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Furniture Styles

Main Core Tie

Interior Design 2
Strand 6

Additional Core Ties

Interior Design 2
Strand 6 Standard 2

Time Frame

1 class periods of 90 minutes each


Esther Larson


In this lesson,furniture styles are taught using a PowerPoint presentation and a group activity.


  • 1. Introduction - PowerPoint Presentation
  • 2. Worksheet on Styles
  • 3. Furniture Styles - PowerPoint Presentation

Background for Teachers

Furniture Styles

Seventeenth Century

  1. The dominant style during the time of the Pilgrims
  2. Heavy and rectangular
  3. Geometric or floral carvings
  4. Turnings
  5. Stools and benches were more common than chairs
  6. Chairs had straight backs and hard plank seats
  7. The furniture was often painted black, red, or yellow
  8. Chests and cupboards were important for storage
  9. Tables were less common than chests

William and Mary 1700-1725

  1. Delicate and intricate
  2. Fine carvings and trims
  3. Chairs, the most common piece of furniture, had curved backs and seats of rush
  4. Gateleg table -- a table with legs on each side that swing out to support drop leaves that are pulled up from the sides
  5. Highboy -- a chest of drawers mounted on legs

Queen Anne 1720-1755

  1. Graceful curved lines
  2. Cabriole leg -- a leg that curves out at the middle and then tapers inward just above an ornamental foot
  3. Upholstered furniture became widely available
  4. Wing chair -- an arm chair with a high back and high sides, or wings, extending from each side and designed to give protection from drafts.
  5. Windsor chair --aa chair with stick legs and a spindle back inserted into a saddle-shaped seat


  1. Thomas Chippendale was the first to publish a book of furniture designs
  2. Claw-and-ball feet
  3. Oriental inspired designs with straight legs
  4. Camelback sofa - curved back and sides
  5. The furniture was heavier and more solid than Queen Anne


  1. Chairs had square or rectangular backs
  2. Reeding -- a decorative carving consisting of vertical lines that resemble thin reeds or stems of tall grass


  1. Chairs -- had a decorative backs in the shape of a shield, an oval, or a heart with tapered legs

Duncan Phyfe

  1. Pedestal tables with curved legs and brass feet
  2. Chairs with backs shaped like lyres -- musical instruments resembling a small harps


  1. Plain and simple


  1. Characterized by highly carved dark woods and curved lines
  2. Inlaid floral patterns with rich upholstery

Modern Contemporary

Instructional Procedures

1. Give the introduction in a PowerPoint presentation. Divide the class into teams, then, like the Price is Right, the team that gets the closest gets the point. Have them guess when the furniture originated. Examples: Klismos chair = Greek, Tubular furniture = 1930s, etc. The team that gets the closest gets candy.

2. Why study furniture styles? Before starting the styles impress upon them that we study furniture styles because it reflects on people. Furniture arose out of a human need. Some furniture is for function and other furniture arose for appearance. Have them think about this as you study styles.

3. From magazines have the students find a piece of furniture that they really like.

4. Divide the class into groups, enough so that you have five people in each group. Now in each group have them number off 1 to 5. Divide into second groups according to their numbers. All the ones go together, all the twos, etc. Put labels on the tables. For example, there are a Jacobean and a William and Mary table. Each of the new groups was assigned two of the styles.

5. Hand out the worksheet for them to fill in. Emphasize that, at this point, they only have to fill in the two styles they are assigned. They have ten minutes to take notes on their styles. They need to write down any distinguishing features and main information. They must be thorough enough to go back and teach their first group about their style. They also need to look in the book and find some examples of the style to show to the group.

6. Move back to original group. Each group member will report to the other group what they learned about their styles. There is to be no copying.

7. To reinforce what they have just learned show the Styles PowerPoint presentation. As you show it, have them write down on their furniture pictures (cut out from magazines) any distinguishing features the furniture may have and from what period it could have originated.


1. Homes Today and Tomorrow by Ruth F. Sherwood Copyright 2002 2. Nancy Lunak

Created: 05/01/2003
Updated: 01/19/2023