12 Characteristics of Louis XVI Furniture Era
Louis XVI in some ways was a rather dramatic change, bringing on a more delicate and dainty appearance to the style of furniture. However, some of the characteristics of Louis XVI were brought forward from the previous Louis styles.
- The structure of Louis XVI furniture evolved into a more linear and rectangular style giving up the ostentatious curves and bows of the previous Louis styles.
- The legs were mostly straight, either being reeded, turned and fluted or turned and spiral.
- Classicism returned, although it was more naïve than that of the Brothers Adam and often appears dainty and somewhat playful.
- Generally speaking, all the elements were fine and dainty, perhaps appearing more so following the Louis XIV and Louis XV eras.
- Ornament changed dramatically from the two previous periods. It became far more subtle. The depictions were of cherubs, nymphs, birds and pastoral scenes.
- Flat surfaces on cabinets were often framed by straight borders or parallel borders rather than ornament.
- Bisymmetric balance returned.
- The colors tended toward the pastels with lots of neutrals, again a departure from the previous eras.
- Furniture was often painted. In fact, more furniture was painted during this era than any other period.
- The overall style is definitely feminine, being dainty and in many cases the pieces were smaller.
- Mahogany was the wood of preference although all woods were used.
- Upholstery fabrics were mostly brocades, as in the two previous eras, but with smaller and quieter designs.