Furniture Styles

Furniture > Medieval > Gothic

Gothic Furniture & Decor

Medieval Gothic Furniture

The Gothic styles of architecture, art and furniture date from the 12th century through to the 16th century. With the Byzantine influence introduced to Europe by the crusaders, as well as Islamic and arabesque elements, furniture and architecture became more ornate, and the typical Gothic motif of the pointed arch became prevalent in furniture design as well as in buildings.

Styles & Wood

Gothic wood furniture was mostly made from oak, although local softwoods were also used towards the end of the period. Medieval Gothic style furniture was heavily carved and decorated. Religious themes were popular in carvings, as were heraldic symbols such as griffins, lions or hawks. Floral themes were also widely used, and the royal fleur-de-lis furniture motif dates from this era. Paintings and inlays were also used for furniture decoration so that the whole effect was much more ornate than the furniture of earlier eras. Furniture pieces were large and solid, following the lines of Gothic church furniture.

Typical Gothic Furniture

Gothic furniture craft paved the way for the Renaissance period to follow, and many new items of furniture appeared at this time. The armoire for clothes storage, the buffet for eating utensils, and tables with drawers were first seen in this period. Gothic cabinet furniture progressed a long way from the simple storage chests and coffers of earlier times.

Gothic Coffer
Gothic Coffer


Gothic bedroom furniture featured massive four poster beds, with linenfold-carved valences, and heavily carved and decorated posts and bedsteads. Gargoyles and other horrific mythical creatures were popular motifs since it was believed that they would frighten away evil spirits. Bed coverings and hangings in rich colors completed the elaborate Gothic bedroom style.

Gothic Home Decor Revival

In the 18th century, Gothic revival furniture and architecture became popular in England. This theme spread to the United States in the 19th century, and reproduction Gothic furniture of this period is quite common. Many Victorian pieces feature the ornate carving and the soaring, pointed arches of Gothic origin. This style was known as "Gothick". The Gothick style was perhaps most popular in Victorian church furnishings, since it fitted in well with the ancient church buildings still surviving from medieval times.

Gothic home decor has again become popular in recent times. The mystical, magical aura of the Gothic era, with its strange ceremonies and magic rites, has caught the imagination of artists, writers and designers. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" inspired an era of fantasy literature wherein dark castles, evil warlords and heroic warriors performed daring deeds and overcame evil with bravery, skill, cunning and the help of strange mythical beings.

Featuring outlandish symbols such as the Gothic bat, home decor Gothic style gives scope for imagination, creativeness and fun. Gothic decor makes use of rich tapestries and hangings, along with heavy and ornately carved furniture. Stone walls or paneling are ideal for the Gothic look. Decor ideas for Gothic rooms include plenty of candles, stained glass, brass and pewter. Curtains are likely to be heavy and feature rich colors such as wine, ruby, purple, black and gold. Murals and heraldic carvings are typically Gothic. Victorian reproduction Gothic furniture is perfect for this type of decor, and there are many good modern reproductions available as well. The Gothic look is 'in', not only for ancient manor houses and castles, but also for modern homes.

Copyright © 2004-12 International Styles
All Rights Reserved