What Are Some Popular Styles of Vintage Furniture?


The allure of vintage furniture is undeniable. It brings a touch of history, character, and often superior craftsmanship into your home. Whether you’re drawn to the grandeur of the Victorian era or the sleek lines of Art Deco, a vintage furniture style is waiting to be discovered. This guide explores some of the most popular vintage furniture styles sought after in the UK, providing you with the knowledge to navigate the exciting world of pre-loved furniture.

Key Highlights:

  • Explore different vintage furniture styles: Victorian, Arts & Crafts, Art Deco, Mid-Century Modern and more.
  • Each era offers unique characteristics, materials and design elements.
  • When buying vintage furniture, consider setting a budget, researching the style, inspecting the piece, negotiating the price, and considering restoration.

Image Credit Goes to Kernow Furniture

1. Victorian: Opulence and Comfort

The Victorian era was a time of great change and prosperity, reflected in its furniture. Expect pieces that are:

  • Solidly built: Mahogany, walnut, and oak were popular choices for their durability.
  • Ornately decorated: Look for carvings, fretwork, and upholstery with rich floral patterns.
  • Chests of drawers and dressers: Often featuring elaborate hardware and mirrors.

Image Credit Goes to Kernow Furniture

If you’re interested in discovering vintage furniture, consider looking for different pieces that blend well with modern homes. Various Websites provide a range of options to discover vintage furniture that suits your style preferences. 

2. Arts & Crafts: A Return to Quality

A reaction to the mass-produced furniture of the Victorian era, the Arts & Crafts movement championed traditional craftsmanship and natural materials. Here’s what to expect:

  • Hand-built furniture: Often made from oak, with exposed joinery showcasing the skill of the craftsman.
  • Leather upholstery: A luxurious and timeless material often used in Arts & Crafts furniture.

Image Credit Goes to Kernow Furniture

Finding your Arts & Crafts piece: This style is known for its timeless elegance and high quality. Look for pieces with good proportions and clean lines. Consider reupholstering a piece in a modern fabric for a fresh twist.

3. Art Nouveau: Organic Beauty

Art Nouveau embraced nature’s curves and flowing lines, creating furniture that is both beautiful and functional. Look for these characteristics:

  • Natural motifs: Flowers, leaves, and insects are common design elements.
  • Wavy lines and curved forms: Creating a sense of movement and fluidity.
  • Stained glass accents: Adding a touch of colour and artistry to furniture pieces.

Image Credit Goes to Kernow Furniture

Finding your Art Nouveau piece: This style is known for its unique and eye-catching designs. Look for pieces with good craftsmanship and interesting details. Be prepared to invest a little more for truly authentic pieces.

4. Edwardian: Elegance and Refinement

The Edwardian era saw a return to more formal and classical furniture styles. Here’s what you’ll find:

  • Influenced by Georgian and Regency styles: Featuring clean lines, symmetry, and high-quality materials.
  • Inlaid furniture: Marquetry and other inlay techniques create beautiful decorative patterns.

Image Credit Goes to Kernow Furniture

Finding your Edwardian piece: Edwardian furniture exudes a sense of luxury and sophistication. Look for pieces in good condition with well-preserved upholstery and wood finishes. Consider reupholstering in a neutral colour for a more contemporary feel.

5. Art Deco: Bold Geometry and Glamour

The Art Deco era embraced modern materials and technology, resulting in a glamorous and streamlined style. Look for these characteristics:

  • Geometric shapes: Circles, squares, and chevrons are often incorporated into designs.
  • Chrome and nickel accents: Adding a touch of shine and luxury.
  • Exotic materials: Like sharkskin, zebrawood, and Bakelite, were used to create a sense of glamour.

Image Credit Goes to Kernow Furniture

Finding your Art Deco piece: Art Deco furniture is a popular choice for modern homes thanks to its clean lines and timeless appeal. Look for pieces in good condition with well-preserved chrome or nickel accents.

6. Mid-Century Modern: Functionality and Form

Following World War II, a focus on functionality and clean lines emerged. Mid-century modern furniture is known for:

  • Simple yet elegant designs: Often made from teak, rosewood, and walnut.
  • Emphasis on form following function: Every design element serves a purpose.
  • Upholstery in bold colours or graphic patterns: Reflecting the optimistic spirit of the era.

Finding your Mid-century modern piece:

  • Look for pieces with good craftsmanship and high-quality materials. Authentic pieces will often have the maker’s mark or label.
  • Consider reupholstering a piece in a neutral colour for a more modern look.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match pieces from different eras. A mid-century modern coffee table can look fantastic next to a Victorian armchair.

Image Credit Goes to Kernow Furniture

7. Retro: A Blast from the Past

The term “retro” encompasses a wide range of furniture styles from the mid-20th century. Here are some key characteristics:

  • Pops of colour: Think pastels, oranges, and teals.
  • Plastic furniture: Often brightly coloured and moulded into playful shapes.

Image Credit Goes to Kernow Furniture

Finding your retro piece: Retro furniture is all about fun and personality. Look for pieces that reflect your taste and style. Be prepared to embrace bold colours and unique designs. You can also get leverage from digital marketing for vintage furniture.

Beyond the Style: Tips for Buying Vintage Furniture

  • Set a budget: Vintage furniture can range in price depending on style, condition, and rarity.
  • Do your research: Learn about the different styles and what to look for in terms of quality.
  • Inspect the piece carefully: Check for any damage, loose joints, or upholstery tears.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate: Especially at antique shops and flea markets.
  • Consider restoration: Some vintage furniture may require minor repairs or reupholstering.


The world of vintage furniture is vast and exciting. By familiarising yourself with popular styles and following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect piece to add a touch of history and character to your UK home. Remember, vintage furniture is an investment, so choose pieces you love that will stand the test of time. Happy hunting!