Different Styles Of Antique Furniture
How To Identify Different Styles Of Antique Furniture
Need some help with identifying antique furniture? Here is a quick guide to help you distinguish between the different looks. It will also help you pick out the one that closely matches your décor and taste.
- Jacobean: English style (1640-1700), medieval in appearance with straight lines, rigid designs, sturdy construction, ornate carvings and a dark finish.
- Early American: Modelled after European furniture styles (1640-1700), particularly from England, France, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Spain. Rudimentary utilitarian furniture made from local woods.
- William and Mary: Dutch and Chinese influences, characterized by trumpet turned legs terminating in a ball or Spanish foot, padded or caned chair seats, and Oriental lacquer-work. Named after William and Mary of England (1690-1725).
- Queen Anne: A graceful and moderately proportioned version of the above style, characterized by cabriole legs terminating in a pad or drake foot, fiddle-back chair back, and bat wing shaped drawer pulls. Named after Queen Anne of England (1700-1755).
- Colonial: Conservative and less ornate than other styles made from 1700-1780, it combines some characteristics of William and Mary, Queen Anne, and Chippendale.
- Georgian: A more decorative version of the Queen Anne style with heavier proportions, elaborately carved cabriole legs terminating in a pad or ball-and-claw foot, ornate carvings, pierced back splats, and the use of gilding. Named after George I and George II who reigned over England from 1714-1760.
- Pennsylvania Dutch: A simple, functional American country style (1720-1830) with Germanic influences and characterized by colourful folk painting on case pieces.
- Chippendale: Has French, Chinese and Gothic influences. American Chippendale, however, isa more ornate version of the Queen Anne style with cabriole legs, ball-and-claw foot, and broken pediment scroll top on tall case pieces. Named after British designer and cabinet maker Thomas Chippendale (1750-1790).
- Robert Adam: Named after architect Robert Adam (1760-1795)who designed furniture with classical details to fit the character of his classically designed homes in England.
- Hepplewhite: Neoclassic, characterized by a delicate appearance, tapered legs and the use of contrasting veneers and inlay. Named after English designer and cabinetmaker George Hepplewhite (1727-1786).
- Federal: Combines the neoclassic characteristics of Hepplewhite and Sheraton. It is characterized by graceful straight lines, light construction, tapered legs, and the use of inlay, and contrasting veneers. Period – (1789-1823).
- Sheraton: Also neoclassical with delicate straight lines, light construction, contrasting veneers and neoclassical motifs and ornamentation. Named after English designer Thomas Sheraton (1785-1820).
- Duncan Phyfe: Considered by some as an adaptation and refinement of Adam, Sheraton, Hepplewhite, and Empire type of furniture. It is characterized by carved or reeded legs and neoclassic motifs. Named after American cabinetmaker Duncan Phyfe (1795-1848).
- American Empire: Patterned after the French Empire with classical influences. It is moderately proportioned with classical ornamentation, coarse carving, and a dark finish. Period – (1800-1840).
- Shaker: Simple and functional, produced by the religious group, the United Society of Believers in self-contained communities within the United States. It is characterized by straight tapered legs, woven square chair seats and mushroom shaped wooden knobs. Period – (1820-1860)
- Victorian: The first furniture style of mass production (1840-1910), influenced by gothic forms with heavy proportions, dark finish, elaborate carving, and ornamentation. Named for Queen Victoria of England.
- Arts and Craft: The Arts and Craft style (1880-1910) also referred to as the Mission style is characterized by simple utilitarian design and construction.
- Art Nouveau: A naturalistic style (1890-1910)characterized by intricately detailed patterns and curving lines.
Tips on How to Style Your Home with Antique Furniture
When buying antique furniture in Toronto, it is vital that you focus on the piece itself and how it will fit into your overall home décor. You could have a dozen pieces of furniture that are stunning in their own right, but when staged together in one room, they might not gel the way you want them to. Here are a few tips for styling your Toronto home with antique furniture so that everything comes together in a cohesive and stylish way.
A statement piece is the focus of any room, and your antique furniture can serve this purpose beautifully. As the focal point, this piece should draw the eye immediately. For example, a large, ornate dresser or an antique buffet can make a stunning statement that anchors your room and ties everything else together.
Accent pieces are smaller furniture items that complement the statement piece and round out the room. For example, a small end table or a delicate chair can add just the right touch to a room anchored by a statement piece like an antique dresser. Even something like a small rug or a piece of wall art can serve as an accent piece if it ties in with the overall aesthetic of the room.
Layering is key when creating a stylish and cohesive look with your antique furniture. In any room, you should have different levels. For example, a low coffee table in front of a couch with end tables on either side. You could also set up a dresser with a mirror above it and smaller items like lamps or vases on top of the dresser. Layering gives a room dimension and interest and helps to create a well-rounded look.
The Antique Home
There’s nothing wrong with filling out your rooms with antique furniture as long as every piece complements the overall design. Some people might be afraid of creating a space that’s too old-fashioned, but the use of antiques actually lends a warm and inviting atmosphere to a home.
If you have any antique collections, such as china, silver, or paintings, make sure to display them in a way that complements your furnishings. For example, you might want to hang a collection of plates on a wall above an antique buffet or on a shelf above a fireplace. Or you could display a collection of silver in a glass-front cabinet. Doing so creates a beautiful and stylish vignette that adds personality to your home.
Mixing Styles & Periods
One of the most important things to remember when styling your home with antique furniture is that there are no hard-and-fast rules. Mixing modern and antique furniture can create a look that is uniquely your own. For example, you might pair an antique Victorian couch with a mid-century modern coffee table.
Distinguishing between the different styles of antique furniture can be challenging especially if this is your first experience with vintage items. Consider going to an established antique dealer or furniture store to for the best advice and value. If you are in Toronto or the GTA, get in touch with Carrocel Furniture Store.