It really isn’t common knowledge that antique furniture can be identified and even valued according to the foot style of the said furniture. But, it is true! This is the simplest trick that can help you expand your research and value antique furniture, and yet people rarely talk about it. Well, we’re here to share this little secret with you and help you out in your journey to buy that perfect antique couch or chair. 

However, to make this work, it isn’t just enough to look at the furniture feet and call it a day. There are many different antique furniture feet styles that one needs to know about to make the ‘trick’ work. Therefore, in the following paragraphs, we’re going to present you with a comprehensive guide to all antique furniture foot styles. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Also Read:

How to Date Antique Furniture by Feet

Ball Feet

Antique Furniture by Feet - Ball Feet

The ball feet style, or rather the round ball-shaped furniture foot, is a style dating back as early as the 1600s. The foot style remained popular until the 19th century and nowadays is almost exclusively found in antique furniture.

Ball or round feet aren’t usually featured on, for example, couches or chairs, but are more common in furniture like chests and sideboards. The round feet style is prevalent in Baroque antiques, and because of the fact that it was used for different types of furniture, there are also different types and variations of ball feet, so let’s take a closer look at them as well;

  • Onion feet – these are wide, onion- or ball-shaped furniture feet often used on heavier furniture pieces for proper support. Onion feet were popular in the 18th century but remained in use long into the following century as well.
  • Turnip or tulip feet – these are the bulb-shaped furniture feet that are much thinner than the previous, onion feet. These feet have a thinner neck and a rounded base that bulges outward, and as such were often used on chests, secretaries, and different William and Mary-style furniture.

Animal or Paw/Claw Feet

Antique Furniture by Feet - Animal or PawClaw Feet

Animal feet, also known as paw or claw furniture feet are a type of ornamental furniture foot design. The terminals on the legs of the furniture resemble the feet of animals, like lions or dogs. This style of furniture feet was mainly used during the Renaissance period. The feet were often made for tables, and stools, and paired with carved wood or metal/glass balls. Nowadays, paw/claw furniture feet are seen on faux antique bathtubs, as an ode to the antique aesthetics. Let’s take a look at different types of animal furniture feet;

  • Dolphin feet – popular during the 18th century, the dolphin furniture feet have been carved into a shape of a fish head. A popular method of creating dolphin furniture feet was to actually extend the design into the rest of the furniture piece; for example, the design of a table or a chair would have morphing dolphin designs or pattern that extends towards the feet.
  • Hoof feet – these types of furniture feet were popular between the 17th and 17th centuries, and were often used in baroque-style furniture. The furniture feet were carved to look like hooves, generally resembling specific deer hooves. Hoof feet were mainly used on chairs, but sometimes even on tables and chests.
  • Monopodium feet – also known as the lion’s paw feet, the monopodium furniture feet often have a shep of a claw. The feet were often used in Regency-style furniture in the 18th century. This foot style remained popular long into the following century as well but was then used on single-base tables, as well as sofas and chairs.

Tapered, Cylinder-Shaped Feet

Antique Furniture by Feet - Tapered, Cylinder-Shaped Feet

Also known as the antique arrow-style feet, the tapered, cylinder-shaped furniture feet were highly popular in the late 18th and early 19th century. The tapered cylinder is often separated from the furniture leg itself, often via the turned ring. There are different types of arrow-style furniture feet, so let’s take a closer look;

  • Arrow and cylindrical feet – shaped like triangular cylinders, these feet were popular in the early- and mid-18th century. The cylinder is separated from the leg and is often plain. Because of their appearance, such feet are often referred to as arrow feet. The only difference between the arrow and cylindrical feet, though mainly the same, is that in the cylindrical feet, there is some widening out towards the bottom of the foot.
  • Spade feet – these feet, though pretty similar to the arrow and cylindrical versions, are rectangular-shaped. They’re rather wide at the very top, then narrow down towards the bottom. Spade feet were popular during the mid-18th and early 19th centuries.

Block Feet

Antique Furniture by Feet - Block Feet

The cube-like shape of the block feet makes them stand out among all the aforementioned ornamental furniture feet. This simplistic foot design was popular between the 17th and 19th centuries, with the height of its popularity being in the mid-18th century. Block feet were mainly used in the Chippendale furniture style. Let’s take a look at some variations of the block furniture feet;

  • Trestle feet – this block feet style is believed to date back as early as the Middle Ages, making it the oldest known furniture feet style. Trestle feet are generally in a T-shape form and were often used for chests, closets, or any heavy furniture.
  • Whorl feet – these are block feet with a twist; literally. They feature a spiral shape near the very bottom of the feet and were highly popular in Rococo-style antique furniture. Whorl feet were first created and used in the late 17th century and remained in use in the following centuries as well.

Other Antique Furniture Feet Styles

Antique Furniture by Feet - Other Antique Furniture Feet Styles

In the previous paragraphs, we’ve managed to list out the most common furniture feet styles found on antique furniture. We want to expand our list by mentioning some of the less common furniture feet styles, that were still popular and used in the past and might be of aesthetic value to our readers. So, let’s take a closer look;

  • French furniture feet – these are a type of slim bracket feet that were super popular with neoclassical furniture designs. Because of their elegant appearance, and convex form extending outwards, the French feet were used on fancy chairs and stools. Often made from mahogany wood, the feet had a glossy finish which further added to their elegance.
  • Oge furniture feet – another example of the antique bracket furniture feet is the ogee bracket foot. These S-shaped, curved feet have a bulging outward curve and an inward bottom. It was popular in the mid-18th century, and often used in Chippendale, and early Sheraton designs.Antique Furniture by Feet - ogee-feet
  • Trifid furniture feet – this type of furniture feet closely resemble the aforementioned animal furniture feet; both are stylized animal paws, but the trifid ones are a bit different because of the so-called drake foot style. This means that between a paw foot and a clubbed pad foot, there is actually a cross. This type of furniture feet was popular in the 18th century, and is characteristic of Chippendale- and Queen Anne-style of furniture.

Final Thoughts

Despite the fact that there are dozens of different antique furniture foot styles, each of them has a special set of characters that make them memorable and unique. Without a doubt, any furniture piece that features these beautiful, ornamental feet will stand out among your other furniture.

We hope we’ve helped you differentiate between various styles, and we’re sure this will help you find that perfect furniture piece for your home. Keep in mind that antique furniture pieces, especially those with such ornamental details, are highly valued and often highly-priced, and require special care are preservation. 

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *