March 09, 2018
As a lover of antique furniture or antique reproductions, you know firsthand just how difficult it can sometimes be to keep the different style periods apart.
Whether you're a design professional or a lover of antiques who is looking to breathe new life into their home, we've created this easy-to-follow guide that we know you'll find useful.
In it, we're outlining a few of the most popular design style periods.
From Colonial to Postmodern, learn what defines each remarkable era. Then, learn where you can shop for your own stunning antique reproduction furniture.
First on our list of the most important style periods in antique furniture?
The Colonial Period, which lasted roughly between 1700-1780. As you've likely guessed, the look of this furniture was taken almost directly from British styles of design and decor.
You may also have heard this style of furniture referred to as "Chippendale" or "Queen Anne." It's likely you've sat on Chippendale chairs.
The style can be defined by rather ornate carvings in wood, especially walnut and elm. Most furniture was built using the dovetail joint method of connection, also a major marker of this period.
Expect the wood to stained, painted, or even coated in an oil varnish.
Unlike its Colonial ancestor, the Pennsylvania Dutch style was inspired by Germanic, not British, design. Many people wrongly think that "Dutch" is associated with design from Holland -- but in fact, this all comes down to mistranslation.
In fact, it's not the word "Dutch," but "Deutsch" (meaning "German") that the style is really named for.
This next entry on our list of the most popular style periods lasted from about 1720-1830.
If you see lots of tapered legs, lines as opposed to curbs, and painted surfaces as opposed to polished or varnished?
Chances are, it's a Pennsylvania Dutch piece. Shranks, hope chests, and sawbuck tables are some of the most popular items from this period.
Less ornate, these pieces have a more "utilitarian" feel than Colonial design.
Next up on our list of the most important antique furniture style periods?
Items in the American Federal Style, sometimes known as "American Neoclassicism," are mainly made from mahogany, or at least a mahogany veneer over a more affordable cherry wood.
Expect to see lots of straight lines, legs that are tapered, and cushioned chair backs on top of fiddleback or square back shapes. You may also spot different shades of veneers within a single piece, in addition to large, geometric shapes as opposed to more ornate designs.
This period lasted from about 1790 to 1823.
This period lasted from about 1720 to 1820, and is named after the celebrated British furniture craftsman Thomas Sheraton.
Like the Federal Style, Sheraton furniture also embraces large, geometric shapes and Neoclassical lines. However, unlike the Federal Style, which favors rounded and oval shapes, the Sheraton Period relies on more rectangular designs.
The easiest way to spot a piece made within the Sheraton Period?
The legs of the furniture, which will be longer, straight, and look almost like temple columns.
While Federal pieces have a heavier look, Sheraton pieces will appear lighter and more delicate. The period is also defined by the inclusion of brass hardware and bright upholstery.
Furniture from this period, which began in the 1700's and remains popular to this day, was inspired by the design of the Shaker religious sect.
The focus is on utility and simplicity -- so don't expect to see any ornate carvings or bold upholstery patterns here.
The style is also beloved by historians because it was one of the earliest "truly American" furniture styles. It wasn't based on British, German, or French design trends of the period.
Expect to see large pieces, finger joints, slats, and drop leaves. Of course, shaker chairs are the most famous contribution of this sect to the furniture lexicon.
This period, lasting over the course of the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) is another incredibly popular furniture style.
The emphasis here is on ornate carvings and even more ornate upholstery -- think bright, bold patterns, especially of the floral variety. This is also where you'll see tassels, larger sideboards, and bigger overall proportions, and rosewood and mahogany, come into play.
You should also expect to see a lot of velvet and dark colors on furniture made during this period.
The Art Nouveau Period is one of the favorite style periods of both professional interior designers and amateurs alike.
It lasted roughly from 1890-1915, and is best known for its ornate carvings, curved lines, and unexpected shapes.
Far more than just furniture, designers within this period of furniture making saw their creations as "usable art."
Expect lots of whiplash curves, stunning inlays, and even metals. If you spot teak furniture, walnut, and even oak, it may be an Art Nouveau piece.
The final entry on our list of popular antique period styles may not be considered an antique at all by some design experts.
However, if you're looking for something that fits the sleek, minimalistic styles of today's architecture, the furniture made after the year 1950 will likely be a good fit for you.
If you like bold patterns, colors, materials, and aren't afraid to make a statement? Postmodern style will likely be your new best friend.
Think extreme lines, exaggerated proportions, and anything that throws the rulebook out of the window.
We hope this post has educated you about some of the most important style periods of antique reproduction furniture.
Though there are many options to choose from, we know you likely have an era that you like the best.
Whether you've just moved into a new home, or are ready to redecorate, English Georgian American has the stunning antique reproduction furniture or vintage piece you need to make an unforgettable statement in your home.
Spend some time on our website to browse through our incredible collections, and to bring a little bit of history into your home.