Photo Antique Parlor Furniture
Antique Parlor Furniture

A History of the Parlor

The history of the parlor, which was also known as the drawing room. Has always shown that this room was considered to project the wealth and status of the family that lived within the home. Throughout time, this room has evolved but has still maintained the status of being the focal point for visitors.

Considered the ladies' room, the parlor was often used in the Victorian and Edwardian era as a place to retreat after a meal with guests. The males would remain in the dining room and the females would meet in the parlor to discuss topics of interest.

The room would be decorated in light colors with only accents in darker hues. Most decor was in the floral scheme. Which provided a fresh and clean appearance to guests. The floor would usually be pine boards unless the family was of wealth, and then the floors would be made of more expensive woods such as mahogany and oak. As a main focal point, just like with the dining room, was a fireplace which would be of a lighter color than in the other rooms.

The use of wallpaper in this room was common. Families would decorate the walls with floral or bird-themed wallpapers, and would keep the ceiling white. It was not uncommon to find the families most prized possessions displayed around the room. Also, to keep with the scheme of having a fresh and light room, families would often keep several plants such as ferns in the home to help project a peaceful mood.

Since wall to wall carpet was something not often found in the parlor room, families often used rugs to adorn the floor. These rugs would usually have a light floral pattern. If the floral pattern could not be obtained, they would be as decorative as possible. Since the goal of this room was to project a certain type of family value and wealth to guests.

The furniture of the room was often made of heavy woods such as mahogany and oak. Although the more wealthy families would use rosewood, which a more expensive option for furniture. In the parlor room, there would be a arm chairs made of leather, a settee (which was also known as a couch), a grandfather clock, and several sideboards which would hold a variety of items such as throws, blankets, and linens. It was not uncommon to find bookcases filled with books, footstools, a upright piano for entertainment, as well as a desk for writing and the lady's needlework table.

To provide light to the parlor room, candlesticks as well as gas wall lights would be visible. On the fireplace would often be decorative plates, figurines, and candlesticks. Above the mantel of the fireplace would often times be a mirror framed in a beautiful frame. During the Victorian and Edwardian eras, mirrors were very expensive so when a family invested in one. They would oftentimes have the mirror framed to help protect the glass as well as add to the appearance.

Families often had large paintings hung around the parlor as well as flowers and stuffed birds. These decorations were always light and cheerful. Curtains were also usually made of satin or lace and would help provide a light appearance to the parlor.

The parlor was considered the main focal point for the entire house. This room was often the largest room and also was the most grand. The antique parlor furniture that can be found that adorned this room today shows how families valued their public status and wealth. Even the lower class families always strived to make sure that the parlor was a room that projected a better life style than what they actually had.