Are you redesigning your interior decoration? Do you want to impress your audience at a family meal? Here are a few points on the differences between the King Louis XV style and the King Louis XVI style.

The King Louis XV style

This was the dominant style during most of the 18th century, the era of Baroque, Rococo, opulence and frivolity. The furniture of this period, especially chairs and armchairs, are recognisable through their curved legs and armrests. Indeed, we call a curved leg ‘the Louis XV leg’.

Carpenters would use woods of different colours to give the furniture a gleaming effect: rosewoood, boxwood and pearwood for veneers; beech, walnut tree wood and mahogany for chairs.

Furniture would also be decorated with rocaille, kinds of volutes evoking shellfish, foam and corals, plant patterns, and golden decorations. There was a taste for abundant colours and decorative features: bronze works finely chiselled and silk with floral patterns. Nothing could be too beautiful for furniture in the King Louis XV style.


The King Louis XVI style

With this style there was a return to calm and geometric shapes. At the end of the 18th century, the style from antiquity was rediscovered through excavations at Pompei and Herculaneum. This was a source of inspiration in decorative arts

The style was lighter, with straighter forms, and armchair legs that were linear and fluted.

Yet the era was also minimalistic. There was a taste for symmetrical, simple forms inspired by vegetation. Decors were floral, or included features like ribbon knots, festoons and drapery.

Other than wood, furniture-makers would use pieces of porcelain from the Manufacture Royale de Sèvres, copper or bronze for ornamentation. Lastly, wrought-iron furniture also emerged, which imitated Roman furniture.


In short

The King Louis XV style featured:

  • curved legs or legs in the form of animal legs;
  • rounded forms;
  • plant decors – foliage, bulrushes – and rocaille.

The King Louis XVI style featured:

  • straight, fluted legs;
  • linear, geometric forms;
  • floral decors or ribbons.


Now you know how to dazzle in high society, so go and enjoy yourself!