Should you show some legs? Or keep them covered up? When it comes to sofas, visible legs versus skirted bottom can set the design tone for the entire room. Whether your style leans toward the traditional, transitional or modern, we have you covered — or uncovered, as the case may be. Here’s how to figure out which look is best for you and how to design your space around it.
When furniture has a skirt, its bottom fabric falls to the floor, hiding the legs. Sofas with skirts tend to be more traditional and formal-looking than those with exposed legs. Skirts come in a variety of styles, including tailored, loose, pleated and ruffled.
Slipcovers and skirts. Most slipcovered pieces have skirts, but they definitely have a more casual vibe. If you want to stay far away from formality, pair these pieces with natural rugs such as jute or sisal and rustic wood elements.
If a piece of furniture doesn’t have a skirt, you’ll be able to see its legs. Legs come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles, from traditional to modern. The following three styles are the most common.
Turned legs. Turned legs are round and have a classic, traditional look. This is especially true when they’re paired with a rolled or English rolled arm (as seen on this armchair). That said, turned legs can also work in a more casual cottage-style room that includes such items as painted wood tables and chairs.
Tapered legs. A tapered leg can be squared or rounded and gets narrower from top to bottom. Tapered legs are incredibly versatile — they can add a modern touch to an otherwise traditional sofa or sync perfectly with a modern one.
Short legs. Shorter legs are barely visible and are usually much wider than the other leg styles. They definitely look more modern and go great in a casual space. Pair a short-legged sofa with other pieces that have taller legs to keep the room from looking too heavy.
Choosing a Leg Finish
Once you’ve decided on the style of leg you want, you need to select a finish. It’s hard to get this choice wrong, but even so, think about how the color will work with the others fabrics and pieces in the room. A dark brown or black is a safe bet for most situations.
Lighter wood finishes, popular in Scandinavian design, help create spaces that feel relaxed and natural. If you want a more eclectic look, don’t worry about matching your leg finish with other woods in the room — they don’t all have to be the same shade.
Metal legs. Choosing furniture with metal legs can help a smaller space look open, because the reflective surface keeps the legs from taking up a lot of visual space.
Can You Mix Skirts and Legs?
You bet! In fact, pairing skirted pieces with those that have legs keeps a space from looking one-dimensional. Variety is the spice of life!
via Sofa Secrets: Skirts, Slipcovers and Legs