A Quick Look at the Modern History of Furniture

A Quick Look at the Modern History of Furniture

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We have the luxury and convenience of being able to choose from a wide variety of Rentan furniture styles, available at various stores and on the internet, of course.  The furniture that we use today, though, all evolved from far more simple sources over the past five centuries.  


The first types of furniture evolved during the Egyptian rule and eventually made its way into the Middle East.  However, furniture as we know it today, in the West, came out of developments following the Dark Ages—and into the Middle Ages of Europe. You may also know this period as the Renaissance.  

During the monarchistic British Tudor reign, furniture was made mostly out of oak.  Obviously, oak was among the most common types of wood available in this region at this time, which is fortunate, of course, since oak is strong, resilient, and beautiful—perfect for making furniture.  Now, there is no clear beginning to this period but we do know that it appeared during the 1500s and probably lasted about 160 years.


There is also no known beginning to this age, but we do know that it likely followed the Oak Age, prominently showing up in history between 1600 and 1730. Some argue that walnut started to be used as furniture wood thanks to improvement in lumber technologies, around this time.


Also known as the Age of Satinwood, this was a time when mahogany grew to be very popular.  During the 18th century, we started to see simplification in style with less ornamentation. Instead, the style trended towards elegance and intricate detail, which is why we see more carved features from this time, particularly in trademarks like the cabriole leg, which led to other elements like ball-and-claw features.


Understated Age of Oak decadence marked the transition from the Elizabethan Age in the 17th century.  Table legs de-evolved, so to speak, becoming straight columns again with shapes becoming more stern and square, quite characteristic of the strict monarchy of the ruling Charles II.  

The 18th CENTURY

Finally, we can start to see furniture evolve during this time to more closely resemble the furniture styles from American, British, and French sensibilities that we can still see today.  In fact, the core characteristics from this time—across the Atlantic—contributed to this “golden age of the cabinetmaker.”