Skip to content
6 Reasons to Get a Live Edge Dining Table and What to Pair with It

6 Reasons to Get a Live Edge Dining Table and What to Pair with It

Some trends in interior decorating are more fleeting than others. Some come and go, some never even stick around long enough to catch one. Some designs, like colonial furnishing and architecture, have become timeless by this point. Others are iconic of a time that is lost to the past but remain recognizable and popular, even though their names have become ironic.

One of the more popular design trends - and one that is growing in popularity - is the trend of producing live edge furniture, notably live edge tables like live edge dining tables. While it may still be too early to tell what the ultimate fate of the live-edge trend will be, we can ride the wave while it lasts.

But for those of you that are reading this and are not familiar with the trend, here’s a quick introduction before we dive into a defense of live edge tables for your dining room.

What Is Live Edge?

For those of you who are as yet unfamiliar with what live edge furniture is, a picture might very well say a thousand words. Have you ever seen a table that looks a little bit too much like the tree from which it was made?

You know those tables that have conspicuous, uneven lines and blemishes, and almost look like they have bark on the outside edges? Some of them may actually have bark along the outside edges, but usually, it’s just the uneven marks and the silhouette of the cross-section of a tree.

These slabs produce furniture that is known as live edge furniture. Usually, wood is milled into boards, posts, slats, panels, and other more recognizable geometric pieces that are then worked into furniture. These shapes, obviously, don’t exist naturally within the tree but are artificially produced.

Live edge takes advantage of the beautiful natural lives of the tree. A cross-section is milled out of a log and preserves the marks, scars, blemishes, and natural contours of the log. Otherwise, these would be effaced during milling and working, but in live edge furniture, they are partially preserved.

Now that you have an impression of what live edge furniture is (though you might have already recognized it by image if not by name) here are some defenses of the trend. These are some of the best reasons to bring a live edge dining table into your home!

  1. No two live edge tables are the same; every single one is entirely unique

Something that you’ll notice right away about live edge dining tables is that no two are entirely alike. In fact, that’s just the nature of the situation. Since live edge tables preserve some of the lines and natural marks of the living tree, each one is like a fingerprint. It’s entirely unique to the tree that produced it.

That could be argued about any piece of wood since each natural slab bears the marks of its marker. Still, it’s much more tangible with a piece of live edge wood than it is with a milled plank. If you’re looking to add a piece of furniture to your dining room that has undeniable character, a live edge table will not disappoint.

  1. A live edge dining table must be made from solid slabs of wood

Here at Ohio Hardwood Furniture, we place a very strong emphasis on the quality of the furniture we produce as well as on the integrity and quality of the wood we use. We’re proud of the fact that we use proven construction techniques, mill our own hardwoods, and waste no scraps whatsoever.

It’s a necessary thing to note, however, that whether we’ve made the live edge table in question or another producer has, it must necessarily be made with a single slab of wood. If it is genuine, at least, that is.

While some furniture may be made from inferior materials like particleboard or laminated wood, a live edge table - a real one, anyway - must be made from a single, solid milled slab of wood. There is nothing stronger or more beautiful, and when it is properly kiln-dried, a live edge table is truly one of a kind.

  1. This surge in popularity means that they are widely compatible with a large range of schools of design

Also, for one reason or another, live edge tables have grown in popularity recently. It can’t really be called a new style, although it has garnered something of a contemporary appeal. For whatever reason, the live edge aesthetic has been growing in popularity in recent years.

When a design aesthetic becomes more and more popular, by virtue of its ubiquity, you’ll find that it’s widely compatible with a larger range of other schools of design, which is the case here. It’s easier to work a live edge table into your home’s setting than you might imagine.

  1. They serve as a focal point for the setting and make an artistic statement

There’s something about a live edge table that arrests and commands the attention of all visitors to a scene. Live edge furniture, with its natural lines and unique character, is very difficult to build into a setting without making it a focal point.

It might be possible to do so with a muted little end table, but certainly not with a dining table. When you place that in a setting, it’s sure to serve as the focal point!

  1. They’re the perfect blending of the traditional and the contemporary

On the surface, it doesn’t seem like a live edge table has too much of a traditional flair. It can be easily seen how the argument could be made to the contrary. With their asymmetrical lines and natural blemishes, they’re very apparently contemporary.

The key word above is natural - this is where and how they retain a mote of the traditional. Live edge tables are almost a throwback to designs that are so rustic they belong in a cabin or a camp. The thing is, they are also typically highly refined and beautifully finished.

Few other pieces, or types, of furniture, bring together a blending of the traditional and the contemporary so effortlessly.

  1. They age well

Another thing about live edge tables is that they have a very high potential to age beautifully. This ranges alongside other high-quality hardwood furniture such as the other designs we produce here at Ohio Hardwood.

When properly cared for, a live edge table will age gracefully and may even darken slightly with age, lending the table an air of sophistication and dignity.

Caring for a Live Edge Dining Table

In order for you to get that expected long lifespan out of a live edge dining table, like any fine piece of furniture, it’s going to require some care from time to time. Here are some basic tips you can follow to extend the life of your live edge furniture.

  1. Be careful around the edges, especially if bark remains attached

Not all live edge furniture retains bark at the edges of the slab. In fact, most probably don't. However, if there is bark there, you need to be particularly careful when seated around the table or when moving it. Bark is living tissue (when the tree is alive) and so it is softer, spongier, and more prone to damage and impact than the rest of the table.

  1. Wipe it down when it gets dirty, or remove liquids

You should never leave stains and liquids on the surface of your tables, whether they are live edge or not. If the table surface is sealed (which is likely) the finish will protect the wood - up to a point.

The thing is, allowing foods, oils, juices, or other liquids will damage the finish over time. Some finishes can be stripped, for example, with citrus juices, which are common in some foods. If the surface gets blotched, stained, or wet, just wipe it down.

  1. Keep it clean and dust-free

Similarly, you don’t want to allow dust, crumbs, or dirt to remain on the surface of the table if you can help it. If they build up, when you wipe them down, they can scratch the surface or the finish, thereby damaging it. The best way to prevent this is by routinely wiping the surface of the table down.

  1. Keep the wood protected or sealed

The manner in which the surface of your live edge table will have been finished could vary significantly. For that reason, unfortunately, we can’t give you a catch-all solution for keeping it protected and sealed. When you buy one, ask the seller how the surface has been sealed and ask how you can maintain the protective finish.

  1. Treat with a conditioning cream or polish (in accordance with the advice of the manufacturer)

You might also want to get into the habit of treating the wood itself, provided you use the right products. There is a wide range of oils, waxes, wood creams, and sealing agents that can be used to varying effects on the surface of raw and treated wood.

You’ll still want to know what you can and can’t use, though, so make sure you ask questions about what products are safe or advisable for use with the furniture in question, live edge, or otherwise.

Pairing Live Edge Furniture

Good news for you if you’re attracted to the undeniably appealing aesthetic of live edge furniture. It pairs beautifully with a wide range of other designs. If you’re thinking about introducing one into your home, here are a couple of suggestions for how to work it into the setting and what to pair with it.

  1. Live edge pairs well with other live edge wood and natural wood designs

Because live edge furniture maintains some of the appearances of unfinished wood, and of the whole tree, it pairs very well with other rustic furniture, including live edge furniture. If you’re a fan of rustic, country, or camp designs, a live edge table will mesh up with these beautifully.

The pairings themselves don’t even have to be live edge. They can be weathered wood or even the bark-on designs of cabin or camp furniture.

  1. Try something overtly traditional

Another interesting way to pair up a live edge dining table is with other traditional, albeit refined, designs. Many live edge tables, despite their general “rustication,” possess any air of high sophistication, and will pair better with classic, timeless designs than with rustic furniture.

Try outfitting a setting with colonial furniture or some other design of that nature and see how it does alongside your live edge arrangement. Our best is it will look great.

  1. Bring a modern aesthetic onto the scene

You can also pair up live edge tables with modern pieces of furniture to varying effects. There is something about live edge designs that you wouldn’t quite expect to match up with them but does anyway.

For example, you could pair minimalist or even industrial furniture with a live edge table and the pleasant jarring sensation of the juxtaposition would be more amenable than you might expect. Try it, or look up some images online for inspiration to see what we mean.

  1. At a loss? Try a mid-century modern aesthetic

Finally, if you haven’t been inspired by rustic decor, traditional designs, or even modern minimalism, give mid-century modern a go. Its oddly iconoclastic melding of diverse geometric designs and seemingly incongruous elements come together to create a balance that is, well, not incongruous at all. You may also find that mid-century modern furniture for sale offers designs that create the perfect pairing with live edge furniture. Here on our site, you’ll find collections featuring Thayer Coggin, Leathercraft Furniture, Copeland Furniture, Wesley Hall Furniture, and many others.

Do you still have questions about the care of a live edge table, or how to work one into your home’s setting? We can help with that, but first, you have to visit us or at least give us a call.

We’d love to have you come to visit our showroom in Peninsula, Ohio, where you can get familiar with some of these pieces of furniture and designs firsthand, but we know some of our potential customers range far and wide. If you’re a bit too far out of the way to come see us, give us a call at 330-657-2095 and we’ll see what we can do to help you realize your vision for your home.