We all sit around tables with much of the focus on the portion we’re using. What’s underneath the table often gets little attention. As long as the table base provides sturdy support that doesn’t wobble, we’re content with the part of the table we see. However, without a base, tables wouldn’t be tables at all. Here are the three basic types of table bases and versions of each.
A table base with a single post is what we classify as a pedestal base. This style is most-prevalent in Classic American Style tables, but is also reminiscent of certain period furniture. Heavy center posts were used in furniture during the Renaissance Period, often with large sculpted feet.
These feet were as much for support as they were for visual appeal. Single pedestal base tables are frequently used in restaurant settings because they allow for freedom of leg movement under the table.
However, these types of single post tables are usually smaller. Large single pedestal tables have a higher tendency to tip if too much weight is placed on a single corner. For big top tables, a different base design is probably a good idea.
Pedestal bases are the most common type of support for four-top commercial restaurant tables. They provide comfortable seating for four customers, plus they’re easy to shift around and combine together to make bigger for larger parties.
Depending on what type of atmosphere the business hopes to portray, there are options for the base itself. Classic diners may prefer the traditional cafeteria type base, a pedestal with either three or four pronged feet.
A modern approach might use a rounded bottom. Bar height tables will use a pedestal style base, often with a foot rail added around the outside of the base. While less common because they cannot be moved, there are single post pedestals that bolt to the floor.
One final, rarer version of a pedestal style table base is the cantilever design. This is essentially a single support, but the post is parallel to the floor and attached to a wall. This type of wall-mounted table base is by definition a single post, and used commonly in dining establishments.
The pedestal style table base is a single post design. Conversely, the trestle base will have two or three trestle-like supports. This type of base is common on longer, bench style tables. Since there is a wide base underneath, trestle style tables are very sturdy.
The wide base prevents them from tipping in any direction, plus they balance easily. Trestle style tables that are very long will have a stretcher beam between the trestles. Sometimes these are intricately carved and can make great footrests.
Long commercial tables, which have fold up legs on either end, are another example of a trestle style table base. Trestle tables have progressed a long way from the medieval concept of a pair of trestles with loose boards stacked on top.
This concept is also frequently used for shorter uses, such as coffee tables. Two blocks separated under a glass table top are common in designer furniture pieces. The whole idea is to balance a flat table top on two individual supports.
Four-Legged Table Base
While the previous types of table bases are often the most practical, the four-legged table base is actually the more common. The common design of a four-legged table base is for each leg to be at or near the corner of the table.
There are four post designs where the legs themselves are attached an equal distance from each corner towards the center of the table. This type of construction is less stable, but perfectly suited for specialized game tables.
A frame under the table usually links four-legged table bases. Dining tables will often have drawers for silver and utensils added to this portion of the base. Since these legs are considerably more visible than pedestal or trestle bases, the legs often feature eloquent designs.
Fine furniture pieces from history have variations of the four-legged table base. The cabriole leg design is often seen on some of the most eloquent pieces of antique furniture. This type of table base was common in ancient China and across Greece.
However, the cabriole leg faded in prevalence during the Middle Ages. It found resurgence in 18th century French architecture. The cabriole four-legged table base found favor in the New World and is classic in early American furniture history.
When you’re picking out a new table, consider the different benefits of each of the table base types. For restaurant and commercial businesses, you can also entrust your choice to a professional who specializes in commercial table tops and bases.