How to identify antique chair styles

Written by yvonne van damme
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How to identify antique chair styles
Examine an antique chair to determine the style. (antique hand painted dining chair image by James Phelps from

The attention to detail and expert craftsmanship that is the hallmark of antique chairs makes them desirable. An antique chair is generally one that is at least 100 years old. As collecting antique chairs is popular, there are copies made of just about every antique chair style. If you have found antique chairs and don't know the style, there are some clues about which style they belong to.

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  1. 1

    Examine the arms and legs of the chair for the nature of the curves. If the legs are curved, also known as cabriole legs, with a simple scallop-cut mount, it's likely a genuine antique chair in the Queen Anne style. This antique chair style came about in the early 18th century. Other markers of the Queen Anne style include being made of woods such as walnut, cherry or mahogany.

  2. 2

    Compare the size and shape of the chair. If it's a smaller chair, in addition to a smaller scale, it may be the Regency style which started in the early 19th century. Chairs in the Regency style are almost always made up of mahogany. Another trademark of this antique chair style is bold curves.

  3. 3

    Look at the chair to see whether the arms are attached or detached. If there are detached arms, it could be the Rococo style. It is a whimisical, 18th century style. The chairs of Rococo design tend to have the detached, cushioned arms and a long, cushioned back. They are also made of mahogany.

  4. 4

    Feel the weight of the chair. If the chair is massive in size, as well as heavy, it may be the Victorian style which came about in the late 19th century. This antique chair style was usually made up of walnut, rosewood or mahogany and has a dark and shiny finish. There are usually very ornate carvings on the furniture pieces as well.

Tips and warnings

  • Examine furniture in person to determine if they are true antique pieces.

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