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Queen Anne Period Decorating 1702 - 1714The Queen Anne period style of decorating has long been a favorite, especially among those who enjoy furnishing their home with antiques. Queen Anne style furniture pieces are beautiful, gracious, and charming, adding an elegant and yet welcoming look to a home. It tends to be an especially popular decorating style for bedrooms, living rooms or dining rooms.
The Evolution of the Queen Anne Decorating StyleThe Queen Anne style of decorating of course has its roots in England. During Queen Anne's 1702 to 1714 reign, England was just starting to exit the Middle Ages. Although previous furniture styles tended to be bulky and heavy, there was a trend towards pieces that were lighter, smaller and more graceful. This trend towards more graceful furniture pieces also extended to America, where early colonists were starting to trade with other countries for the goods they desired. Although technically the Queen Anne period of decorating spanned during Queen Anne's 1702 to 1714 reign, it remained a popular furniture style for quite a while afterwards.
Defining Features of Queen Anne Furniture PiecesWhen you look at a piece of furniture from the Queen Anne period, you'll immediately notice a strong tendency towards the cabriole leg. This beautiful and graceful furniture leg style has a very ancient history and orient, since it's based upon the profile of an animal's leg. The leg starts at what would be the knee, curving gracefully outwards until it curves in at the ankle. The cabriole legs sometimes included claw and ball feet as well. Furniture pieces also frequently have a carved shell motif, which is often used for the front of chests, highboys or lowboy pieces. You'll sometimes find this carved shell as part of the "knee" of a chair or table leg. In some cases you'll also find starbursts or fans as part of the overall design.
Today, many people immediately think of the Queen Anne Chair when they hear the words "Queen Anne period furniture." These beautiful and graceful chairs are still quite popular, whether decorators choose to use authentic pieces or reproductions. This beautiful chair style featured a well-proportioned shape, curved lines and escalloped shell designs on the knees of the legs. The top rail of the chair flows smoothly to the back legs, providing a smooth look without the appearance of obvious joints. These chairs also do not have stretcher bars, because these bars would be totally unnecessary with the chair's cabriole legs.
Walnut was probably the most frequently used material during the Queen Anne period. This beautiful wood was often used to create marquetry, veneered surfaces, rounded friezes and cross-grained moldings. In the case of bedroom furniture pieces, dressing mirrors were designed so that they could sit on writing tables, often called "toilet tables." Tallboys, which were essentially one chest of drawers placed on top of another, were also quite popular. Writing desks were often designed with beautifully sloping fronts. Overall, the Queen Anne style of furniture is graceful, elegant, well-made and quite popular even today.
The Queen Anne style of decorating is classic and yet quite eclectic in nature. The style usually includes a mix of historic elements from the Queen Anne period, mixed in with a variety of other European styles. The Queen Anne style of architecture frequently features intricate details, white woodwork, wrought ironwork, and decorative embellishments. Many times each room almost seems to be decorated in its own unique style.
Furniture StylesWhen decorating a home in the Queen Anne style, furniture pieces that are light and graceful can work well. In addition to being comfortable, furniture pieces are usually quite functional as well. The overall line of the furniture pieces is simple, but with artistic and gracefully curves. Cabriole legs are a feature on many of Queen Anne furniture pieces. Drop-leaf tables are also a popular addition to the dining room, whether the table is rectangular, oval or round. A heavy pedestal table can also add a nice touch to the dining room. Plump chairs and large sofas that feature soft and opulent upholstery are good choices. Armoires work well in bedrooms, as well as other rooms of the home.
Floor TreatmentsWhen choosing floor treatments for a room that is decorated in the Queen Anne style, parquet or inlaid wood can add a classic and beautiful touch. Stenciled borders painted on the floor can also add to the overall effect. To add a touch of warmth and opulence, use beautiful area rugs in rich colors against hardwood floors. Oriental rugs can also coordinate nicely with the Queen Anne style.
Fabric and Wall TreatmentsBoldly colored and richly textured fabrics work well when combined with the beauty of Queen Anne furniture pieces. Heavier and more opulent fabrics such as velvet can be used to add a slightly more formal and regal look. Wallpaper is a popular choice as a wall treatment, adding a stylish statement to the room. Tile and marble also work well, especially when used around fireplace areas. Decorative paint finishes are generally used on wood trim, doors, and railings. Although white woodwork is the classic choice, occasionally darker shades can add a nice touch. Ceilings are generally painted or papered, although tin or tongue-and-groove boards are also sometimes used. Decorative cornices, plaster moldings, and ceiling medallions will add to the classic and embellished look of the room.
When choosing colors, it's usually best to stick to "historic" colors for the exterior of the home. Indoors colors like rose, pink, brown, violet and earthy shades of green can work well. In fact, almost any pale primary shade will coordinate nicely with the Queen Anne decorating style.
As a general rule, decorating accents should lend an air of grandeur to the room. Beautiful and stately chandeliers work well, as do classically designed floor and table lamps with interesting shades. China pieces, figurines and dolls can be used effectively as decorating accents. A built-in cupboard or display shelves can be the perfect place to display these decorative pieces.