History of French Furniture – A French Affair

History of French Furniture – A French Affair

The French are known for their artistry and bohemian culture, which makes the history of French furniture a fascinating one.

The history of French furniture reflects the country’s rich heritage and culture. The French are renowned for their romance, wine and fine cuisine. The French boulevards have a bohemian elegance and style. It’s no wonder Paris is considered the most romantic city in Europe. And the Parisians are known for their fashion and chic style. Similarly, the history of French furniture reveals this sensibility emanates throughout French interior design.

History of French Furniture – Centuries of Style

The history of French furniture dates back to Medieval times in the tenth century. This Gothic period reflected the harsh times, with thick tapestries to keep out the cold, furniture was basic made from simple heavy oak. It was the Renaissance period in the 1500s where the history of French furniture took off. The Greeks discovered antiquities and classicism. And furniture makers were influenced by the ornate Roman designs – the grandness and intricacy of the French furniture took on echoes of the Greek temples.

History of French Furniture – The Italian Job

In the 1600s, the middle classes grew in wealth and as a result, more artistry was injected into furniture design. Italian craftsmen came to the country to meet growing demand. It was at this point in the history of French furniture that the era of French country furniture was born. Rustic French furniture for relaxed country life created an inviting style that still had elements of the ornate design seen in city homes.

Louis XIV and the early 1700s

The palace of Versailles was built by Louis XIV and is known for its grand paintings, design, French furniture and architecture. The style of this era was synonymous with opulence. The history of French furniture took another twist and turn as designs became more intricate and decorated. What followed was the Regence style inspired by the Orient.

French furniture became pretty and romantic, with rounder shapes.
By the mid to late 1700s French furniture became feminine with secret drawers and compartments. Ornamentation became even more lavish before neo-classicism made a comeback in the late 1700s. When the French Revolution occurred  more austere designs were favoured. Then Napoleon became Emperor and the bourgeois classes rose. The history of French furniture was at its most eclectic as the bourgeois became wealthier and more competitive.

French Country Style

The industrial revolution saw another turn in the history of French furniture as lines became simpler and functional. Country French furniture isn’t so much an era in the history of French furniture, but a way of life that suggested a more relaxed, but sophisticated, way of living as seen in country homes in Bordeaux and Provence. Comfort, warmth and elegance are key – explaining why this kind of furniture has never gone out of style.

Find a Range of French-Style Furniture at The Orchard

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