Tag Archives: heavily-carved furniture

Guide to French Hunting Style Furniture and Decor

French Hunting style furniture and decor became popular in the court of King Francis I in the 1500s. Yet four hundred years later, it looks just as good in today’s homes. An impressive yet comfortable and welcoming style of decor, the French Hunting style is a great choice for people who enjoy an elevated rustic look.

The Origins of French Hunting Style Furniture and Decor

Antique French Carved Henry II Buffet
Antique French Hunting style buffet in our customer’s home

The French Hunting style was made popular by King Francis I (1515 – 1547) who ruled in France at around the same time as King Henry VIII ruled across the channel in England.

Francis I was a great supporter of the arts, especially Italian Renaissance art and architecture. He even tempted Leonardo da Vinci to move to France to create art in the King’s court! King Francis spent a lot of money building and renovating castles and grand stately homes, including Château Fontainebleau, Château d’Amboise and Château de Blois.

Whatever the king did, the royal court followed. Aristocrats also began building châteaux and hunting lodges in the countryside near Paris in the rural Loire Valley. King Francis established a style of decorating these new buildings in a way that was inspired by the hunt and rural life, as well as noble mythological beasts that reflected the regal power of the monarchy. The aristocrats picked up on the look too, of course, following the taste of their King. Thus the French Hunting style was born.

Antique French Hunting Bed
Antique Hunting style bed in our customer’s home.

Renaissance Revival Hunting Style

Hunting style returned to popularity centuries later in France during the Renaissance Revival era in the late 1800s, when the newly wealthy middle class was keen to buy large, ornate and heavily-carved furniture to show off their rise in status. The Hunting style checked all the boxes, boasting fine craftsmanship in the carved details that was sure to impress. It was a very decorative look adorned with carved foliage, vines and animals, as well as handsome barley twists, yet this ornate style was still practical and comfortable to live with, focusing on dark woods rather than glitzy or gilded finishes.

Antique French Hunting Desk
Antique French Hunting style desk with carved griffins… the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. 

Typical Features of French Hunting Style Furniture

To decorate the aristocratic French chateaux and lodges, Hunting style furniture makers turned to symbols of the hunt and the rural life.

  • Carvings inspired by the hunt included stags, fish, birds, dogs, foxes, rabbits and boars.
  • Carvings of mythical creatures included winged griffins, dragons and serpents.
  • Noble lion heads were also frequently used to adorn furniture, with the carved heads roaring out of the wood. Metal lion heads decorated door or drawer handles on cabinets.
  • Flowing forest foliage such as leaves, berries, acorns, fruits and flowers added yet more decorative appeal. 
  • Grapes and vines carvings were also popular, as would be natural in this wine-making region of the Loire valley.
  • Barley twists often frame cabinets or serve as support posts on nightstands, adding more visual texture and design interest.
Antique French Hunting style nightstand
Antique French Hunting nightstand repurposed as a side table in our customer’s home.
  • Dark woods and especially oak featured strongly, and now boast a beautiful patina on the antique furniture.
  • The heavily-carved woods were sometimes enhanced by stained glass in the upper doors of cabinets.

Hunting Style Furniture and Decor in Today’s Homes

French Hunting Style antique furniture is still one of our most popular styles in our online store, proving that you don’t need a fancy chateau or hunting lodge to enjoy the look in your own home! Our customers love these hand-carved antique pieces as they add great warmth, character and decorative appeal to a home.

Victorian Home dining room restoration

The lavish carvings of foliage and fruits brings a noble but rustic look to any home, and makes Hunting style a great match for a dining room. Carved vines often trailed down the backs of dining chairs. Today, Hunting style dining chairs with vines and grapes are a great choice for wine lovers who enjoy opening a great vintage when they host dinner parties. For example, our antique French Hunting chairs in the customer spotlight of our customer Sal’s dining room look amazing with their vines and grapes and also barley twists that create a bold silhouette.

Animal lovers will enjoy the realistic carvings of wild and exotic animals that bring a space to life and add tons of personality to a home. For example, carvings of roaring lions and other beasts are fierce protectors of your home! The animal faces are also sure to be a wonderful talking point at your next party.

The carvings of forest animals are the stars on this round antique French Hunting table, dating to 1880 and hand-crafted in oak wood.

The vividly realistic details of the fox, boar, stag and hunting dog, all leaping out of the pedestal, are superb emblems of the royal hunt!

Nature is your muse for smaller home accessories too, including animal statues and figurines, or antler mounts on the walls or in light fittings. You don’t have to buy real stag antlers. Our collection of new OK Casting antler wall mounts are hand-crafted in resin, and each one is made in America. They look very authentic and have a nice weight to them.

We also have OK Casting chandeliers and other light fixtures featuring stags, boars, foxes and other Hunting inspired motifs. Bookends and boxes are other nicely crafted pieces to complete the atmosphere.


You can find French Hunting style antique furniture and home decor in our online store, where there are plenty of options to pick a unique heirloom piece to bring this handsome look to your home.

AimeeAvatar

Aimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 9 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Florida Road Trip 3: Antique Henry II Dining Chairs

After Greg and I decided to take a road trip to Florida to make a delivery to the Orlando area, Katrina in Alva, FL, purchased this handsome set of six antique Henry II dining chairs in our Etsy store. We were delighted that we could include this delivery to the Ft. Myers area on the way to visit my home town of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

antique French Henry II dining chairs

We love this style of antique Renaissance Henry II dining chairs and buy as many sets as we can find during our antiques buying trips to France. We recently sold a similar set to the television show, Ozark, and you can read about that delivery trip here.

This particular set of antique Henry II dining chairs is especially nice as the scale is a bit larger than most. These antique chairs are carved in walnut and they show the patina of age on the wood frames. This is the kind of finish that you cannot buy in new furniture. The dining chairs date to around 1890 so they have certainly earned their patina!

embossed leather on antique Henry II dining chairs

The original embossed leather featured was especially detailed. There are scrolls, floral elements, roaring lion faces and even dragonflies!

When we pulled up to this amazing estate right on the river, we were stunned by the absolutely beautiful location! Katrina explained she is the caretaker of her brother’s estate and the whole family lives on the compound – her children were out mowing the grass when we pulled up. There is a huge pool with a water slide and waterfall on the side of this palatial home that faces the river.

And what a stunning view indeed! It seemed like paradise to us. Katrina explained that her brother had won the lottery after much hardship in his life and he has given her free reign to decorate the estate. Luckily for us, Katrina loves heavily-carved antique furniture – our specialty.

embossed leather on antique Henry II dining chairs

We ooohed and ahhhed over several pieces in her home on the way to place these regal chairs at a wrought iron table in the middle of the great room, right off of the kitchen. They fit right in with her Renaissance style decor!

antique Henry II dining chairs in dining room

She had recently painted the wall black and it really does create quite a dramatic effect with the marble floors and ornate, hand-carved built-in bookcases and mantel. The dark leather on the antique dining chairs blends in nicely with the black leather upholstery on the sofas in the great room.

Greg and I reminded ourselves to stop and buy a lottery ticket as we drove out of the compound gates! Next stop was my hometown of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida!

As we drove away from the family living in their beautiful estate, we were delighted to know that the set of French antique Henry II dining chairs had found such a happy home.

AimeeAvatar

Aimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 9 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.