Gothic Furniture – What is it?

Do you have a taste for opulence? Are you drawn to ornate and highly detailed elements? If so, then there’s no doubt you’ll be taken with gothic-inspired furniture.

Gothic architecture, which dates back to the Middle Ages and originated in France, is one of the most popular styles featured in some of the most famous European castles and cathedrals. This style is ornate, bold, and lavish, and it’s making a huge comeback. In recent years, there has been a big increase in gothic revival in homes throughout the world. One of the easiest ways to incorporate this style into your home is with gothic furniture; cabinets, tables, chairs, dressers, and more. This type of furniture is constructed of solid wood in dark hues, and it’s embellished with decorative carvings, curves, and hardware. Not only is gothic furniture stunning, but it’s also incredibly sturdy; if it’s well-constructed, it can last for years.

A History of Gothic Furniture

If the idea of gothic furniture is intriguing to you, before you start shopping for pieces or hire a craftsman to design and construct furnishings for you, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of the history of this type of furniture.

As you can probably assume, gothic furniture originated during the gothic period, which originated in France during the 12th century. As mentioned, this style of architecture is quite ornate; the structures are tall and feature elements like flying buttresses, pointed arches, gargoyles, stained glass, and intricate carvings. It is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful styles of architecture ever created.

As the style of architecture grew, it started being introduced into furniture design. Cabinets, tables, chairs, and other furnishing were constructed of wood and featured quintessential elements, such as rose, trefoil, quatrefoil, and linen-fold designs.

The period of gothic architecture came to an end in the 16th century, when the renaissance period came to light. As the design was no longer in fashion, gothic furniture was no longer created. However, during the 19th century Victorian era, there was a resurgence of gothic design. In fact, it became so popular the period between 1840 and 1860 became known as the Gothic Revival era. Furniture that was created during this time period was known as “New Gothic” and it was commonly featured in colonial homes. Popularity of New Gothic furniture spread to Europe, where it became a popular element throughout many homes.

Features of Gothic Furniture

Now that you have a brief history of gothic furniture, let’s discuss some of the features of this style of furniture.

  • Durable woods. Gothic furniture is constructed of highly durable hardwood materials. Common woods used in this type of furniture include walnut, cherry, rosewood, mahogany, and oak. It’s because of this style of furniture that some of the most popular elements seen in all styles of furnishings exist today, including chair backs and feet on dressers and chests, as these elements increased the durability of the furniture. Chair backs, for example, reduced the effects of wear and tear as a result of daily use, and feet made it easier to move dressers and chests without compromising the integrity of the structure.
  • Spaciousness. Gothic furniture is famous for spaciousness, making it the ideal choice if you are looking for lots of storage space. Cupboards, dressers, and sideboards feature deep and wide drawers, cabinets, and shelves.
  • Intricate carvings. Another quintessential element of gothic furniture is intricate carvings, which comes as no surprise, as this style of architecture is famous for ornate details. Carvings can feature a variety of shapes and designs, such as vines and floral motives; checkered and honeycomb panels are also commonly featured in this type of furniture.

Gothic Furniture Options

So, what type of furniture can you incorporate in your home that has a gothic-inspired look? There are a variety of elements that you can use. Some of the most popular kinds of gothic furniture include:

  • Chairs. As mentioned, gothic design, specifically the Gothic Revival era, which occurred during the Victorian Era of the mid-1800s, is the reason why chair backs exist, so in essence, any type of chair that features a back can be considered “gothic”. However, if you really want to incorporate this style into your home, look for chairs that not only feature backs, but that are also constructed of dark colored woods, and feature dramatic curved shapes in the back panels, the legs, and the arms.
  • Chests. Another fantastic way to incorporate gothic furniture into your home is with a chest that features this type of design. Chests of the gothic era tend to be oversized, as they were designed to offer more space; they’re also made out of dark hardwoods and feature, as mentioned, legs, which make it chests easier to move without affecting the structural integrity of the piece. Look for gothic chests that feature ornate carvings in the front panels, curved feet, and deep drawers.
  • Dressers. Like chests, gothic dressers are also very popular, offer plenty of storage space, and feature dramatic designs. These pieces are constructed of dark hardwood, feature curved ,yet sturdy legs, and offer deep drawers. Look for designs that have ornate designs carved into the wood, and pieces that feature elaborate hardwood, such as gold or bronze drawer pulls.
  • Tables. Gothic tables are oversized and dramatic, yet elegant. Like all other forms of gothic furniture, tables are also made of dark colored hardwoods, such as cherry, mahogany, and rosewood. The legs are curved and feature detailed feet. They can also have panels with decorative details etched into the tops, and can be expanded to offer more space with leaves.

Conclusion

Gothic furniture is more than just bold, beautiful, and eye-catching; it’s also sturdy, durable, and spacious. If you’re looking to make a statement in your home, or you want to make an investment in furniture that you know will last a long time, consider incorporating gothic-inspired furniture throughout your home. You can either purchased pre-fabricated pieces, or work with a craftsman who specializes in this type of design who can create a one-of-a-kind piece for you.