Don't Listen to the Cynics

The estates featured in our May Gallery Auction are long on timeless, earned style. They include furniture of enduring elegance that communicates an understanding of craftsmanship and design. But we hear the things they're saying about "brown furniture" these days: it's boring, stuffy, overwrought, uncool. Don't believe it for a second. Here are just a few of the best reasons to lean in to antique wood furniture:

  • Quality: Antique wood pieces were made in a time when "mass-produced" wasn't even a glimmer in a factory-owner's eye. They are made from actual wood that likely came from a tree not far from where the furniture was made. They were constructed by people who spent their entire lives perfecting their craft, with care that can't be replicated by a machine.

  • Sustainability: We applaud today's eco-concious furniture companies that work to minimize their impact on the environment. But of course the most obvious way to not harm the environment by making new furniture is to buy old furniture. Reduce, reuse, recycle, reinvent your decor with pieces from the past.

  • Style: True style simply cannot be bought new from a store. As all good designers know, the best decor includes a deft mix of pieces from different periods regardless of the overall aesthetic for which you're aiming. Buying a mahogany Chippendale desk does not mean you're committed to outfitting your house like you've just come through the American Revolution. These pieces work remarkably well with elements from other centuries, all the while bringing nuance and depth to a room.

But as they say, "show don't tell." So we've gone looking for inspiration to help you understand exactly how "brown furniture" works in contemporary decor. Far from being stuffy or boring, these rooms have the kind of personality that can only come with age.

Shop the Auction for the Look
Antique English Carved Mahogany Slant Front Desk
Set of Six Antique English Spindle Back Dining Chairs
Regency Style Carved Mahogany Armchair
American Federal Cherry Chest of Drawers
Louis XV Style Carved and Gilt Parlor Table
English William and Mary Walnut Veneered Highboy

View the full catalogue for the May Gallery Auction

Content created by the Leland Little editorial team