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Live Edge Coffee Tables That Capture Nature’s Beauty In Their Designs

Live edge or natural edge wood has become increasingly popular in the furniture industry lately. Some designers consider such furniture to be rustic but there’s more to it than that.

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A live edge dining table or coffee table, for instance, can look awesome no matter where you put it, whether it’s a contemporary living room, a modern lounge area, a traditional family room or an industrial setting. It has a style of its own which goes beyond any trend.

What Does Live Edge Mean?

Live edge furniture is a kind of furniture in which the designer or craftsperson uses the natural edge of the wood piece in question for its end design.  Live edge furniture frequently uses gnarly and salvaged woods that are unsuitable for conventional woodworking. 

What Does Live Edge Mean?View in gallery

Working with this type of wood has unique problems, and numerous live edge techniques have arisen. While some artists leave the natural flaws and fissures in the wood, others fill them in with resins.

All shelves, desks, and tabletops have a specific form; nevertheless, live edge is now one of the shapes available for a piece of furniture. These pieces are individually designed without detracting from the natural beauty of the edge. 

Live edge wood has been meticulously carved by hand, including staining, coating, and finishing, before being used to construct our furniture. No alterations are made to the wood’s natural appearance or texture. 

Nevertheless, some manufacturers choose to fill in any knots to provide an even surface on the furniture, while maintaining the wood’s authentic appearance.

Where Did the Idea for Live Edge Furniture Come From?

The theory behind the live edge type of woodwork is that it was accidentally introduced during America’s early years, within log cabins, back in the days when settlers came to establish homes in new territory and needed usable furniture. 

Where Did the Idea for Live Edge Furniture Come From?View in gallery

Because of the scarcity of necessity and time, you could mostly get one-piece tree slabs that weren’t finished and used to construct simple furniture, as well as tabletops.

Recently, a Japanese American architect and artisan named George Nakashima, refined the craft. He was credited with founding the “live edge rebirth era” back in the 1940s. Ever since that time, this style has maintained a high level of popularity and is extremely stylish.

A stunning live edge hardwood piece, often known as a “slab,” can be used in a variety of settings and areas across your home or company. While butcher block-style or milled wide plank benches and tables appear to be the most popular, live edge tables and benches provide a fresh dimension of character. If you adore the rustic style and feel, do not limit yourself to a single purchase because the alternatives are limitless.

For those on a budget, faux live edge is an excellent alternative to natural edge. If you choose this less expensive option, the manufacturer manually customizes the wood edges by cutting and whittling them to resemble a natural live edge look.

Natural or synthetic, the live edge adds a charming rustic beauty to an expanse. Because each tree is truly one-of-a-kind, it is possible to choose the finest and most elegant piece of woodwork.

Can You Make Your Own Live Edge Coffee Table?

Can You Make Your Own Live Edge Coffee Table?View in gallery

Yes, you can. The first step in arranging your live edge coffee table is determining the size and shape that you desire.

The weight of live edge tables may surprise you, dwarfing your sofa in comparison. Therefore, if you’re unsure about the size, I’d recommend going smaller. Additionally, consider the desired thickness of the lumber. 

Definitely the most time-consuming and frustrating aspect of this entire endeavor is acquiring the wood for the tabletop. There are numerous custom-made and pre-made coffee table bases available, so your only constraint is your budget.

What’s the Best Wood for Live Edge Coffee Tables?

What’s the Best Wood for Live Edge Coffee Tables?View in gallery

The types of wood that’s most commonly used to make live edge wood slabs are alligator juniper, mesquite, gnarly wood, and salvaged wood. 

Before you begin shopping for wood, there are a few things you should know. The most critical factor to consider is whether or not it is dry. It is not a good idea to work with wet wood. As the wood dries, it will bend and twist, so you must wait for it to reach equilibrium before working on it. 

The definition of dry wood differs according to the region of the country in which you live. Dry is not the most accurate description, so people often refer to EMC when talking about wood moisture, which is short for Equilibrium Moisture Content. 

EMC simply refers to the amount of water remaining in a piece of wood after it reaches equilibrium. Drying methods include air drying and kiln drying. 

Live Edge Coffee Table Design Ideas

Modern Design With Hairpin Legs

live edge coffee table with hairpin legsView in gallery

The most important idea about live edge wood is that certain surfaces are left natural and exposed: the bark, knots, holes and curved spaces for example. These elements bring out the natural shape of the tree and make each piece of furniture unique. You can make your own live edge coffee table in a few easy steps. Find a slab of wood with barn and knots on it, sand it down, stain it and attach four hairpin legs in the corners, just as shown on Zestitup.

Hairpin Legs on Live Edge Coffee Table

Scandinavian live edge coffee table with hairpin legsView in gallery

Building a live edge coffee table is fairly easy and the fact that all the imperfections of the wood are actually desirable elements in the finished design makes things a lot easier. There’s no need to cut the wood slab to precision or to even stain it. Just use some sandpaper to obtain a somewhat smooth surface and a natural wood finish to bring out the material’s beauty. As before, the table featured on Ispydiy has hairpin legs.

Small Live Edge Coffee Table

live edge coffee table with painted hairpin legsView in gallery

For some reason, live edge tops and hairpin legs complement each other perfectly when combined in the design of a coffee table. The project showed on Annabode further reinforces this idea. This table has a slender and pretty smooth top, without too many visible imperfections.

Rustic Live Edge Coffee Table Idea

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

Finding the right components for a live edge coffee table is the most difficult part of all, even though all you need is a slab of wood and some legs or a base. Figuring it out the right combination is just part of the problem. Finding a piece of wood that has the right shape and size is not as easy as some of you might think. Have a look at this gorgeous table featured on Abeautifulmess. The intricacy of its design is simply amazing.

Two Tiered Live Edge Coffee Table

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

One way or another, let’s say you got the live edge coffee table that you wanted. It’s time to bring it home and make it a permanent part of the decor. So where to put it? Well, the living room seems like an obvious option.

Using Different Heights

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

If the table is small, you can have two or three clustered together in the same room. It would help if they had different heights and even different-sized tops. Still, the designs would have to be similar.

Mixing Woods for Live Edge Coffee Tables

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

Not all live-edge coffee tables have super intricate and highly detailed tops. It all has to do with the trunk the wood comes from. Its age, type and provenance matter so do your research before you start the search for materials.

Live Edge Coffee Table with Character

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

Wood slabs like these two usually come from very old trees. You can count the rings to see approximately how old the tree was when it fell. It would definitely be a shame to try to hide all the unique cracks and imperfections. They give the table a lot of character.

Modern Live Edge Coffee Table

Modern Live Edge Coffee TableView in gallery

Even though they look pretty neat and simple, these live-edge table tops have their own charm. The simplicity of form and the lack of cracks and knots are compensated for with rich colors.

Keep it Simple

Keep it Simple - live edge tableView in gallery

It’s best to not overcomplicate a live-edge coffee table with a base that stands out. The focus should be on the top and not the frame that holds it, which is why hairpin legs are such a good option.

Live Edge Coffee Tables are Works of Art

Live Edge Coffee Tables are Works of ArtView in gallery

Some live-edge coffee tables are so sculptural, so intricate and so beautiful that they can easily double as artwork for the space they’re in. This table from Villa Beyond in Thailand is one of the best examples.

A Stand Out Piece 

A Stand Out Piece View in gallery

Having a live-edge coffee table in a living area is enough so there’s no need for a matching dining table as well. In fact, that can often seem like too much for a single room.

Large and Long Live Edge Coffee Table

Large and Long Live Edge Coffee TableView in gallery

When it comes to live-edge tables, the more natural the look the better. That being said, this coffee table is definitely amazing. It appears to be a longitudinal section of a tree trunk.

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

Even though technically the design of this coffee table is quite simple, it serves as an awesome focal point for the entire lounge area. Its warm brown color is surrounded by similar earthy tones and the comfortable furniture is a good match.

Cluster Your Live Edge Coffee Tables

Cluster Your Live Edge Coffee TablesView in gallery

Instead of a single large coffee table, perhaps two or even three smaller ones would be more practical and even more interesting-looking. They could complement each other like the ones shown here.

Finding a Live Edge Coffee Table for You

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

Think of a live-edge coffee table more in terms of a hybrid between a functional piece of furniture and a sculpture or a decoration. It serves both purposes at the same time and you can take advantage of that in a lot of cool ways. First step: find a great-looking table. This one from Mustardvintage could be it.

Matching Wood Tones from Your Live Edge Coffee Table

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

You can try coordinate your live-edge coffee table with other elements in the room, even if they’ll only match in terms of color, texture or form. Take this contemporary living room for example. The table matches the stairs and both elements look very natural in the decor.

Continuing the Nature Theme

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

With a live-edge coffee table you’re bringing a piece of nature into your home so why not continue with the rest of the decor on the same note? You could decorate the living room with potted plants, natural colors and materials and you can expose it to the views.

Keeping the Space Light and Airy

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

Here, there’s a nice coordination between the wooden floor, the ceiling, the live-edge coffee table and the panoramic views which can be admired through the large window. The neutrality that surrounds them is right to the point.

Eclectic Decor with Live Edge Coffee Tables

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

The design strategy in this case was quite different. As you can see, the decor is eclectic and full of color and pattern. The two live-edge coffee tables blend in seamlessly but that doesn’t mean they lose their personality in any way.

Live Edge Coffee Tables with Irregular Shapes

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

The issue with live-edge tables is that they sometimes have an irregular form which makes them less practical than other types. Even so, their beauty and uniqueness compensates for that.

Embracing Irregularities 

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

The irregularities of the wood in the case of a live-edge table are not only defining the edges but also the bottom surface of the slab. As you can see here, this is a live-edge coffee table that captures the form of the trunk exactly as it is.

Unique Shapes and Designs 

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

Each live-edge table is unique and special in its own way. There are quite a few interesting models to choose from, like the one here which comes from Etsy. It’s made of cedar wood and shows the point where the tree trunk splits into two large branches.

Adding Resin to Your Live Edge Coffee Table

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

An interesting idea is to use resin to fill any cracks and holes in the wood. This table from Etsy features glow-in-the-dark resin and the combination of colors and textures is mesmerizing.

Using Resin as an Accent

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

Here’s another design displaying the wood and resin combination. This time the table has a round live-edge top and metal hairpin legs. The blue resin looks great in combination with the sofa. {found on etsy}.

Building a Live Edge Coffee Table

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

If you plan on building a table yourself from scratch there are lots of great online tutorial that you can follow. This video tutorial for example tells the story of how a giant slab of wood was turned into a live edge coffee table.

It ended up looking beautiful, with industrial hairpin legs and a nice surface with little imperfections and a ton of character. Of course, if you’re to make your own it will look different and unique but that’s what makes live edge tables awesome in the first place.

Making the Surface Flat

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

One of the trickiest parts when building a live edge slab table is flattening the surface. This video tutorial shows you how it’s done and also how you can then proceed to integrate the slab into your new beautiful design to create a one-of-a-king coffee table.

This one was made using a relatively circular slab cut horizontally out of a tree. The entire refining process products tons of sawdust so make sure you’re working in an area that you can clean easily once you’re done. The base of this table is made of wood but you can of course opt for something different if you prefer another design or material.

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

Since each live edge slab is unique and different from all the others, selecting one for your build is not easy especially if you have lots of options. Anyway, once you’ve made a decision you can start work on your new live edge table. Part of the process is to add a layer of epoxy to fill all the cracks and to reinforce the wood so it retains its integrity and beauty for longer.

Once this part is done you can sand the entire surface and make it smooth, then proceed to take care of the live edge and make it look natural and beautiful while also cleaning it. In some cases the live edge is preserved intact but since this is meant to look more clean and refined, some extra work is required. Check out the tutorial for more details.

Making Live Edge Legs

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

It’s not just the top of this coffee table that is made of live edge wood but the base panels as well. This is a 100% live edge coffee table and it looks really cool. There’s no bark on any of the edges so you need to refine al these surfaces and make sure they look beautiful while also retaining their natural characteristics.

There are three components to work with in total: the tabletop and two smaller panels that form the base. The design and shape are very similar to a bench so you can also consider this design for other types of projects as well. Check out this Youtube tutorial to find out all the details.

How to Make a Live Edge Coffee Table

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

The more irregular the shape of the wood piece is to begin with the more detailed and unique your live edge coffee table will end up looking. Also, it’s good to have a thick slab of wood to work with so you can refine it and transform it throughout the project.

Removing all the bark is time-consuming but well worth the effort if you’re going for a more modern and sculptural look rather than a rustic one. If there are any cracks or holes into the wood this would actually be an advantage because you can fill them with resin and create a really cool-looking table plus it’s a nice way to add a contrast color to the design. The entire process we described here is explained in detail in this youtube tutorial.

Buying is Easier than Building

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

There is also the option of buying a live-edge table which would definitely be easier and quicker than crafting it. One of our suggestions is this StyleCraft table which has a gorgeous design and a very sleek and modern look. It’s made with a natural teak wood top and three hairpin metal legs and each table is unique. Use it as a centerpiece for the living room or as an accent table for any other space.

Live Edge Coffee Table with Shelf

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

Although this design is simpler and not as intricate as many of the others, the table does look very stylish. It’s made with two live edge slabs, one for the top and another at the bottom acting as a shelf, with a space of 11.25’’ in between them.

The slabs are acacia wood and the legs which support them are made of metal and painted black for a string contrast. It has floor protectors so it doesn’t damage the surface that you place it on.

Live Edge Side Table

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

Small tables with live edge tops look really amazing too and this one is a prime example. It’s a small but sturdy table with hairpin legs that give it a breezy and lightweight look and a unique-shaped live edge top that turn it into a natural work of art. The wood comes from reclaimed cedar stumps and each individual table is special.

The dimensions are 28’’L x 19’’W x 20.5’’ H on average, with slight variations in each case. You can add this beautiful accent piece to a variety of different spaces and use it in all sorts of beautiful ways to give your home a bit of extra charm and character.

Perfect for Any Space

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

This stylish end table is another beautiful example of how well live edge wood and hairpin metal legs go together. Each individual table is supported by three heavy-duty hairpin legs with a matte black finish and has a wood slab top that’s unique and different for each piece.

The wood comes from reclaimed cedar stumps and has a natural lacquer finish. As usual for this types of designs, the dimensions can vary and on average each table measures around 15.5’’L x 14.5’’W x 16’’H. The design is simple and versatile, with just a hint of rustic charm.

Pine Live Edge Coffee Table with Hairpin Legs

WELLAND Natural Edge Side Table with Hairpin LegsView in gallery

Speaking of rustic charm, there’s another beautiful live edge table that we want to share with you today. This one has a pinewood top and like the models we shared before it’s supported by hairpin metal legs. It’s slender but also strong and sturdy and has a beautiful distressed finish which emphasizes the wood’s natural weathered look.

You can use it as a coffee table in a small living room or as an end table next to the sofa, as a nightstand or as an accent table for your lovely reading nook. The legs have floor protectors that prevent them from damaging the surface that they’re on. On average, the dimensions for one of these tables are 17.7”D x 20.3”H.

FAQ

How do you clean a live edge coffee table?

In order to keep your live edge table in pristine shape, use microfiber towels to dust the surface and choose natural cleaning products that are suitable for wooden surfaces.

Does a live edge need to be sealed?

Even while live edge slabs provide a natural, rustic appearance to your woodworking project, they must still be finished. Sanding plus sealing the wood will assure the longevity of your creation.

How thick should a live edge table be?

You want your slabs to be at least three inches thick to prevent warping. For specific needs or projects, saw thicker slabs.