Neoclassical style furniture in interior design

Neoclassical is one of the most current interior design styles, which remains the embodiment of restrained chic and sophisticated solutions. Furniture plays a crucial role in this design, skillfully combining the elegance of timeless classics and trendy laconicism. It is necessary to select the furnishings correctly if you want to create an interior in which luxury and innovative trends are in complete harmony – and the process of choosing and combining in itself will be a pleasure for you, especially if you know its features and varieties. But first things first.

Furniture in neoclassical style: a bit of history

Despite all the demand for neoclassicism today, it belongs to a reasonably old direction – its formation and development took place in the 1750s. It was then that Europe, satiated with the pomp of Rococo, again turned to strict classical art. A significant contribution to these changes was made by the growing popularity of travel in Greece, Italy, and the Middle East, where many monuments of the Hellenistic era have survived. From there, the French designers borrowed strict lines, rectilinear forms, and famous ornaments. Straight, carved, and conical ones replaced the whimsically curved legs, and restraint and severity were manifested in the backs and armrests’ silhouettes.

The neoclassical style came to England a little later – in the 1760s. Italy, where prominent British artisans and architects studied, had a particular influence on furniture design at that time. From the Italian school, graceful thin lines and expressive decor were borrowed – including paisley, marquetry (wooden plates), and a unique gilding method called ormolu. No less attention was paid to reducing massiveness and to the impeccable symmetry.

Finally, already closer to the beginning of the 19th century, the neoclassical style also became a point of interest in the United States, where recent trends were brought by shipowners and merchants who traveled to the Old World. American influence on neoclassical furniture manifested itself in small rectangular shapes, the predominant use of light-colored wood, as well as ornaments in the form of stripes and bas-relief carvings.

You can find features characteristic of all three directions in modern Neoclassical style – there is a little French coquetry, English elegance, and American respectability. You have to understand what is nevertheless closer to you – refined laconicism or laid-back grace, when you are choosing furniture for any of these interiors. In both cases, you will have plenty to choose from.

Characteristic features of neoclassical furniture

As mentioned above, the “new classics” are characterized by two directions – sophistication and more pronounced decorativeness or symmetry and moderation. However, both furniture groups share common features, by which you can easily find out that this or that furniture belongs specifically to neoclassical style:

  • Precise and symmetrical shapes. This magnificent style gravitates towards harmony – and furniture silhouettes are no exception. Balance and absolute dominance of proportions distinguish sofas, armchairs, coffee tables, cabinets, and sets for the kitchen.
  • Average volumes. Neoclassical style implies airiness and freedom, and therefore massive bulky furniture that can “eat” a significant part of the space is not characteristic of it. You also have to pay attention to this when developing a room layout: it is categorically not recommended to overload a neoclassical room with furniture.
  • High-quality materials. “New Classical” is a style that implies unconditional aristocracy. And if you are applying for something like that, you should immediately get ready to spend. In principle, cheap furniture in the neoclassical style does not exist, and this is due not only to the complexity of the design but also to the quality of materials. Frames and elements made of natural solid wood, exclusive upholstery made of velour, linen or the most modern fabrics, premium varnishes, and paints – only under such conditions the furniture can convey that cherished noble luxury of the interior that attracts many.
  • Carefully calibrated decor. Neoclassical furniture is an example of balance in absolutely everything. Here you are unlikely to find something tasteless, flashy, or just excessive since everything, including decorative elements, is subject to absolute harmony. Carved legs in light or dark wood, the famous capitonné technique, a touch of metallic luster, a touch of gilding, and elegant, impeccably selected fittings – a recipe for the ideal setting from fans of neoclassical furniture.
  • Calm, pacifying palette. Juicy colors and sonorous contrasts are alien to both modern and more conservative neoclassical style. It is characterized by refined and soft tones of brown, blue, white, beige, and cream, as well as golden, light yellow, gray, fawn, peach, and pale pink tones. As you can see, the colors are predominantly light, although dark shades and even deep blacks are fine as small accents.

Neoclassical style furniture selection guide

So, we have already figured out the design features of classic furniture in general. Now is the time to talk in more detail about each of its types – perhaps for some, it will become a kind of small guide when choosing impeccable furniture in all respects.

Upholstered furniture

Neoclassical sofas and armchairs perfectly reflect the realities of both traditional and more modern trends. The following features characterize them:

  • clear symmetrical silhouette;
  • smooth rectangular or smoothly rounded back;
  • soft, well-defined pillows;
  • rounded armrests;
  • classic carving on wooden elements – legs or inserts in the armrests;
  • textured, most often monochrome upholstery – in modern models, it can be not only fabric but also leather;
  • decor on fabric – diamond-shaped patterns, decorative nails.

Designers recommend choosing upholstered furniture for the living room on the same principle as classical style sets. This means that armchairs and a sofa must be a set in a single design, because only in this way can you achieve elegance and impeccable balance.

Coffee tables

Small tables for furnishing living rooms and bedrooms will delight you with grace, fashionable restraint, and sometimes the most unexpected details. Designers advise to consider the following important features of such furnishings:

  • natural solid wood, painted in light colors, or the preservation of the wood texture;
  • perfectly straight or smoothly curved legs;
  • possible glass inserts in countertops;
  • oval, round or rectangular;
  • laconic carving along the overhang of the top;
  • the presence of a lower shelf for magazines or decor.

Coffee tables can be made not only from light wood but also from a hardwood of darker, natural shades – cherry, walnut, or maple. You can combine such models with upholstered furniture of any shades since these tables are considered universal – of course, within the framework of neoclassical style.


A neoclassical bed is primarily a headboard. High, covered with soft velvety fabric and decorated with a diamond pattern, it pleases the eye with a smooth curly curve or a precise rectangular shape. Simultaneously, the sideboards are covered with the same material without any decor.

Another option for a bed for this style – made of natural, uncovered wood, painted in light colors. For decoration, in this case, paneled elements and even a kind of columns and porticos at the headboard are used. You can choose both this and the first option, but it is important to remember: all the furniture for the bedroom, including poufs, banquets, and armchairs, is selected strictly according to the bed.


The neoclassical cabinetry design is exquisite, and it’s not about size. Light and at the same time roomy cases, noble light and muted dark tones, almost jewelry work, delightful fittings made of fine metal, and lovely mirror inserts help create a luxurious aristocratic atmosphere and at the same time do not overload the interior. This applies not only to wardrobes but also to shelving, libraries, showcases, and cupboards.

Dining tables and chairs

The neoclassical dining sets highlight the ever-crossing line between modernity and the traditions of the past. This primarily concerns the design of dining tables. Today, you can find both classic oval and round solid wood models with high carved legs and furniture on extravagant bases with glass tops in such interiors.

Chairs are selected strictly according to the table’s design – these can be elegant deep half-chairs with decorative nails on the back, soft chairs on elegant and unusual gilded bases, high models upholstered in leather, or decorated with luxurious classical carvings. In any case, the dining set should form a coherent and visually harmonious ensemble, giving your dining room a chic look.

Dressers, cabinets, consoles, kitchen cabinets, poufs, and banquettes – you can endlessly talk about neoclassical furniture’s aesthetic features and beauty. However, you already know the most important things about this type of furniture – these are nobility, unobtrusive chic, timeless harmony and elegance.

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