Louis the Who?! 3 European Monarchies to Rule Your Style

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The world of the Louis’ can be confusing, but the furniture styles associated with these French monarchs from way back in the day still have such a huge impact on our design world that I think it’s worth a quick crash course in Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI styles.

Louis XIV Style Furniture

Images: Portrait ,Style Side Chair, Style Dresser

For those art history majors out there, Louis XIV style furniture is associated with the Baroque period. Louis XIV style is associated with extravagance in craftsmanship and materials. This meant a lot of beautiful wood used in marquetry work and richly carved chairs and tables. Gilding was also very popular to add a shimmery gold affect to wood furniture, again, adding to its extravagance and majesty. Chairs were boxy and had a throne – like appearance, which also nods to the grandeur of this style.

Because of the extreme decadence of the Louis XIV style, we don’t see a lot of contemporary replications, but there are more subtle adaptations which explore simpler versions of carved wood, scrolling legs, and high backed boxy chairs.

Louis XV

Images: Portrait, Style Chair from Wayfair ,Style Settee from Wisteria , Style Sectretary from Grange

In all of the contemporary furniture pieces above, you can see that they all have one thing in common…curves. Louis XV style, or the Rococo period with which it is associated, were more about intimacy and comfort and achieved through curved backs, loose seat cushions, and an overall more feminine vibe. True Louis XV furnishings had virtually no straight lines and you can see that influence in the contemporary pieces above.

Louis XVI

Images: Portrait, Style Armchair from Wisteria, Style Bench from Inessa

After all of the extravagance of Louis XIV and Louis XV reign, styles shifted back to cleaner lines and classical basics in what is known as the Neo-Classical style. Due to his slightly simpler aesthetic, the Louis XVI style is still widely popular in contemporary interiors. The legs of Louis XVI furniture were almost always straight and depicted carving and fluting reminiscent of classical architectural columns. Other motifs that were commonly used in the furniture of this style were lyres, sphinxes, pharaohs, and wreaths.

Of course this is just a quick and very basic over view, but if you’re interested in history (the Louis are pretty fascinating people), want to learn more about antiques, or just want to sounds cool, you should definitely dig a little deeper into the particulars of the Louis.

What’s your favorite style of Louis? Comment below and let us know!

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for this post. I always wondered about the Louis the “roman lettered” styles. Now I know!!!

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Brittany is an interior designer and stylist constantly searching for creativity and inspiration in the world around her. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California where she finds plenty of both. Her interior design studio services a variety of clients throughout California seeking her simple and collected aesthetic. Brittany believes that a house becomes a home when it is beautiful, comfortable and, most importantly, reflects the personality of the people who live inside.