Shoshana Gosselin an Interior Decorator in PA posted the below article on Houzz a few years back and it is still very relevant today. We love how Corbels can enhance any focal point in the house and still be functional.
The earliest use of corbels was to support structures. They were simple, unadorned and made of stone or concrete. Over the years, they began to get fancy, full of intricate carvings and meant to add beauty. Today, many corbels are made from wood or resin and are decorative rather than load-bearing. They come in a variety of sizes and types and can be added to cabinets, furniture and walls in any style of room.
Place over an oven range. A shelf with corbels will create a focal point over your oven range. Match the type of corbel you use to the current style of your kitchen. Or, give your kitchen a 'kick' of fancy with a more ornate corbel in a simple kitchen.
Use alone as an accent. Some corbels are so beautifully detailed that they can be used as wall art. You can add a candle or small decor accent on the flat top. Cluster multiple corbels of different styles, shapes and sizes for an interesting, textured statement.
Add interest to a beam. Corbels look fabulous as a transition point where the beam meets the wall. A corbel creates a beautiful defining detail. If you are using your corbel for aesthetic value, not function, you should still keep it proportional so it looks like it really is holding something up. For this application, you want to make sure your corbel is as wide as your beam.
Add corbels to a fireplace mantel. Turn a simple mantel shelf into a masterpiece using decorative corbels. You don't need to be a master craftsman to get the look of this mantel; there is an assortment of detailed corbels available online. If you use the corbel to hold the shelf, use one that is at least two-thirds the depth of the shelf.
Give it a mission style or go more classic, giving it flair with detailed scroll carvings.
Use underneath upper kitchen cabinets. Corbels add unique and interesting detail beneath a row of cabinets, whether you're going for casual or ornate.Most corbels can be painted or stained to complement your cabinetry.
Countertop support. Corbels soften the corners of an island. If you do use them for physical support, make sure your corbel depth is three-quarters of your countertop overhang.
If your island does not have an overhang, corbels add dimension and craftsmanship to the sides.
Turn an odd corner into a focal point at a budget price. Find a corbel that is large in scale to give it presence. Paint or stain it the same finish as any moldings on the lower wall to tie it in.
Define a space. Use a pair of corbels at the entry to a dining room or separate eat-in kitchen area. For added impact, paint the corbels a color that contrasts the wall.
Corbels transform small spaces. Add corbels to small open entryways in a sunroom, nook, sitting room or other semi-open area.
Hold up shelves. Create interest by using corbels to hold up your shelf. If you buy corbels unfinished you can paint them or stain them. To support a shelf, the depth of the wood corbels should be at least 70 percent of the overall depth.
Functional statement. These corbels used as legs to hold up this double vanity are truly phenomenal to look at. You need very large wooden corbels to support something this large.