Colonial Furniture

The Colonial style combines characteristics of William and Mary, Queen Anne, and Chippendale. Colonial furniture tended to be more conservative and less ornate than English and European furniture of the same style period.



Graceful and Refined – Elegant Appearance.(Federal style shown)

Chair Arms

Outward Flare – Arms have slight outward curve.

Chair Back Material

Cane – Woven rattan.
Upholstered – Cushioned and fabric covered.
Wood – Solid wood, horizontal slats, vertical slats, or vertical splats.

Chair Back Shape

Fiddleback – Fiddle-shaped central splat.
Ladderback or Slatback – Equally spaced horizontal flat slats, either straight or curved.
Solid – One piece or solid panel chair back.
Spindle – Simple turned vertical slats.

Chair Leg

Cabriole – Curved leg in the shape of an animal’s leg. The cabriole leg increased the stability of seating pieces and reduced the need for underbracing.
Decorated Cabriole – Cabriole leg with decorative carving, usually on the knee.
Elaborate Turning – Turned leg with multiple types of turnings.
Round – Round, usually shaped or turned leg.
Simple Turning – Turned leg with a few types of turnings.
Straight – Straight leg, vertical to chair seat.

Chair Seat Material

Cane – Woven rattan.
Rush – Woven rush.
Upholstered – Cushioned and covered with fabric.
Wood – Various types of wood.

Chair Seat Shape

Horseshoe – Horseshoe shaped seat with a rounded front.
Square – Square shaped seat.

Drawer Pull

Bat Wing Plate with Bail – Bat shaped solid or pierced cast brass back plate with a bail handle. The size of the backplate varies from 2.75 to 4.5 inches wide by 2 to 3.25 inches high.
Carved Wood (Simple) – Simple carved handle made of wood.
Turned Wooden Knob – Elongated, turned wooden knob, often 3 inches long and 1.25 inches in diameter.


Chintz – Plain woven sometimes glazed cloth imprinted with patterns or designs, often floral with five bright colors.
Crewel – Embroidery using wool on closely woven cotton, linen, or wool, often of floral motifs and vines.
Damask – Medium weight, glossy fabric with a reversible pattern and a figured intricate weave, often of linen, cotton, silk, or wool.
Needlepoint – A type of counted thread embroidery in which yarn is stitched through an open canvas weave.
Tapestry – Heavy weight fabric with decorative designs.


Gilding – Gold leaf.
Oil Varnish – Clear finish that emphasized the grain of the wood.
Paint – Opaque, pigmented finish that obscures the grain of the wood.
Wax – Paste finish over a sealer, stain, or bare wood.


Block – Flat-surfaced foot.
Bracket – Angular curved foot, usually used with case furniture.
Bun – Rounded foot, flatter than a ball foot.
Continuation of leg – Leg does not terminate into a foot.
Drake – Simple carved animal paw.
Pad – Simple, rounded carved foot.

Hardware Material

Brass – Yellowish metal made from copper and zinc.
Iron – Grayish-brown metal with a dull finish.
Leather – Animal hide, used in strips as pulls.
Wood – Various types of wood, carved or turned.


Dovetail – An interlocking wood joint in which a series of wedge-shaped projections fits into a series of alternating grooves.
Mortise and tenon – Wood joint in which a projecting tenon of one board is fitted into a mortise or hole of another board.


Cyma or S-Curve – S-shaped curve, partly concave and partly convex.
Straight – Straight lines.


Acanthus leaf – Conventionalized leaf.
Floral – Flowers, such as roses, sunflowers, and tulips.
Oriental Patterns – Oriental figures, usually painted or lacquered.
Seaweed – Very delicate marquetry representing a marine plant.
Shell – Fan shaped shell.


Carving – Cutting or chipping the surface of wood to create a shape or design.
Finial – Decorative turning affixed to the tops of case furniture, and chair and bed posts.
Inlay – Contrasting material set into the surface of wood to create a shape or design.
Marquetry – Combinations of veneer used to create pictures or patterns.
Stenciling – Painting through a template to create a shape or design on the underlying wood surface.


Medium – Moderate dimensions.(Queen Anne style shown)


Moderate – Moderately proportioned stretchers.(William and Mary style shown)


Ash – Whitish-gray American hardwood with similar graining to oak.
Black Walnut – Dark brown American hardwood with a wide range of figures.
Elm – Red-brown American hardwood.
Fruitwood – Pink-brown American hardwood, including apple and pear.
Hickory – Red-brown American hardwood.
Mahogany – Red-brown South American and African hardwood.
Maple – Golden to Red-brown American hardwood with a wide range of figures.