Everyone knows what hairpin legs are these days and, even if you don’t, the name is really suggestive so you can probably guess what it’s all about. But how did it all start? It’s a pretty interesting story actually and it starts in 1941. At that point, the war put a pressure on everyone, limiting the available materials which could be used when making furniture and other things. At that point, Henry P. Glass came up with an innovative design idea which allowed him to create a new type of furniture legs which required considerably less material than the traditional kind without interfering with the strength and durability of the piece.
This war-time invention was so incredibly practical that hairpin legs started being used on furniture pieces of all kinds. The name was coined after the original collection (American Way) was released. It was inspired by the shape of the steel wire legs and it became so catchy that everyone started to use it.
Hairpin legs are a wonderful example of a design that perfectly blends form and function. Although created from necessity, they created a trend and all the modern furniture pieces that feature them now use them because of their aesthetically pleasing design. We’ve left behind the practicality of the design and we embraced the beauty of the hairpin leg as we see it now.
Hairpin legs are commonly used on mid-century furniture pieces although their use is not limited to this category of products. A lot of contemporary furniture pieces use this element in their designs as a way to look chic, sleek and stylish.
The original series created by Henry Glass, which featured the hairpin legs, was coined the Hairpin Group and even though most of the products were released in limited numbers, their popularity grew and the name stuck. Hairpin legs are now widely used on pretty much everything from chairs, to tables, sofas, consoles and even decorative pieces.
Compared to traditional chair legs or to other types, the hairpin leg design is a much better choice if the goal is to make the piece more lightweight. Take these bar stools for example. They’re pretty sleek and elegant and they’re a good match for this solid kitchen island.
Looking at these chairs, there’s no better option for it than hairpin legs. They match the design of the seat and backrest perfectly. We imagine these chairs somewhere out in a garden or on a deck where they’d look stylish without standing out.
Hairpin legs are actually really popular on outdoor furniture pieces, especially chairs, being appreciated for their lightness and durability. Just think about it. Most patio chairs have hairpin legs and that’s definitely a feature you should look for when shopping for new furniture.
The thing that makes hairpin legs so wonderful and widely appreciated is the fact that they’re very sturdy, durable and solid despite their thin and delicate look. Even if we’re no longer necessarily concerned with how much material the furniture uses, everything else about these legs remains viable and undeniably practical.
Furniture pieces such as chairs and sofas aren’t the only things that hairpin legs look great on. You can pretty much put these on anything and they’d look chic and stylish. This applies to things like planters, side tables, coat racks and other accent pieces that you want in your home without cluttering the decor too much.
The coffee table is a must-have for any living room. However, since it’s most often paired with sofas or couches which are robust and solid, we don’t want them to take up even more floor space visually so we often look for designs that include features such as hairpin legs or glass tops.
The original hairpin leg design wasn’t patented by its creator until several years after the release. That didn’t stop it from inspiring lots of interesting designs and products that quickly established a new trend that we still follow even today.
Hairpin legs are very common of chairs but that doesn’t make them exclusive to this furniture piece. There are entire furniture collections that focus on this particular detail and which include a variety of different products. You can choose to mix and match them or to turn hairpin legs into an accent feature or a subtle focal point.
Thin and slender metal legs are often paired with solid table tops or robust seats particularly to highlight the contrast between them. Other times, designers choose to put an emphasis on lightness and some really graceful furniture pieces are born this way.
We’re big fans of the slender nature of hairpin legs but we also enjoy the shorter versions where they don’t showcase their graceful silhouettes and instead offer support in a quirky and playful manner.
There’s no doubt about the fact that hairpin legs look amazing on mid-century furniture even though they’re not exclusive to this style. Somehow they just fit better into the picture when they’re used in combination with the style that first made them popular.
The elegance of hairpin legs isn’t exclusive to furniture either. Accent pieces and accessories such as lamps incorporate this feature into their design in some really interesting ways and the resulting designs are quite unexpected and intriguing.
This unique stool puts together a set of black hairpin legs and a live edge wooden seat. Together they contrast with each other but they also complement each other in a really cool and elegant manner. Each element brings to the table a series of unique characteristics which don’t clash but rather create harmony.
We enjoy the cohesion of this living room setting. The nesting coffee tables put together thin bent metal frames and wooden tops with undulating forms which the sofa also emphasizes an interesting contrast established between the metal frame and the comfortable cushions.
The design of these chairs is both very simple and very practical. The fact that there’s actually a built-in side table into the frame of the chair brings a whole new set of particularities to this common piece of furniture.
There’s a really harmony between the simple lines of the legs and the smooth curves of the seats. The chairs blend looks and comfort without making compromises on any of these elements.
These tables are unusual for several reasons. Their tops are round and pierced at the center by what looks a lot like a metal hairpin leg. It’s a design that changes the way we perceive this design feature.
We mentioned harmonious contrasts quite a few times and we’ll end with article with yet another example. This funky stool combines thin hairpin legs painted golden with a round top covered in faux fur.