- Carvings are often found on formal furniture.rocking chair 2 image by MLProject from Fotolia.com
Most formal furniture styles originated in the 18th and 19th centuries, when taste and style were considered of utmost importance, even outside the aristocracy, which made furniture trends more likely to catch on. These formal styles still today can be a representation of wealth and status and are typically meant to give a room an elegant and sophisticated look.
- Prior to the 18th century, furniture was typically heavy, bulky and of oak construction. By 1705, the Queen Anne style of furniture---named after Queen Anne of England---became popular, offering a daintier and more graceful option. The lines of Queen Anne furniture are simpler and more graceful, with curved legs and feet. It's generally constructed with walnut, cherry or maple wood and typically has a cockle or scallop shell carving. Still popular today are the drop-leaf and gaming tables.
- Queen Victoria reigned longer than any other British monarch, perhaps a testament to the long-lived popularity of her taste in furniture. Victorian style of furniture originated around 1837 and is heavily influenced by gothic design. It features dark woods, such as mahogany and rosewood, intricate carvings and heavy proportions. The chairs have deeper upholstery---originally designed to hold the newly invented coiled spring---and shorter legs.
- This style of furniture is inspired by the Mediterranean aristocracy and is most often constructed with fine hardwoods, such as chestnut, cypress, poplar and fir. Marble, cast and wrought iron and copper are often included into the design. Shapes are intended to be sculptural and architectural and, like Victorian styles, often include elaborate carvings.