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Designer Monthly Preview

The woman who helped usher the interior design industry into full flower in the United States was prolific in putting out ideas that will help freshen up today's interior design business. Look at our latest Designer Monthly, Interior Design: Look Forward by Looking Back to Dorothy Draper.

Did you ever have a problem designing small spaces?  Take a look at how top interior designers solved this common problem in our latest Designer Monthly, How to Design Small Spaces at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House.





Antiques versus Reproductions

Dining room at Old Westbury Gardens

I’m frequently asked by budding interior design students – do I need to know about antique furniture? Many clients can’t afford it! Or another refrain:  I don’t understand the different styles of period furniture – help! To which I reply: Yes, you do need to know about antique furniture and yes, I can help you figure out the different nuances of the period styles. 

Antique furniture is very expensive – first, they are a limited supply, second, they’re usually made of rare (or even extinct) woods and finally because of their exquisite craftsmanship. Since antiques are limited but still sought after, furniture manufacturers have created reproductions of the popular styles. And this is where your expertise comes in handy. If you know how the original antiques looked like and how they were made, then you can better assess whether or not the furniture makers did a good job with the reproductions.

Let’s compare some originals and reproductions!

Louis XV Fauteuil from 1st DibsA popular French period style is the Louis XV style, also known as the Rococo style.  A Louis XV chair will feature a cabriole leg – an S-shaped leg – that is carved and decorated with shells or floral motifs.  The chair will also display the same carved motifs on its chair rail and seat rail. In the above photo, we have an original Louis XV antique fauteuil or armchair. Furniture of this period was made of expensive woods like walnut or oak. Chairs were typically upholstered in expensive silks.

Below we have a reproduction of the Louis XV style from Ethan Allen.  Their Chantel chair boasts of the same cabriole leg and the curved chair and seat rail but the details are simplified with none of the shell or floral motifs of the original. Also, the reproductions are made of a less expensive wood like maple or birch. In this case, the manufacturer did a wonderful job of recreating a Louis XV reproduction, albeit a simplified version.

Chantel chair from Ethan Allen

Stay tuned for next week's discussions on Antiques versus Reproductions!


Interested in learning more about antique furniture styles?  Take a look at Sheffield School's Complete Course in Interior Design.  At Sheffield, you will learn how to transform a space, create color schemes, and select furniture, lighting, and accessories.

Reader Comments (8)

Fabulous interior design. Talking about the chairs are really awesome and gives rich look to the dinning table.
July 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVeranda
Like the designs of the chairs. Surely I'll design one for myself. Thanks for the share.
July 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLakhyajyoti
We love genuine antiques at we always try to break news gently to people who come in with reproductions expecting them to fetch the same value as genuine antiques. That said sometimes people come in with what they think migh not be genuine and one of our experts offers baed on them deciding it's a genuine item.
Antique reproductions any ways works wonders as they are a way to restore your old antiques which otherwise are a costly venture to altogether buy a new one. Hence you can always go in for antique reproductions if you are an antique lover.
August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGilt Mirrors
Nice chairs, i have a dutch website where i get all my chairs and tables.
August 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeter
It's very hard to tell the difference, particularly in these two images. In the second photo, the fabric appears older as it's more of a tapestry. Unfortunately, many old name designers and manufacturers themselves have begun reproducing their old designs, especially when the see how much the originals are selling for. All this does is lower the market value of those originals.

Lorraine at
October 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLorraine Syratt
Yes, I totally agree on your point about the price and look of those rare antique pieces. I loved your posting regarding this topic.

If you want to make some videos for promoting your articles then please do tell me. Below is one of the example that I made myself -
February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGSA captcha breaker
your blog is awesome i love reading it again and again. keep writing such beautiful post.
March 3, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterana cordova

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