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Column vs. Pedestal: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
A column is a vertical, structural element, often cylindrical, that supports a building, while a pedestal is a base supporting a statue, vase, or column.
Column vs. Pedestal

Key Differences

A column is a structural element, typically cylindrical, used to support a building or other structure. It often bears weight from the structure above. In contrast, a pedestal is used as a base for a statue, vase, or sometimes a column itself, providing support and elevation but not typically bearing the weight of a larger structure.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 06, 2023
Columns are integral to the architecture of a building and can be decorative or functional, featuring designs from classical orders like Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. Pedestals, however, are primarily used to elevate and display objects, emphasizing their importance and enhancing visibility.
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In terms of materials, columns can be made from stone, marble, wood, or metal, depending on their architectural requirements. Pedestals are often made of similar materials but are chosen more for aesthetic compatibility with the object they support than for structural strength.
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Columns can be found both inside and outside buildings, forming part of the structure or façade. Pedestals are more commonly found in interior settings or in gardens, where they serve as bases for art, plants, or decorative items.
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Historically, columns have played a crucial role in the structural integrity of buildings, especially in ancient Greek and Roman architecture. Pedestals, while also historical, have been more focused on presentation and ornamentation, elevating artworks or important figures in a literal sense.
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Comparison Chart

Function

Structural support
Base for display
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Placement

Part of building architecture
Under statues, vases, or columns
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Material

Stone, marble, wood, metal
Often matches displayed object
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Design Purpose

Can be decorative or functional
Primarily decorative
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Historical Role

Integral in ancient architecture
Used for presentation and display
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Column and Pedestal Definitions

Column

Architectural Support
The building's facade featured elegant marble columns.
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Pedestal

Elevating Stand
A pedestal was used to raise the vase to eye level.
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Column

Decorative Element
Columns in the hallway added a classical touch.
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Pedestal

Ornamental Base
The garden's centerpiece was a sundial on an ornate pedestal.
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Column

Structural Feature
Each column in the temple bore intricate carvings.
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Pedestal

Support Structure
The bronze sculpture was mounted on a circular pedestal.
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Column

Classical Architecture
The ancient ruins were distinguished by their Corinthian columns.
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Pedestal

Display Base
The statue of the hero stood proudly on a granite pedestal.
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Column

A vertical structure usually consisting of a base, a cylindrical shaft, and a capital, used as a support or standing alone as a monument.
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Pedestal

Artistic Foundation
Each pedestal in the gallery bore a unique artwork.
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Column

Any slender vertical support, as of steel or reinforced concrete.
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Pedestal

An architectural support or base, as for a column or statue.
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Column

Something resembling an architectural column in form or function
A column of mercury in a thermometer.
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Pedestal

A support or foundation.
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Column

One of two or more vertical sections of text lying side by side in a document and separated by a rule or a blank space.
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Pedestal

A position of high regard or adoration.
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Column

An arrangement of numbers in a single vertical line.
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Pedestal

To place on or provide with a pedestal.
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Column

A feature article that appears regularly in a publication, such as a newspaper.
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Pedestal

(architecture) The base or foot of a column, statue, vase, lamp.
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Column

A formation, as of troops or vehicles, in which all elements follow one behind the other.
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Pedestal

(figuratively) A place of reverence or honor.
He has put his mother on a pedestal. You can't say a word against her.
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Column

(Botany)A columnlike structure, especially one formed by the union of a stamen and the style in an orchid flower, or one formed by the united staminal filaments in flowers such as those of the hibiscus or mallow.
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Pedestal

(rail transport) A casting secured to the frame of a truck of a railcar and forming a jaw for holding a journal box.
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Column

(Anatomy)Any of various tubular or pillarlike supporting structures in the body, each generally having a single tissue origin and function
The vertebral column.
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Pedestal

(machining) A pillow block; a low housing.
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Column

(architecture) A solid upright structure designed usually to support a larger structure above it, such as a roof or horizontal beam, but sometimes for decoration.
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Pedestal

(bridge building) An iron socket, or support, for the foot of a brace at the end of a truss where it rests on a pier.
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Column

A vertical line of entries in a table, usually read from top to bottom.
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Pedestal

(steam heating) a pedestal coil, group of connected straight pipes arranged side by side and one above another, used in a radiator.
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Column

A body of troops or army vehicles, usually strung out along a road.
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Pedestal

(telecommunications) A ground-level housing for a passive connection point for underground cables.
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Column

A body of text meant to be read line by line, especially in printed material that has multiple adjacent such on a single page.
It was too hard to read the text across the whole page, so I split it into two columns.
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Pedestal

(electronics) The measured value when no input signal is given.
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Column

A unit of width, especially of advertisements, in a periodical, equivalent to the width of a usual column of text.
Each column inch costs $300 a week; this ad is four columns by three inches, so will run $3600 a week.
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Pedestal

(aviation) The central part of the cockpit, between the pilots, where various controls are located.
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Column

(by extension) A recurring feature in a periodical, especially an opinion piece, especially by a single author or small rotating group of authors, or on a single theme.
His initial foray into print media was as the author of a weekly column in his elementary-school newspaper.
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Pedestal

The tough protuberant pad covering a dromedary's sternum, which, when the camel lies down, causes the abdomen to be slightly above the hot ground.
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Column

Something having similar vertical form or structure to the things mentioned above, such as a spinal column.
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Pedestal

To set or support on (or as if on) a pedestal.
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Column

(botany) The gynostemium
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Pedestal

The base or foot of a column, statue, vase, lamp, or the like; the part on which an upright work stands. It consists of three parts, the base, the die or dado, and the cornice or surbase molding. See Illust. of Column.
Build him a pedestal, and say, "Stand there!"
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Column

(chemistry) An object used to separate the different components of a liquid or to purify chemical compounds.
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Pedestal

A short free-standing column or column-like object designed to support a work of art or other object; a column serving the same function as the base of a statue. It may be made of wood, marble, or other suitable material.
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Column

A kind of pillar; a cylindrical or polygonal support for a roof, ceiling, statue, etc., somewhat ornamented, and usually composed of base, shaft, and capital. See Order.
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Pedestal

A part of a desk which contains a frame and drawers, stands on the floor, and provides support for the desk surface. There may be zero, one, or two such pedestals in a desk.
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Column

Anything resembling, in form or position, a column in architecture; an upright body or mass; a shaft or obelisk; as, a column of air, of water, of mercury, etc.; the Column Vendôme; the spinal column.
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Pedestal

A casting secured to the frame of a truck and forming a jaw for holding a journal box.
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Column

A body of troops formed in ranks, one behind the other; - contradistinguished from line. Compare Ploy, and Deploy.
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Pedestal

A support or foundation;
The base of the lamp
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Column

A number of ships so arranged as to follow one another in single or double file or in squadrons; - in distinction from "line", where they are side by side.
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Pedestal

A position of great esteem (and supposed superiority);
They put him on a pedestal
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Column

A perpendicular set of lines, not extending across the page, and separated from other matter by a rule or blank space; as, a column in a newspaper.
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Pedestal

An architectural support or base (as for a column or statue)
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Column

A perpendicular line of figures.
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Column

The body formed by the union of the stamens in the Mallow family, or of the stamens and pistil in the orchids.
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Column

One of a series of articles written in a periodical, usually under the same title and at regular intervals; it may be written and signed by one or more authors, or may appear pseudonymously or anonymously, as an editorial column.
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Column

A line of (usually military) units following one after another
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Column

A vertical glass tube used in column chromatography; a mixture is poured in the top and washed through a stationary substance where components of the mixture are adsorbed selectively to form colored bands
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Column

A linear array of numbers one above another
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Column

Anything tall and thin approximating the shape of a column or tower;
The test tube held a column of white powder
A tower of dust rose above the horizon
A thin pillar of smoke betrayed their campsite
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Column

An article giving opinions or perspectives
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Column

A vertical structure standing alone and not supporting anything (as a monument or a column of air)
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Column

(architeture) a tall cylindrical vertical upright and used to support a structure
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Column

Vertical Pillar
The large hall was supported by four massive columns.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can a pedestal be used for seating?

Rarely, as they're typically designed for display purposes.
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Can pedestals be part of outdoor design?

Yes, especially in gardens and public art displays.
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Do columns always reach the ceiling?

Usually, but some are purely decorative and don't.
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Can columns be hollow?

Yes, especially modern ones for aesthetic purposes.
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Are columns always round?

Not necessarily; they can be square or polygonal too.
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Do pedestals come in different shapes?

Yes, they can be round, square, or various other shapes.
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What's the origin of columns in architecture?

They date back to ancient Egyptian and Greek architecture.
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Are all columns load-bearing?

Most are, but some serve only a decorative function.
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Is it common to have a column on a pedestal?

It's unusual but can be found in certain decorative contexts.
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Are columns a feature of modern architecture?

Yes, both in structural and decorative applications.
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Are there different styles of columns?

Yes, including Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, among others.
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Can columns be made of metal?

Yes, especially in modern and industrial structures.
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Can a pedestal be made of glass?

Yes, especially for contemporary or artistic displays.
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Can columns be used indoors?

Yes, both for support and decoration.
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Are pedestals used in museums?

Frequently, for elevating and displaying artifacts.
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Can pedestals be adjustable?

Some modern pedestals are designed to be adjustable.
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Do pedestals have a standard height?

No, it varies based on the object being displayed.
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Can a pedestal be a focal point of design?

Absolutely, especially with an artful or unique design.
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Is marble a common material for pedestals?

Yes, especially for classical or formal displays.
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Do columns need maintenance?

Yes, especially those made of stone or wood.
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Dec 06, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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