Ultimate Guide: French Chairs, Louis style!

 I *love* French Louis chairs.  However, there are four different types of Louis chairs.  I see them frequently mislabeled so I’ve created a guide on how to tell the difference!

There were four French Kings named Louis and they each had a different style.  The styles take us from Late Renaissance, to Baroque, to Rococo, to Neo-Classical style.  The arm chairs of Louis XIII start of very throne-like, then they become very feminine and low to the ground, then eventually geometrical.  

A guide to French Louis Style Chairs

Let’s get started…

Louis XIII chair style

Louis XIII (1610-1643) – Late Renaissance.  These chairs have a straight back.  They always have turned legs.  They frequently have curved arms.  On the bottom of the chair, they frequently have H form stretchers on the bottom to hold it together.

Louis XIII chair source

Louis XIII Chair source

Louis XIII chair source
Louis XIV chair style

Louis XIV (1643-1715) – Baroque.  These chairs are more linear and more massive. Frequently they have motifs in tortoiseshell,  gilt bronze or silver.  Some may have classical motifs of fluting. These chairs were meant to impress!  Remember, Louis XIV was the “Sun King” who built the Chateau de Versailles!  He needed large chairs to fill up his large palace! He apparently had solid silver pieces but had to melt them down for a war. Shame!  The chairs were also big to accommodate the fashions.

I think these are pretty similar to the Louis XIII style, but the easiest way to tell the difference is that these chairs never have turned legs.

Louis XIV Chair source

Louis XIV chair source 

Louis XIV chair source

Louis XV chair style

Louis XV (1715-1774): Rococo.  These chairs have S and C curves with the curved cabriole leg.  They have lots of gilding and exotic motifs.  They are more delicate and more feminine. Intimate.  You’ll note that these arm rests became shorter to accommodate the large hoops in the women’s dresses of the time.  The easiest way to tell these chairs apart is the curved cabriole leg.

Louis XV chair source
Louis XV chair source

Louis XV chair source

You’ll also note this bergere Louis XV chair looks very similar to the very last picture of my Louis XVI chairs but it has the cabriole leg.

Louis XV chair source

Louis XV chair source

Now you’ll note this chair below looks similar to the Louis XVI style, but it still has cabriole legs so you know it’s Louis XV!

Louis XV chair source

Louis XVI Chair style

Louis XVI (1744-1972): Neoclassical.  These chairs have tapered straight lines with fluted legs. They are decorated with fluted columns, oak and laurel leaf wreaths, and Greek patterns.  They are trying to imitate furniture of the ancient Greeks and Romans.  The easiest way to tell these apart is the fluted leg.

Louis XVI chair source
Louis XVI chair source
Louis XVI chair source
Louis XVI chair source met museum

 And now for my Louis XVI bergere chairs… for more information see my blog post here.

Louis XVI bergere chairs

Now, let’s review:

Louis XIII: Late Renaissance turned legs

Louis XIV: Baroque pomp and rigidity.

Louis XV: Rococo intimate and feminine with cabriole legs

Louis XVI: Neoclassical elegance with fluted legs.

What style is your favorite?  I like the Louis XV and XVI styles the best.

Here are some chairs I have rounded up that you can shop.

In the Louvre in Paris, there is a whole section dedicated to chairs! Visit HERE

chair museum Paris source

Check out my French chairs pinterest board and follow me here:


1. http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/louis-xvi-style-revolutionary-97088

2. http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/style-glossary-the-louis-style-141762

3. http://www.designsponge.com/2009/09/french-chairs-diy-project.html


Other chair pic sources:

1. yellow chair 

2. sketches of the chair types

3. Louis XV chair

Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com


  1. June 5, 2014 / 9:48 pm

    Great post. I really appreciate all the research. I love them all!

    • June 6, 2014 / 5:04 am

      Thanks. I had fun dreaming of what new chairs I want in my house!

  2. June 10, 2014 / 12:34 am

    Very cool tutorial about these chairs. I favor the same ones you do and would love to have one of them someday. Thanks for the education.

    • June 10, 2014 / 12:49 am

      Keep your eyes open at estate sales. You can find newer ones from the 1950s for a pretty good deal; they may require some paint and new fabric but it's the best bargain!

  3. June 13, 2014 / 12:57 am

    I had no idea there were so many different types for French Louis Chairs. Great tutorial and breakdown of each one. Thanks for sharing on Merry Monday.

  4. June 17, 2014 / 8:33 pm

    Great guide. Thanks for the tips on which is which. great post.

  5. March 2, 2015 / 9:24 pm

    This is a really good guide and it really helped me to identify the 3 chairs I bought in Belgium to restore!

  6. May 7, 2015 / 7:57 am

    The french chair louis xv bergere is beautiful. You have done an amazing. I spent many months researching different companies that sell a french style upholstered bed. I finally made the decision to go ahead and buy the Chelsea upholstered bed. Extremely pleased with my decision. Below is a link to the product page. Good-luck with your upholstered bed shopping.