Clarifying the Various Types of Antique Furniture

A Quick-Reference Guide to Help Differentiate Various Styles of Antique Furniture

From the perspective of age, using the word antique to describe an item is certainly open to interpretation; based on date of production, style, and/or degree of availability, people may assign the label of ‘antique’ to anything that is more than 25 years old.  In terms of antique furniture, however, this time frame is too short to qualify for this classification; customarily, a piece or set is considered to be antique furniture when it is over 100 years old.

Yet even after this age aspect is clarified, the term antique furniture is still a rather broad, general category.  Therefore, we need to turn our attention to some of the other factors that will help to define antique furniture by specific age and era; these features commonly include:

  • Style
  • Function
  • Condition
  • Craftsmanship

With the above in mind, here is a brief summary to help you differentiate various types of antique furniture styles, with an emphasis on their historical period, wood construction, and identifying characteristics (in the interest of time and space, only the traditional English and American styles are represented here):

English-Made Antique Furniture Styles

StyleCenturyConstructionDistinguishing Characteristics
Queen Anne StyleEarly 18thPrimarily walnut
  • Graceful curves; minimal decoration
Georgian Furniture (4 styles)Late 18thMahogany
  • Chippendale: ornate carvings and intricate chair backs
  • Adam: straight and slender lines; strong Greek classic influence
  • Hepplewhite: straight and tapered legs; oval-shaped chair backs
  • Sheraton: more upright lines; Greek classic influence; inlays; thick veneers
Regency AntiquesEarly 19thMahogany
  • Simple curves; smaller; use of colour
Victorian EraLate 19thMahogany, walnut, and rosewood
  • Heavy and large in size; dark finishes; ornate carvings; some use of marble

American-Made Antique Furniture Styles

StyleCenturyConstructionDistinguishing Characteristics
Early Colonial17thPine, birch, maple
  • Solid; square lines and heavily carved
Late Colonial18thPine, mahogany
  • Blend of Queen Anne/Georgian styles
Federal StyleEarly 19thMahogany, cherry
  • Heavier versions of English furniture styles (with some French influence)
Pennsylvania DutchLate 17th to Mid-19thMaple, pine, walnut and fruitwoods
  • Solid yet plain style; colourful painted decorations
Shaker StyleLate 18th to Mid-19thPine, maple
  • Superior craftsmanship and design; focus on function versus decoration

Add Elegance to Your Décor from Our Striking Inventory of Antique Furniture

Of course, reading about different antique furniture styles in a table does not provide a true picture of their respective quality and tell-tale characteristics.  For this, you might want to consider a visit to the Carrocel fine furniture store in Toronto, perhaps in person or online to appreciate first-hand our striking collection of antique furniture and accessories.

Our exquisite inventory consists of pieces and sets in a wide range of English, French, and American styles such as:

  • Art Deco
  • Victorian
  • Regency
  • Georgian
  • Louis XV and XVI

This collection is on display in our 20,000 square-foot showroom, located at 245 Bridgeland Avenue near Yorkdale Mall; a cross-section of the furniture pieces that you will see during a visit to our showroom includes the following:

Pair of Serpentine-Front Georgian Grey Chests

Pair of Serpentine-Front Georgian Grey Chests

Duchess Bureau in Lacquered Black

Duchess Bureau in Lacquered Black

  • An American designed piece with long, thin, curved legs and decorative brass mounts
  • Slanted front doors open to a compartmentalized interior with a leather writing surface
  • Duchess bureau in lacquered black

Antique Walnut Louis XVI Style Dresser by Kindel

Antique Walnut Louis XVI Style Dresser by Kindel

Ebonized Mahogany Regency Style Table Stands

Ebonized Mahogany Regency Style Table Stands

Add an aura of elegance to your home décor with a piece or set of antique furniture that will be the envy of family and friends alike.  Call the antique furniture experts at Carrocel today at 416-999-2525 or Contact us to book a complimentary consultation with a member of our staff.  And please feel free to visit with us in our in-store showroom at your leisure.

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