up the live edge table and create a very formal appearance.
When it comes to modern tables, custom building allows for a wide range of expression in the selection of legs (usually, aprons are left off live edge because they force a rectangular border under the flowing lines). Wood post legs, trestle legs, pedestals, and an incredible variety of metal legs are available to enhance the look of any table. Legs can be complementary wood tones, stained, or painted to create contrast with the table top.
Ultimately, a custom live edge table is an investment in a classic, timeless design that allows for endless design options. You can't go wrong by inviting nature into your home, office, or restaurant. Live edge is a solid, lasting choice for any table.
Not sure if a custom table is for you? Read my article about the reasons to buy custom furniture.