Antique Furniture Styles

When people discuss furniture, architecture and style they often refer to the style as the actual  period the furniture, piece, room or building comes from, or at least draws influence from. At Wills Furniture we generally acknowledge the styles of the early 20th Century with additions through until the 1950s, with design adjustments to suit the times we live in. For the main we remain faithful to this period that to some extent does remain timeless.But obviously we pay homage to Chippendale and other ever popular designs as well. See our catalogue for a great reveal of the various lounges, sofas, armchairs, dining chairs, ottomans and bedheads that make up our current range.

Here is a handy reference to furniture styles both original and reproduction:

Queen Anne, 1700–1755


Queen Anne was the British Monarch from 1700 to 1755. Her reign on the throne saw what is now described as a simple, unpretentious style of furniture become the norm for that period.

Queen Anne style is refined, graceful and modest – it features gentle curves and manifests in shapely silhouettes.

Georgian, 1714–1838


The Georgian period extended well over a hundred years seeing four King Georges ascend the English throne in that period. It was seen to be a heavy, ornate, a progressive development of the Queen Anne style but then was soon refined over time.

The Chippendale is the most recognisable furniture from Georgian times with its intricate carved set backs and ball and claw feet. The style became popular when Thomas Chippendale published his furniture designs in 1754, in ‘The Gentleman and Makers Directory’.

The English tastes of that time ran to rather eclectic in that there were Chinese, French and Gothic influences. In the later 17th Century, Chippendale’s designs were superseded by Adam, Sheraton and Hobblewhite with more formal straight lines, horizontal slots and an overall more formal look and feel.

French, 1715–1774


In this time Louis XV was the King in France. An elegant, relaxed and graceful furniture style evolved there during his reign and it remains popular to this day. In broad terms French Furniture describes a mix of Baroque, Neo Classical and Rococco design utilised by French designers and Artisans.

French furniture is often smaller with delicate carving and painted finishes designed to both comfort us and address fashion.

Regency, 1709–1830


This style of furniture evolved in the reign of the Prince of Wales as Regent and remained fashionable until 1830. It is a further development of Georgian style with strong Greek and Egyptian influences. It is generally symmetrical, linear, graceful and well proportioned.It is said to have a graceful classical feel.

Victorian, 1840–1910


Many earlier furniture styles enjoyed a revival of popularity during the reign of Queen Victoria. A high proportion of the furniture produced during this time featured neo-gothic, rococco and neo – classical forms resulting in heavy, highly ornate pieces with reams of plush fabric. It was the first furniture style in history that enjoyed mass production in the new factories of the industrial age.

Art Deco, 1900–1950


Appearing in France as a visual arts design style just prior to World War 1, this furniture genre then flourished in the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s, gradually fading in popularity after WWII.

Art Deco is a bold, eclectic style that combines traditional crafted motifs with machinery produced imagery and materials. Using rich colours and bold geometric shapes, it was a massive departure from the delicate, decorative and refined furniture styles of the previous two millennia. Art Deco opened up the public to a style exuding luxury, glamour, exuberance and demonstrated a longing for social and technological progress.

Next week we hope to continue our series on designers and interior decorators and some of their simply stunning creations. Stay tuned.


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