• Traditional Furniture Styles: An Overview

    Bargain shoppers, junkers and pickers dream of finding a beautiful piece of antique furniture that’s ready to be restored to its former glory. However, for amateur furniture restoration buffs, identifying and classifying the furniture can get tricky – past a certain age, they pretty much just all look, well, old. Fortunately, there are traditional furniture styles that can be distinguished by a variety of factors including age (if you can find a year), the style of the construction and other features. The three main types of antique furniture styles are Queen Anne, Chippendale, and Sheraton. Below, we’ve provided a short overview of each style to help you properly identify your next big find!

    an overview of traditional furniture styles

    Chippendale Furniture Style

    • Origin – The Chippendale style arose around the same time as Queen Anne, incorporating many of the same styling and concepts in their construction. Named after Thomas Chippendale, this style of furniture was manufactured throughout the 18th and 19th centuries in the colonies and later the United States of America.
    • Woods –While the main wood for Chippendale furniture was mahogany, cherry, maple, and walnut were also used. This means that you must pay attention to the defining features to tell the difference between Chippendale and Queen Anne.
    • Legs & Feet – There were a variety of pieces used for the Chippendale furniture, however, most notable as the ball-and-claw foot that could be used on everything from desk and chairs to bathtubs. Other popular legs and feet included cabriole legs, ‘lions paw feet,’ ‘the Marlborough’ and the ‘club and the spade.’ Although, the ball-and-claw foot was popular due to its symbolism in colonial culture.
    • Other Features – Other defining features of this style include ornately carved ribbon motifs on chairs and tables and fine upholstery on armrests, seat cushions an seat backs.

    chippendale traditional furniture styles

    Queen Anne Furniture Style

    • Origin –. Modeled after furniture favored by the queen, this style of furniture was heavily used throughout the mid-18th century in England and Colonial America.
    • Woods –The Queen Anne Style had shifted from huge, heavy pieces of furniture to lighter furnishings. They mainly used walnut, but also used maple and cherry, and they heavily used mahogany towards the end of their popular construction.
    • Legs & Feet – This furniture style is known mostly for its ornate cabriole legs. While other styles were used, this is was the main style of furniture legs at that time including tables, chairs, etc.
    • Other Features – Other defining features of the style include the highboy, the lowboy, and the Hogarth chair – click here to find out more about these!

    queen anne traditional furniture styles

    Sheraton Furniture Style

    • Origin – The final traditional style of furniture that we’ll cover is the Sheraton style. Also named after it’s creator, Thomas Sheraton, This style was popular beginning in the 19th century due to the publishing of his popular guidebook, “The Cabinet-Maker and Upholster’s Drawing-Book.”
    • Woods –This is one way that furniture styles can be truly distinguished as Sheraton style furniture is known for utilizing multiple types of wood in the construction of a piece, whereas the former types of furniture were typically constructed of one type of furniture.
    • Legs & Feet – While Queen Anne and Chippendale furniture were known for ornate legs, Sheraton style contrasted with straight legs that may have been tapered or splayed in the back.
    • Other Features – Sheraton pieces are known for being light and elegant, embellished with paintings or carvings and other decoration.

    sheraton traditional furniture styles

    Dawn’s Take

    Furniture has traditional pieces that carry strong character marks since the 16th century.  The three, in order of oldest, were featured throughout the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries; they are Chippendale, Queen Anne, and Sheraton.  They are all formal in design, and the specifics are much to consider.