Can you picture a world with no table furniture? No flat and carefully balanced surface to serve, dine, display decorative objects, and work on? Neither can we. The table is one of the oldest forms of furniture known to humankind. It’s undeniably versatile with unique styles and countless uses.
Antique tables are key specimens of a prominent era, so collectors are likely to come across several types of designs. Their forms can date back centuries, but most of them remain common today and can be found in both antique and modern versions.
Below are timeless styles that you should watch out for the next time you attend an auction, visit an antique store, or go to our Scottsdale and Chandler locations.
Antique Table Styles
- Butler’s Table: Originally a light and portable type of table furniture, the Butler hails from the 18th century and consists of a tray and folding stand used for entertaining, serving, and decorating bare walls. While they have changed in form, function, and practice, the handy and versatile Butler Table continues to serve its purpose today.
- Butterfly Table: Drop-leaf tables are characterized by two wing-shaped braces that swing outwards to support the drop leaves or the hinged sections on either side of the table. Commonly used in breakfast areas or small dining spaces, it only accommodates two to four chairs.
- Console Table: Originally a two-legged table attached to a wall, usually via brackets, the Console Table became popular in the 17th century, presumably in France since console means bracket in French. Although succeeding generations changed most of its form and style, some are still created in its traditional manner today.
- Demilune Table: Demi translates to half moon in French, explaining the style of the 1750s table. The Demilune Table is either shaped like a semicircle or have a leaf that drops down to form a full circle when raised.
- Gate-leg Table: This particular dining table has legs that swing open to support leaves, tripling its size to accommodate more seating. Dating back to the late 16th century, the Gate-leg’s Baroque style flourished throughout the 17th century and is characteristic of Jacobean and William and Mary furniture, which represents the less formal, yet intimate dining customs of the period.
- Guéridon Table: These originated as candle stands in Italy during the 17th century and often came in pairs. Each table consists of a pedestal base with a round tray-like top, but its core design changed during further development in France.
- Hutch Table: Sometimes referenced as a chair-table, the Hutch is an early form of the tilt-top table. Its upper can be swung back and locked upright to create an armchair with a sizeable back. The base often comes with a drawer for storage, thus, the reference to a hutch in the name.
- Kang Table: This low, long table is rectangular with short cabriole or elephant-trunk legs and claws. Today, this antique is often utilized as a coffee table, but it was originally used in China on a Kang, which is a raised platform for relaxing.
- Pembroke Table: This minimalistic table comes with small leaves that fold down on each side, often used as an end table or a small serving table when raised. Originally dating from 18th century England, the Pembroke was a popular piece with characteristics of Georgian, Neoclassical and Federal styles.
- Piecrust Table: The Piecrust is a pedestal table with three legs and a round top trimmed with scalloped edges that resemble a pie crust. Many of these tables were made during the Queen Anne and Chippendale periods, and are still widely popular today.
- Tea Table: Its name speaks for itself with the actual purpose of presenting tea. This table rose to fame in the 18th century until the late 1770s, when having the means to serve the then-costly beverage was considered prestigious. All eminent households had a tea table waiting to serve its purpose.
- Trestle Table: One of the first types of European tables, the Trestle dates back to the Middle Ages. It consists of a rectangular board placed atop two or more bases. Each Trestle was originally simplistic and portable, but grew elaborately in style and form as time passed.
Qualities of Authentic Antique Tables
While it is always best to consult a professional, there are a few things you can look for in tables to guarantee if they are in fact antiques. Here are five things that will help you identify authentic antique tables from modern replicas.
- Design: Sometimes, the intricate design of a table can be a dead giveaway to tell whether it’s an antique or not. You can distinguish if a table is an antique by looking for dovetailed joints, as well as by using this article as a guide.
- Period: Every era has a unique take on furniture. Whether its Chippendale or William and Mary, distinct styles from different periods can help you determine if a table is a genuine antique.
- Woods: What truly sets apart an authentic piece from a replica is the quality. Antique tables are heavy 99 percent of the time because they were constructed from solid wood. Some of the most popular choices for antique tables include mahogany, oak, walnut, elm, pine, and rosewood.
- Construction: Everything is made easier for us in present time, but back in the day, hardware was crafted by hand. Ancient antique tables possess handmade hardware elements, with edges including hand-carved leaves, flowers, or shells.