Furniture Style GuideThe Furniture Style Guide describes and dates nineteen popular furniture styles and their distinctivecomponents.Click on a style name for detailed information.Jacobean (1600-1690)An English style of furniture, which is medieval in appearance with straight lines, rigid designs,sturdy construction, ornate carvings and a dark finish. Much of the early American furniture waspatterned after this style.Early American (1640-1700)Rudimentary utilitarian furniture made from local woods. It was brought from or modeled afterEuropean furniture styles, particularly from England, France, the Netherlands, Scandinavia andSpain.William and Mary (1690-1725)Named after William and Mary of England (1689-1694). It has Dutch and Chinese influences and is
characterized by trumpet turned legs terminating in a ball or Spanish foot, padded or caned chairseats, and Oriental lacquer-work.Queen Anne (1700-1755)Named after Queen Anne of England who reigned from 1702-1714. The Queen Anne style is arefinement of the William and Mary style with a moderately proportioned, graceful appearance. It ischaracterized by cabriole legs terminating in a pad or drake foot, fiddle-back chair back, and batwing shaped drawer pulls.Colonial (1700-1780)Combined the furniture style characteristics of William and Mary, Queen Anne, andChippendale. Colonial furniture tended to be more conservative and less ornate than English andEuropean furniture of the same style period.Georgian (1714-1760)Named after George I and George II who reigned England from 1714-1760. Georgian furniture is amore ornate version of Queen Anne. It is characterized by heavier proportions, elaborately carvedcabriole legs terminating in a pad or ball-and-claw foot, ornate carvings, pierced back splats, andthe use of gilding.
Pennsylvania Dutch (1720-1830)A simple, utilitarian American country style of furniture with Germanic influences. It is characterizedby colorful folk painting on case pieces.Chippendale (1750-1790)Named after British designer and cabinet maker Thomas Chippendale, who published his furnituredesigns in "The Gentleman and Cabinet Makers Director" in 1754. The Chippendale style can beclassified into three types: French influence, Chinese influence, and Gothic influence. In the UnitedStates, the Chippendale style was a more elaborate development of the Queen Anne style withcabriole legs, ball-and-claw foot, and broken pediment scroll top on tall case pieces.Robert Adam (1760-1795)Named for architect Robert Adam who studied ancient architecture in Italy. While in England, hedesigned furniture with classical details that would fit the character of his classically designedhomes. The Adam style was limitedly reproduced by cabinetmakers in the United States. Adaminterior millwork and woodwork was reproduced in South Carolina.
Hepplewhite (1765-1800)Named after English designer and cabinetmaker George Hepplewhite whose designs in "TheCabinet Maker and Upholsterers Guide" were published posthumously in 1788. The Hepplewhitestyle is neoclassic and was reproduced in the United States particularly in the Carolinas, Maryland,New England, New York and Virginia. It is characterized by a delicate appearance, tapered legsand the use of contrasting veneers and inlay.Federal (1780-1820)Combined the neoclassic furniture style characteristics of Hepplewhite and Sheraton. It ischaracterized by graceful straight lines, light construction, tapered legs, and the use of inlay, andcontrasting veneers.Sheraton (1780-1820)Named for English designer Thomas Sheraton who published his designs in "The Cabinet Makersand Upholsterers Drawing Book" in 1791. It is a neoclassical style characterized by delicate straightlines, light construction, contrasting veneers and neoclassical motifs and ornamentation. TheSheraton style was the most reproduced style in the United States during the Federal period.
Duncan Phyfe (1795-1848)Named after American cabinetmaker Duncan Phyfe. The Duncan Phyfe style is considered bysome art historians as more of an adaptation and refinement of Adam, Sheraton, Hepplewhite, andEmpire than a style in itself. It is characterized by carved or reeded legs and neoclassic motifs.American Empire (1800-1840)Patterned after French Empire with classical influences. It is moderate in proportion with classicalornamentation, coarse carving, and a dark finish.Shaker (1820-1860)A simple and utilitarian style produced by the religious group, the United Society of Believers, inself-contained communities within the United States. It is characterized by straight tapered legs,woven square chair seats and mushroom shaped wooden knobs.Victorian (1840-1910)
Named for Queen Victoria of England who reigned from 1837-1901. The Victorian style draws itsinfluence from gothic forms with heavy proportions, dark finish, elaborate carving, andornamentation. The Victorian period was the first furniture style of mass production.Arts and Craft (1880-1910)The Arts and Craft is characterized by simple utilitarian design and construction. Arts and Craft stylefurniture is also referred to as Mission.Art Nouveau (1890-1910)A naturalistic style characterized by intricately detailed patterns and curving lines.Scandinavian Contemporary (1930-1950)A simple utilitarian design style in natural wood popularized by Danish and Swedish designers.