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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.
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.