Decorating Ideas
MainDo-It-Yourself GuidesDecorating TipsRoom PlanningBuying GuidesGlossary

Queen Anne Furniture Still Reigns

If you're like many home decor enthusiasts, Queen Anne-style furniture may very well reign supreme in your home. A Queen Anne-style dining room chair may welcome dinner guests to the table, or a handsome lowboy may display your priceless treasures.

But how did this stunning style of furniture make its way into modern times and eventually end up in your home? Here's a look at the story behind the reigning queen of furniture.

Queen Anne Period: 1720-1750

Breaking away from the ponderous 17th century pieces, Queen Anne-style furniture picked up steam in America in 1720 thanks to early English settlers. Philadelphia was becoming a center for culture and trading and a taste for worldly items was developing among the colonists. It was during this time that England was emerging from the Middle Ages and furniture was becoming lighter and more graceful.

Queen Anne-style furniture both now and then offered homeowners elegant, comfortable furniture and the first "period" pieces were born. Furniture was often named after reigning monarchs or innovative furniture designers. Queen Anne-style furniture was, of course, named after Queen Anne of England.

Defining Styles of the Queen Anne Period

One of the most definitive styles of Queen Anne furniture has to be the cabriole leg. An ancient form based on an animal's leg from the knee down, the word cabriole derives from an Italian word via the French. Cabinetmakers began replacing the straight, turned legs of chairs and tables with the graceful, curving cabriole leg. The result was a leg with an out-curved knee and an in-curved ankle. Just look at your dining room table to see for yourself!

Another equally important style of Queen Anne furniture was the carved cockle or scallop shell. This carved scallop shell motif emphasized the curvilinear element. A large shell was often carved on the front of a lowboy or chest. A smaller shell was sometimes carved on the knee of a leg. The scallop shell was, on certain pieces, often made more clearly as a sunburst or fan.

Interesting Dinner Talk

Your beautiful Queen Anne-style dining room table has served you through dinner after dinner. Why not give something back to this fabulous piece of furniture by impressing dinner guests with your new-found knowledge of this era? You may surprise both guests and yourself with just how much you know about your dining room table!