This Antique Furniture Trend Is Making a Whimsical Comeback

Rachel Donath

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Like fashion, furniture trends are cyclical — in style, then out, before returning again, often with a modern twist. Case in point: bobbin furniture, which was an ornate 17th century decorative technique, and recently, has been spotted again and again on new furniture pieces.

“Taking its name from the lathe-turned detailing traditionally seen on chair, stool and table legs, the style has a rich history, with archaeologists having excavated handmade wooden bowls and cups featuring the design from shipwrecks and burial sites as early as AD 500,” writes UK publication Stylist.

Image: Spool Armchair, circa 1936. Artist Ella Josephine Sterling. Via Getty Images

The style introduces curves, and like with arches and circular objects, softens a space and creates a sense of energy and movement, says Gail Adele, interior designer and founder of Sydney-based company, The Personal Edit. “Similar to vintage or antique furniture, it also adds a sense of the unusual or quirky, which is important to make a space feel like a home and not a showroom.”

Adele says that while she hasn’t yet seen bobbin furniture hit the mainstream, she’s starting to see its influence in boutique furniture designers, like Rachel Donath. The Australian designer’s The Hail Mirror ($990), which comes in black or white, and The Safari Chair ($1,590), available in wild berry or bark, are a pared-back, restrained version of bobbin furniture, she says.

Bobbin Safari Chair
Image: The Safari Chair, Rachel Donath

“Same goes with Sarah Ellison’s ‘Yoko’ collection [which features bed frames and coffee tables],” she says. “They are using just a single ball, and the ball evokes a sense of playfulness. You can find the more traditional bobbin designs quite easily in the mainstream in mirrors – Pottery Barn’s kids’ Wood Ball Mirror ($149) – and the white-orb caterpillar pendants you see everywhere now.”

As for how to incorporate bobbin furniture or homewares into your home, Adele says that because it’s so distinctive a feature that draws the eye, she’d recommend you only use one piece per room. “Also, painting bobbin furniture and homewares black can look amazing and make it feel more contemporary,” she says.

Keen to bring the trend into your home? Scroll down to shop our edit of bobbin furniture and homewares.

Lifely Ballico Bedside Table, $247

This walnut bedside table is in a Japandi style, with rubber wood legs.

Lifely Ballico table
Image: Lifely

Pottery Barn Wood Ball Mirror, $419

This mirror Adele mentioned is framed in wood and finished in antique brass.

Pottery Barn Wood Mirror

Adairs Versailles Floor Light, $299.99

Bobbin features on the base of this lamp that would suit an office or beach house.

Bobbin furniture lamp

Ceramic Candlesticks (set of 3), $120

This set of three candlesticks were handmade in Australia from green ceramic and finished with clear gloss.

Ceramic candlesticks

Sarah Ellison Yoko Capsule Coffee Table, $2,099

Constructed from solid and veneer timber in a walnut or oak finish, this coffee table will be a piece you’ll have forever.

Sarah Ellison Yoko Coffee Table

Related: 3 Australian Designers Weigh In — This Is the Homewares Trend They’re Seeing Everywhere

Related: These Fruit Print Homewares Are Sure to Pear Well With Any Space

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