Ode to Old Brown Furniture



Should Old Acquaintance be forgot……..

Happy New Year!

On New Year’s Day thousands of kind hearted and adventurous people gather at Easton’s Beach in Newport, RI to take the Polar Bear Plunge and help raise money for A Wish Come True.

polar bear plunge

Another popular New Year’s Day tradition is Lighthouse Promotions’ annual antiques show held at the Venus de Milo in nearby Swansea, Mass. Rather than brave the frigid Atlantic and those treacherous mimosas, we marked 2016 by fighting the crowds at the cozy, warm indoor antiques show.

antique show

Booth after booth was brimming with this year’s must-have treasures including blue and white pottery, Asian antiques, vintage jewelry…….and believe it or not……old brown furniture.




For those of you who still love antiques, you may share my concern that brown furniture has been deemed an endangered species.

The Economist recently published an article entitled “Out With the Old” proclaiming that the bottom has fallen out of the antiques market. Experts blame the downfall on millennials who advocate a less is more lifestyle, celebrate the tiny house movement and cherish mid-century modern furniture. As the mother of two twenty-somethings, I’ve seen them wrinkle their noses and roll their eyes when I bring another piece of brown furniture into our home.


Truth be told, I do go a little weak in the knees when I see a Danish teak credenza that was crafted during the Kennedy Administration.

But I have not completely given up on antique brown furniture. Neither should you.

These mahogany, rosewood, walnut and maple relics embody Old World craftsmanship that cannot be duplicated. Their inlaid and hand-carved designs serve as vestiges of our past. And at this very moment in time, brown antiques are shockingly affordable.

Many dismiss antique brown furniture because they prefer light, bright and airy decors; the kind you find in hotel lobbies. Flip through the pages of decorating magazines or browse Pinterest and you’ll have no trouble finding exquisite details camouflaged by gallons of white latex paint.

Why not give brown furniture a second chance? Attend an auction.  Visit an antiques mall.  Explore a flea market. Experience a nostalgia tug. Be Detective Brown.

Your family’s health is another good reason to buy brown. Highly toxic lead paint plagues antique and vintage furniture. Chipped, peeling or cracked lead paint will release poisonous lead dust into your home and put your loved ones at serious risk.  Before you consider buying a shabby antique, conduct an instant lead test.  You can purchase lead test kits at your local hardware store.

lead check

lead paint

The chipped lead paint on this cupboard is highly toxic.

Go Brown!

Here are some brown antiques that look on the bright side…….so to speak.

empire mirror

Antique Ogee mirror with mahogany frame. The glass reflects light and brightens the room.


mirror detail 2

Antique Federal mirror. The pediment, urn, flowers, carvings, and inlaid detail are lovely.

marble table

Antique marble top table.

sail chair

Antique mahogany chair. The seat is upholstered with a vintage cotton sail.


Antique Stickley Rocking Chair…..an icon of the Arts and Crafts Movement.


chest detail

Vintage chinoiserie chest of drawers. The decoration is so romantic.

cropped inlaidAntique inlaid table.  Each piece of wood painstakingly set in place.


Let’s make 2016 the year that beautiful brown furniture becomes fashionable once again.  Cheers!

2 thoughts on “Ode to Old Brown Furniture

  1. Pingback: Ode to Old Brown Furniture | HOMES OF THE BRAVE

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