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What Is Baroque Furniture?

By Donna Tinus
Updated May 16, 2024
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The Baroque style uses exaggerated motion and clear detail to produce grandeur and exuberance in painting, sculpture, music, and decoration. Baroque furniture captures that flair and is obvious in rich detail, vibrant colors, and opulence. Decorations of the period were profusely detailed and highly ornamental. The Baroque started in the early 1600s in Rome and spread all around Europe.

The Roman Catholic Church encouraged the opulent style by using Baroque furniture and paintings. The church said it wanted to use Baroque art and style to inspire raw emotions, thus enabling people to feel closer to religion. Aristocracy also appreciated the dramatic style of Baroque furniture and used it in their palaces. Baroque style favors large pieces, exaggerated decorations, colossal sculptures, and high volumes.

Louis XIV of France enjoyed the Baroque furniture and used it as evidence of his regal glory. He was the King of France from 1643 until 1715, when he died. It was heavily incorporated at his Versailles royal palace.

Small details were generally incorporated into Baroque furniture. Cherubs were often depicted in the art, and were added to almost any piece of furniture or decor. The cherubs were evident from fireplaces to paintings. They were also used as an accent in the furniture, often being carved into an arm chair or sofa. Nymphs and angels often accompanied, or replaced, the cherubs.

Gold-leaf gilded Baroque furniture was common during this period. Deep colors were used in rich velour or velvet fabric to cover sofas or chairs. Seating was large, soft, and comfortable. Gold and marble were often expensive showcase elements of Baroque tables. Mirrors with elaborate foliate designs accessorized and created a larger-looking room.

The Baroque design enjoyed immense popularity in England. This ornately gilded style was use as a display of the owner's wealth. The Baroque style also influenced American artisans, who started to employ intricate designs in the carvings in the furniture, which was usually made from oak. This simple, yet exquisite imitation of Baroque furniture was known as Pilgrim style.

Poland embraced the Baroque style, mixing it with Oriental influences. Poland shared a large border with the Ottoman Empire, so this influence was incorporated into the Baroque style. This created something that was unique to Polish furniture.

In the 18th century, the Baroque era gave way to Rococo style. This new style was lighter and more decorative, often described as being overly complicated. The Rococo era continued to be popular until around 1750.

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Discussion Comments
By bagley79 — On Mar 07, 2012

Our city has an old mansion that has been meticulously maintained over the years. This building is open for many public events, and is like stepping back in time.

There are many beautiful pieces of Baroque furniture that are in this building. This mansion belonged to some of the early, wealthy members of our city.

Whoever decorated this mansion must have really liked the Baroque style because there are wonderful, old pieces of this furniture in almost every room you see.

I always associate this style of furniture with someone who has a lot of money and likes very classy and elegant things.

By julies — On Mar 07, 2012

My home is decorated in a very modern, contemporary style. This is the type of look I feel most comfortable with, and like the clean lines and uncluttered look.

I have never cared for the style of Baroque furniture. For me it is a little over the top. I don't mind seeing this in other people's homes, but know I would not choose to decorate my home in this style.

For some reason, the big, ornate pieces of furniture that I have seen, are too busy and stuffy for my taste. On the other hand, there are many people who feel a little bit uncomfortable with all of my modern furniture!

It is a good thing there are a lot of different styles to choose from. It would be quite boring if everyone liked the same thing.

By John57 — On Mar 06, 2012

I have an uncle who is wealthy, and both him and his wife love the Baroque style of furniture.

They have some custom made pieces in their house that are unique and beautiful. Even if you don't personally care for this style of furniture, these are very well made and fit in well with their decor.

There is something romantic and classic about this style, and I think that many people will probably always enjoy this type of furniture.

Of all the pieces of Baroque furniture my uncle has, he has a desk and a buffet that I like the best. These are functional, yet ornate and detailed.

By OeKc05 — On Mar 05, 2012

I have some Baroque patio furniture that I just love. It is made of rounded pieces of wood and wrought iron, and it is far from plain.

One piece is a wooden chair with four curved slats that make up the legs. The back is also rounded, and the wood itself is blond. Most of the Baroque pieces I have seen have been made from light colored wood.

Another chair is black wrought iron. The seat is a criss-cross pattern of iron pieces, and the legs curve outward toward the floor. The back has a piece across the top that curls under on each end.

This is not the most comfortable type of furniture, but it looks very stylish. I admit that I sometimes put cushions down on the chairs before using them.

By StarJo — On Mar 04, 2012

I found a place online that sells Baroque style furniture. I was able to get a beautifully ornate coffee table from there that goes with the other antique furniture in my home.

True to the Baroque style, this wooden table has plenty of curves carved into the edges. It honestly resembles a desk or kitchen table, and the only clue to the fact that it is a coffee table is its short stature.

I'm considering ordering a Baroque bookcase to match. I really need a few more incredibly ornate pieces to round out the look.

By orangey03 — On Mar 03, 2012

@kylee07drg – I actually like that style. I know that it doesn't fit in with today's designs, but it takes me back to another time, and for that, I love it.

I got the chance to sit in a plush velvet Baroque chair at a historic mansion once. That was the most comfortable piece of furniture I have ever had the pleasure of using.

The arms and legs were very fancy and even had cherubs carved into them. There was also a plush sofa in the same style, and though the owners didn't allow people to lie on it, I know it would have been a dream.

By kylee07drg — On Mar 02, 2012

I have a friend who inherited a Baroque bed frame from her wealthy grandparents. It had been passed down for generations, and it seemed so out of place in her modern house.

It was gold-colored and ridiculously ornate. I have never seen so many swirls in so many different directions in any other type of furniture. Staring at it made me dizzy!

Knowing that it has been in her family for centuries makes me wonder if royalty once owned it. Whoever bought it must have been important to be able to afford it. She doesn't know its exact origin, but she knows it must have been a regal one.

By andee — On Mar 02, 2012

I am not a Catholic, but married a man who grew up in the Catholic church. When I have attended different services or masses at his church, I see several pieces of Baroque furniture.

This is not my favorite style of furniture, but it does leave an impression of opulence and detail.

There are some old, chairs and sofas in a sitting room that have some cherubs carved in the furniture. These are covered in a rich, red velvet material.

When you sink down in these comfortable chairs, you almost feel like you are going back to a regal time in history.

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