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Some Help in Antique Furniture Terms That Can be Confusing

Aug 19, 2008
If the appearance and styles of tools and materials have gradually changed and evolved over the years, so did the terms that were used to refer to such. In the case of antique furniture, much of the terms that were used in the early ages are no longer used in today's everyday language. As such, many find it hard to understand the usual furniture terms that seemed so common decades before.

However, if one needs to purchase antique furniture, it is therefore essential for him to be aware of the common terms that are used in the antique trade and industry. Some of which are as follows:

Chests of Drawers: The Highboy and the Chiffonier

Both are actually forms of drawers that differ in length and appearance. The Highboys are those high chests of drawers which are higher than wide. Such also have bases which are legged.

In the case of the Chiffoniers, these are chests of drawers that are also high but definitely narrower than Highboys. Chiffoniers do not have legged bases and there is usually a swivel mirror that is attached on its top drawer. Such types of storage antique furniture were highly popular during the colonial periods where house designs and styles had little closet spaces.

Dish Storage: The Buffet and the Sideboard

Both refer to storage furniture which you can usually find in the home's dining area or kitchen. They are usually used to keep pieces of dishes and serving utensils.

Apparently, the buffet is only smaller than the sideboard, but both basically have the same function and appearance. They have drawers were the dishes can be stored, as well as a flat surface above the storage space. The flat surface usually serves as an area where food can be prepared, displayed and served. Most buffets and sideboards also have display shelves and mirrors.

Classic Closets: The Armoires and the Wardrobes

Both appear to be huge closets or cabinets that add storage capacity for clothing. The main difference between the two furniture pieces lies in their original purposes or functions.
Basically, the armoires refer to those free standing closets where armor is stored. Such were invented during the medieval times when war was almost an everyday routine. As for the wardrobe, it was basically designed to store clothes and other little personal tools.

Aside from the functionalities, most armoires appear to have more well decorated features than wardrobes. Wardrobes also have more streamlined and more modern designs than those that appear on armoires.

The Hybrid Cabinet: Chifforobe

Chifforobes are considered as the prime example of furniture that has storage spaces but will fit small bedroom during the medieval times. Such pieces of furniture offer a combination of the features and the functionalities of the chiffonier and the wardrobe. A chifforobe is basically a two-door furniture item that contains a closet and a chest of drawers.

Usually, the right door of the furniture opens a cabinet where clothes can be hanged while the left door opens a chest of drawers where folded clothes or other personal belongings can be stored. Some chifforobes also have swivel mirrors on the flat surface of its top drawer.
About the Author
Driscolls Antiques is a leading supplier of quality antiques and antique furniture. Benedict Yossarian is a freelance Internet Marketing Consultant that can help maximize your exposure online.
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