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Furniture Legs & Feet: French, Scrolled, Splayed & Turned

Instructor: Shenley Schenk

Shenley holds a Master's of Science in Interior Architecture as well as a LEED Green Associate Certification.

Furniture legs and feet bring to life character in a piece of furniture. Explore the styles of turned, scrolled, french and splayed furniture legs and feet and how they have impacted design.

Leg and Foot Basics

Ranging from ornate to simplistic, furniture legs and feet add style to almost any piece of furniture, just like a pair of shoes! The furniture leg leads to the furniture foot which is the ending point of the piece of furniture, normally at floor level. There is an abundance of furniture leg and foot styles. However, our focus will be on turned, scrolled, french and splayed. Let's explore the art and history behind creating such intricate furniture adornments.


Turned furniture legs and feet make a piece of furniture spin through the room. A turned leg or foot is created by rotating a wood dowel on a lathe. Magnificent nodules, swellings and disks are shaped and chiseled into the wood. A nodule is a round structure created in the wood. Contrast is made by swellings which are large forms created in the wood. Disk like shapes are used to create flat or thin designs in the wood.

Numerous furniture styles can be created through turned furniture legs and feet which include:

  • ball
  • ball and ring slat back or ladder
  • ball, ring and vase
  • baluster
  • bamboo
  • block and vase ring
  • bulb and ring
  • cup and cover
  • ring
  • spiral
  • spool
  • steeple
  • trumpet
  • vase and block, and
  • vase and ring cylinder.

Turned Furniture Leg

Such styles can be found on furniture resembling the baroque and renaissance designs. Turned styles are common in chair, spindle, bookshelf, table and bed frame designs.


Furniture made with scrolled leg and foot design roll through a space. The unique coils and spirals made through scrolled design is done by a knife or mechanical saw. Sequences of rings, twists, curls or loops are distinct characteristics of a scrolled leg and foot. S scroll and C scroll are two main styles of scrolled leg and foot design.

Multiple design styles embraced the scrolled appearance including:

  • Rococo,
  • Italianate,
  • Flemish,
  • Baroque, and
  • Vitruvian

Scrolled Furniture Leg

These design styles are often found in furniture pieces such as consoles, tables, case pieces or chairs. Scroll design is also commonly used in wall clocks, plaques and frames.

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