French Hunting Style Furniture and Decor

French Hunting style furniture and decor became popular in the court of King Francis I in the 1500s. Yet four hundred years later, it looks just as good in today’s homes. An impressive yet comfortable and welcoming style of decor, the French Hunting style is a great choice for people who enjoy an elevated rustic look. And no, you don’t have to be a hunter to appreciate this fine craftsmanship.

The Origins of French Hunting Style Furniture and Decor

Antique French Carved Henry II Buffet
Antique French Hunting style buffet in our customer’s home

The French Hunting style was made popular by King Francis I (1515 – 1547) who ruled in France at around the same time as King Henry VIII ruled across the channel in England.

Francis I was a great supporter of the arts, especially Italian Renaissance art and architecture. He even tempted Leonardo da Vinci to move to France to create art in the King’s court! King Francis spent a lot of money building and renovating castles and grand stately homes, including Château Fontainebleau, Château d’Amboise and Château de Blois.

Whatever the king did, the royal court followed. Aristocrats also began building châteaux and hunting lodges in the countryside near Paris in the rural Loire Valley. King Francis established a style of decorating these new buildings in a way that was inspired by the hunt and rural life, as well as noble mythological beasts that reflected the regal power of the monarchy. The aristocrats picked up on the look too, of course, following the taste of their King. Thus the French Hunting style was born. Whether this style is featured on a sideboard, buffet, or any other piece, the charm of this antique French style is truly special.

Antique French Hunting Bed
Antique Hunting style bed in our customer’s home.

Renaissance Revival Hunting Style

Hunting style returned to popularity centuries later in France during the Renaissance Revival era in the late 19th century, when the newly wealthy middle class was keen to buy large, ornate and heavily-carved furniture to show off their rise in status. The Hunting style checked all the boxes, boasting fine craftsmanship in the carved details that was sure to impress. It was a very decorative look adorned with carved foliage, vines and animals, as well as handsome barley twists, yet this ornate style was still practical and comfortable to live with, focusing on dark woods rather than glitzy or gilded finishes.

Antique French Hunting Desk
Antique French Hunting style desk with carved griffins… the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. 

Typical Features of French Hunting Style Furniture

To decorate the interior of aristocratic French chateaux and lodges, Hunting style furniture makers turned to symbols of the hunt to create an interesting theme in these luxurious pieces.

  • Carvings inspired by the hunt included stags, fish, birds, dogs, foxes, rabbits and boars.
  • Carvings of mythical creatures included winged griffins, dragons and serpents.
  • Noble lion heads were also frequently used to adorn furniture, with the carved heads roaring out of the wood. Metal lion heads decorated door or drawer handles on cabinets.
  • Carving of flowing forest foliage such as leaves, berries, acorns, fruits and flowers, or maybe even a barley twist.
  • Decoration in the shape of grapes and vines were also popular, as would be natural in this wine-making region of the Loire valley.
  • Barley twists often frame cabinets or serve as support posts on nightstands, adding more visual texture and design interest.
Antique French Hunting style nightstand
Antique French Hunting nightstand repurposed as a side table in our customer’s home.
  • Dark woods such as walnut, oak, and mahogany are featured strongly, and now boast a beautiful patina on the antique furniture.
  • Warm colors
  • The heavily-carved woods were sometimes enhanced by stained glass in the upper doors of cabinets.

Hunting Style Furniture and Decor in Today’s Homes

French Hunting Style antique furniture is still one of our most popular styles in our online store, proving that you don’t need a fancy chateau or hunting lodge to enjoy the look in your own home! Our customers love these hand-carved antique pieces as they add great warmth, character and decorative appeal to a home.

Victorian Home dining room restoration

The lavish carvings of foliage and fruits brings a noble but rustic look to any home, and makes Hunting style a great match for a dining room. Carved vines often trailed down the backs of dining chairs. Today, Hunting style dining chairs with vines and grapes are a great choice for wine lovers who enjoy opening a great vintage when they host dinner parties. For example, our antique French Hunting chairs in the customer spotlight of our customer Sal’s dining room look amazing with their vines and grapes and also barley twists that create a bold silhouette.

Animal lovers will enjoy the realistic carvings of wild animals of the hunt (deer, moose, etc.) that bring a space to life and add tons of personality to a home. For example, carvings of roaring lions and other beasts are fierce protectors of your home! The animal faces are also sure to be a wonderful talking point at your next party.

The carvings of forest animals are the stars on this round antique French Hunting table, dating to 1880 and hand-crafted in oak wood. The vividly realistic details of the fox, boar, stag and hunting dog, all leaping out of the pedestal, are superb emblems of the royal hunt!

Nature is your muse for smaller home accessories too, including animal statues and figurines, or antler mounts on the walls or in light fittings. You don’t have to buy real stag antlers. Our collection of new OK Casting antler wall mounts are hand-crafted in resin, and each one is made in America. They look very authentic and have a nice weight to them.

We also have OK Casting chandeliers and other light fixtures featuring stags, boars, foxes and other Hunting inspired motifs. Bookends and boxes are other nicely crafted pieces to complete the atmosphere.

Mechelen antique furniture is the Flemish version of French Hunting Style, named for the city of Mechelen in Belgium. These rustic pieces are also heavily-carved with splendid lion heads, human faces and figurines. Our blog post What is Mechelen Style Antique Furniture tells you all about this look, including photos.

You can find French Hunting style antique furniture and home decor in our online store, where there are plenty of options to pick a unique heirloom piece to bring this handsome look to your home.


Aimee owns with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 9 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Antique French Furniture in Classic Newberry Mansion

Today I have some photos of antique French furniture and Mechelen buffets that are a real treat to see in our customer Tamra’s classic but eclectic home. The outside of her Greco-Roman mansion in Newberry, SC, is gorgeous too! Outside of Newberry House

You may think the dining room looks a little familiar as this home used to be owned by our good customers, Roger and Peggy. S. They recently sold their elegant 1890s home, built when Newberry was a booming textile mill town at the turn of the century, to a wonderful new caretaker – Tamra!

Antique French Table Chairs dining room

Roger and Peggy left the French Country sideboard in place in the dining room because it fit so well on that wall under the stained glass windows and they didn’t have a spot large enough for it in their new home. Tamra chose a 1930s French Country Louis XV refectory table in walnut which is super-useful as it extends to 9.5 feet long – great for a dinner party! She also bought two sets of Hunting chairs dating to the 1880s in slightly different color oak finishes in order to mix things up.

French Antique Dining Room

Tamra also had her eye on an antique Hunting Buffet for the dining room. The original glass had been damaged on this handsome oak heavily carved Hunting Buffet dating to 1880, so we had replaced it with chicken wire to give a slightly rustic feel to the piece.

Antique French Hunting buffet

It works great in Tamra’s new dining room as there is an interesting juxtaposition of formality with the classic fireplace mantel, moldings, and crystal chandelier and the touch of rustic country with the less formal French Country pieces mixed with the chicken wire in the Hunting buffet.

This close-up of the antique French Hunting buffet shows more detail of the carved oak and the heraldic crest. There’s plenty of space for Tamra to store all the dishes and stemware and silver that she’ll need to feed everyone gathered around the large table!

Tamra also fell in love with another heavily carved Hunting Buffet for the hallway at the base of her stairs. Antique French Carved Hunting Buffet

Tamra has a wonderful eclectic touch and paired antique Chinese arm chairs from her husband’s travels next to the antique French buffet. The flamboyant carvings on the oak buffet portray mythical griffins, oak leaves, fruits, and birds (right down to their feathery details!) The 1880 French buffet boasts its original wavy glass doors.

Antique French Hunting Buffet

As we were delivering Tamra’s furniture, she pointed out that she was still looking for a pair of interesting pieces to go on either side of the huge front door in the front hall. I knew exactly what would fit the bill! I recommended a matched pair of narrow antique Mechelen buffets which still have their original stained glass even though they are a century old.

Antique Mechelen buffet stained glass

This shot of the stained glass shows just how intricate it is, surrounded by oak carvings. The Flemish Mechelen style was a Belgian interpretation of the French Hunting style, so I knew these pieces would work well with the other antique furniture Tamra bought from us.

Antique Mechelen Buffet

Here is one buffet in place. The stained glass catches the light beautifully as it streams through the sidelights on either side of the massive front door.
Pair of antique Mechelen buffetsAnd this is the pair of Mechelen buffets creating a magnificent entrance. The lovely dining room and the whole house is a reflection of Tamra herself – very classy yet down-to-earth and fun! Welcome to Newberry, Tamra – we’re glad you’re here!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 9 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Antique Hunting Thrones & Brittany Style Furniture

Our very first advertisement for the opening of 2004We will always have a soft spot in our hearts for Gene and Lyn, as we met Gene on the very first day that we opened our doors back in 2004. Our first advertisement that we ran in our local Lake Murray Magazine caught Gene’s attention – here it is with the tag line Your New Connection to the Olde World! When I dug this ad up from our archives, I realized that the pair of antique Hunting Thrones that Gene and Lyn later purchased were featured in that debut ad!

Since then, we’ve changed our logo, our name (from EuroLux Imports to EuroLux Antiques),and even our location (from outside Newberry to Downtown Newberry on Main Street). But we still specialize in beautiful, hand-selected European antique furniture.

Antique Hunting Thrones in the sun porchLyn was busy on our opening day, but Gene brought her back soon afterwards as he knew she would enjoy browsing in our gallery. It was filled to the brim with the spoils of our very first imported container. Those fantastic antique Hunting Thrones would soon find a new home on Gene and Lyn’s sun porch overlooking the lake, followed soon afterwards by an elegantly carved antique Brittany Bench. You can see the antique Hunting Thrones with their marvelous barley twists and carvings here on their sun porch, along with the Brittany Bench displaying that lovely vase of flowers.

Antique French Brittany Bench. EuroLuxAntiques.comHere’s a close-up of the Brittany Bench, which is very typical of our Brittany style furniture. It features ship wheel carvings to honor the maritime history of the Brittany region, and carvings of French country folk. I still remember that Gene and Lyn opened a bottle of delicious wine when we delivered the thrones, and insisted that we have a few glasses to help them celebrate their “new” acquisitions! That afternoon we discovered that we had quite a bit in common with Gene and Lyn. They had started their marriage as newlyweds in Europe, just as we had. They told us stories of Gene’s teaching stint in Scotland, and we made them laugh with stories of our adventures living in Germany. We laughed and talked for hours and it turned into the beginning of a wonderful friendship!

Antique French Hunting Buffet displaying our client's collection of antique pewter. EuroLuxAntiques.comOver the years, Gene and Lyn have continued to find “new” antique pieces at EuroLux Antiques for their handsome home, often as a way to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary. A large and heavily-carved antique Hunting Buffet holds Lyn’s collection of antique and vintage pewter in the great room. The pewter looks superb against the antique wood of the carved buffet, so beautifully mellowed with age.

Antique French Hunting Chairs in our client's great room with a Hunting Buffet. EuroLuxAntiques.comGene and Lyn’s great room is an open concept area connecting the kitchen with a dining area and living room. A set of antique French Hunting chairs was added too, as you can see in the great room around the marble table.

Antique Brittany bedroom suite in our client's home. EuroLuxAntiques.comLyn fell in love with a very high-quality antique Brittany bedroom suite, including a 3-door armoire, bed, and nightstand. I love the red floral bedspread with the dark chestnut wood – it just adds to the French provincial feel of their lovely bedroom.  If you admire this look as much as I do, we have an awesome Brittany Bed and 3-Door Armoire that just came into the gallery, and some wonderful Brittany chairs too.

Gene and Lyn are both retired and keep very busy schedules, but we’re always happy to see them when the wind blows them through our doors here in Newberry!

Aimee owns with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

Asheville, NC

Most of the Antique Furniture deliveries for EuroLux Antiques are done by professional blanket-wrap vanline companies that specialize in moving Antique Furniture. However, Greg and I sometimes make our own deliveries in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. It gives us an excuse to get out of the Gallery and meet our customers in person, as 95% of our sales happen over the Internet.

Over Memorial Day weekend, we delivered a beautiful and very high quality Antique French Hunting Buffet in oak dating to 1880 to Jerry and Rhonda’s vacation home in Asheville, North Carolina. The weather was outstanding — blue skies and 75 degrees — and their neighborhood was filled with a canopy of lush, mature trees.

The large Antique French Buffet in the Hunting Style (on the back wall in the photo) perfectly complimented Rhonda’s wildlife design scheme for the dining area of a large Great Room, just off the kitchen. The Great Room is flooded with sunlight from the large windows, which look out over a pretty patio area. A stunning, antique hand-carved sculpture of a stag in solid oak with real horns from the German Black Forest lends a stately presence to this comfortable room.

French Antique Furniture in the Hunting Style is one of our specialties at EuroLux Antiques. The Hunting Style developed during the 16th century in France under the reign of King Francis I (1515 – 1547), who is known as the great French Renaissance monarch and who ruled at the same time as Henry VIII in England. King Francis wanted an exotic way to decorate his royal hunting lodges (the chateaux of the Loire Valley).  Jerry and Rhonda’s Antique French Hunting Buffet is a wonderful example of the French Hunting Style, which was very popular at the end of the 19th century.

On Antique Furniture in the Hunting Style, you will find detailed carvings of lion’s heads, winged griffins, and animal trophies, including eels, fish, rabbits, deer, boars, birds, and dogs. To further the experience of the hunt, carpenters included organic motifs with lush carvings of leaves and fruit along edges of buffets and on the backs of chairs, while table bases were often carved to represent the animals of the hunt: dogs, boars, deer, and foxes.  Notice that even the drawer pulls are carved in the shape of tree branches with leaves.

Please let me know if I can answer any questions about the French Hunting Style for you! Thanks for stopping by!


 Aimee owns with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

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