What Time Of Year Do Furniture Companies Update Their Lines An Armoire in Your Bedroom Recalls the Charm of Past Centuries

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An Armoire in Your Bedroom Recalls the Charm of Past Centuries

History

The earliest wardrobe was actually a somewhat nondescript chest – no need to say how disappointing, is there? It seems they have a home in the 17th century, where they are more recognizable as common cupboards. Obviously owning more clothing than the commoners surrounding their castles do, the nobility decided to store wearables in them. (Is it possible there was an armor wardrobe?) We might even say they were freestanding closets. In some nobility circles, there was even a room called “the wardrobe”, filled with cupboards, closets, shelves, and yes, wardrobes.

New influences

Then the French, as they so often do, created something more grand and called it an “armoire” (from Old French armaire, from Latin arm rium, chest, from arma, tools) and, voila! Somehow, they transformed it into a piece of elegant furniture, fit to occupy their rococo palaces and estates. The lines had changed from straight to curvilinear. Gold leaf covered moldings and delightful little painted scenes adorned the fronts and sides. Rarely is someone fortunate enough to own one of these 18th century treasures. Most of them that survived the French revolution are in museums these days.

Time has changed function…and location

In modern times, drawers were added to make them a bit more useful. An armoire is now expected to have hanging space (or shelves) in the upper portion, with drawers at the bottom. How cunning! We also see armoires used as entertainment centers. In the family room, however, they seem to lose their effect. They really belong in the bedroom to add character to a space that really needs its charm next to the furnishings we expect to see.

Some armoires make us mutter to ourselves

With the advent of modern furniture companies able to match every living thing, wardrobes have become part of a matched set, or suite, to grace many a bedroom. From stringently modern, (horrors!) to faux Louis 14th (nightmare!) they come in all shapes and sizes. In earlier times, the style may have been similar to other pieces in the room, but if they matched exactly, they were called “wardrobes”.

The perfect piece in the right setting

There is nothing wrong with selecting an armoire that “speaks” to the other pieces in the room-even in a family room. For the sake of appreciating the armoire and its history though, look for something that complements the other pieces in the room. The lines may be a consideration. If there’s a strong headboard on the bed, it may be a good idea to consider the headboard when the armoire is selected. If a large armoire can find a place in the room, the headboard is not as important, and the armoire can set its own tone. Finding one that has a similar finish may be the place to reference both pieces, but the armoire is important enough to make its own statement. Find a way to do that and you will continue to see it as a treasured piece in the right setting.

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