The taste in home decor today is very much contemporary. Yet the designs and styles of some of our best loved items of furniture are anything but new. Some have been around for hundreds of years. Classic furniture just keeps on going, generation after generation. What is it that gives some pieces of furniture perennial appeal, while others bite the dust as no more than quirky period mistakes?
Classic furniture is about great design and aesthetic appeal, but at the root of it, it’s very much to do with top functionality. A wondrously beautiful chair that you can’t sit in for more than ten minutes before your bones start to creak just isn’t going to be a contender in the classics stakes. And comfort isn’t the only factor. Durability is another key feature. The capacity to last is one of the hallmarks of quality, and we still value quality workmanship even in a world geared to throwing stuff away on a regular basis.
Some items of furniture have attained classic status because they just keep on giving. Think of the rocking chair. It’s been centuries since they were invented. The novelty still hasn’t worn off, and neither has their timeless charm. With new variations and fresh designs available, in the form of swivel rockers and gliders, their classic comfort is still a winner today. Everybody loves them, from grandma on the veranda to the kids.
Some items of classic furniture are quite simply cultural icons. Rocking chairs are one example, but think also of the porch swing seat. Consider the Eames chair, the four poster bed and the leather Chesterfield sofa. Some have high style. Others are affordable classics that everybody bought, like the Ikea ‘Billy’ bookshelf unit. They are all part of our history and our identity, and their popularity isn’t going to wane any time soon.
When it comes to questions of style, some classic pieces of furniture are so evocative of an era that they have kept their popularity through the decades, or longer. Really well designed pieces of antique and retro furniture can be a grand style statement even in an ultra-modern interior decor scheme. It works because true style has an inbuilt timelessness, and it’s versatile enough to look good in any number of different settings.
There are also some classic materials, like wicker and rattan. From the humble basket to the perfect sunroom furniture set, wicker hits the right notes not only because it’s functional and available in a huge range of stylish designs and finishes. It’s organic, has that magic stamp of great craftsmanship and boasts a pedigree that goes way back in time. In fact, wicker is classic furniture royalty, in a pantheon of classic designs that enhance any home.