If you’ve ever been out hiking and taken a rest on an old tree stump, or used it as a table to rest your flask on, you’ll be familiar with the practicalities of nature’s provisions. One trend sweeping across Toronto is the use of live edge furniture – taking the tree stump out of the forest and planting it right in the centre of your living room to use as a coffee table. You can appreciate the rustic and earthy beauty of the land without even having to get up from your couch. It’s not just tree stumps being used as tables, either – there are artisan furniture designers producing everything from vanity tables to armchairs using live edge wood, sometimes even with the bark still intact.
The Possibilities and Allure of Live Edge Furniture
Does this mean, therefore, that the living rooms of Toronto will soon start to look like the great outdoors? Perhaps all the existing furniture will end up getting thrown into the garden, while half of the garden gets moved into the house? Well, not quite. While it can work, it’s almost never as simple as simply transplanting a stump of wood or interesting branch of a tree. There is quite a lot of manual work and artistic endeavour goes into these creations. People want to feel connected to the great outdoors without having to live there. The appeal of good live edge furniture comes from striking that balance as closely as possible:
- People are looking for natural beauty – In contrast to the smooth lines of traditional furniture, live edge furniture tends to be more chaotic in shape, and it’s precisely this characteristic that gives it its appeal. If you feel like you work in a box, drive home in a box and sleep in a box, the last thing that is going to improve your mood is box-like furniture. Live edge pieces provide a wonderful contrast to that. They allow for the possibility of escapism, by bringing the shapes and designs of nature into city centre living spaces.
- These pieces work with any decor – If you’re struggling to find house-warming gifts, small live edge pieces are usually guaranteed winners. Why? Because it doesn’t matter whether your friend is moving into an old country mansion, or an ultra-modern high-rise studio – live edge items will fit in with any design. In a more rustic setting, the items tend to blend in very easily, whereas in a minimalist, bright space, they serve as contrasting points of focus. Their natural shapes and colours don’t grate against the over-arching style, perhaps thanks to our primeval connection to them.
- They are green – Well, in fact, most of them are brown, but they are often the environmentally kosher option. Most pieces are made from reclaimed wood from the forests of places like Indonesia, India and Mexico. City residents recognize that such a purchase does not contribute to mass deforestation, or threaten rural forest communities. On top of that, there is the kudos from fellow greenies about saving the planet over a mocha and a bowl of quinoa, while sitting at a live edge table from the mountains of Laos.
If you’re looking for items which add a touch of art and personality to your living space, you can’t really go wrong with live edge pieces. Each piece is unique – just like an original artwork, although much more financially accessible. If you want to do your bit for the environment and look cool, without leaving the big city, you should opt for live edge furniture.