The Louis XV style of antique furniture is a romantic and lavishly decorative style of furniture that emerged in the reign of Louis XV, also known as Louis Quinze in French. The style is forever popular and for a very good reason. It is beautiful and ornate but light in spirit and in form. This style is all about the curve! Sensuous lines and intricate carvings create an impressive decorative effect, but they are not so overwhelming in scale or opulence that they overwhelm any space smaller than a palace!
These looks can easily translate to our homes today, whether you decorate an entire house or room in Louis XV style, or simply add a few antique pieces to bestow a romantic and feminine touch on a more eclectic design scheme. For example, the above bedroom at a customer’s home in Sarasota includes a vintage Louis XV vanity chest of drawers that they bought from us, which gives a very pretty look. You can read more about the Louis XV Vanity Chest of Drawers in this Client Spotlight blog post.
This lavish look rose to popularity in the 1700s, and it was also influenced by the king’s favorite mistress Madame du Pompadour. During this Golden Age of decorative style in France, the new look was attractive to the king’s court.
Typical features of this French Rococo Louis XV style include ornate carvings including shells and wavy or watery shapes that look almost like frills. The shell is probably one of the most famous motifs of this period, often seen crowning a buffet or a bed headboard or on a chair rail. Read my Antique French Louis XV Buffet Client Spotlight to see more about this stunning 1890 beauty pictured left, which we found in France at the request of a customer in California.
Flowing scroll shapes and flourishes often look like the letters S and C. Carved Acanthus leaves are also common as well as birds, flowers and fruit. The carvings on Louis XV furniture were often asymmetric, which was refreshingly new in this period of design.
Curves are again important in the S-shaping of cabriole legs on chairs and tables. (You’ve got to love the cabriole legs on this set of vintage French Louis XV dining chairs!) Chair backs were often shaped like a cartouche, which is basically a rounded oval, topped with carvings.
A greater emphasis on comfort in this era led to seat backs being very slightly angled, allowing the user to relax back, rather than having to sit bolt upright! Antique Louis XV style furniture invites people to relax and chat in comfort.
Convex curved shaping on the front of sideboards, cabinets and consoles added to the wavy sensuality, and this new innovation became known as the bombe shape. Marquetry, gilding, lacquering inspired by Chinoiserie, and other painted finishes added to the ornamental appeal.
if you want to see more Louis XV furniture in our customer’s home, check out this Client Spotlight about a Louis XV antique bedroom suite that Sandy and Brent bought from us for the guest room in their home in Alabama, including an armoire, full-size bed, marble-topped vanity, and nightstand. It looks fabulous and gives the guest room a cohesive and charming look.
We hope that this gives you an idea of the Louis XV style of antique furniture. If this romantic look has seduced you, as it does so many others, then check out our Louis XV antique, vintage and new furniture for sale on our website. If you’d like to learn more about the finer points of antique armoires, check out our guide here!
Aimee owns EuroLuxHome.com 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 8 (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.