The vast range in furniture terminology can get confusing when you’re browsing Krrb, so that’s why we’ve decided to break down some of the most general terms to help you navigate Furniture Shopping 101. (See our first installment here where we define design eras and the difference between antiques and vintage.)From the true definition of a highboy to how bentwood is made, we’re here to help you learn what is it you’re shopping for! Let’s get started.
The traditional definition of a credenza and what we have come to know it as today definitely varies. The credenza originally served as a place where food could be tested for poison prior to the meal being served to people of importance. These serving stations had no legs and had cabinets reaching the floor, but the large pieces became popular again during the mid-20th century and new styles of the classic piece emerged. Now credenzas are used in essentially any area of one’s home and have maintained their popularity especially with the resurgence of the Mid-century Modern trend. See all credenzas available on Krrb.
Whether you are in CB2 or Target or a flea market, you’re bound to see a Saarinen-inspired design. The most famous would be the tulip chair and tulip table. The simplicity and modern edge of the design is what made it so popular in the 1950’s and is also what has helped it remain a well-loved design to this day. From marble tops to chrome bases, you’ll surely see a wide arrange of both originals and replications that have maintained their popularity. See all tulip based items on Krrb.
We know, we know. With so many different phrases for dressers it’s often hard to remember what characteristics differentiates a lowboy from a highboy from a chest of drawers. A highboy is when the set of drawers is topped with additional cabinet space rather than more drawers. These pieces came about as people’s taste became more grand and ceilings became higher leaving more space for extravagant furniture. See all highboys available on Krrb.
You can call these chairs the face of Mid-century Modern design seeing as they are the most recognizable items from the time period. Fiberglass shell chairs come in a range of colors and both with and sans arms. They are also widely popular as rocking chairs. Although the sturdy chairs are still being produced and sold by Herman Miller, it is nothing quite like having yourself an original from Eames! See all Eames shell chairs on Krrb.
The tanker desk is a Mid-century Modern American classic that is not often reproduced current day. Since it’s inception in 1946 the desk has been manufactured essentially the same way. A double pedestal base and a desk made of brushed steel is completed with typically one file drawer, four box drawers and one pencil drawer. These massive desks are still great items to pick up and if you have the time and patience, are a perfect project to add some DIY magic to bring it up to your current style. See all tanker desks available on Krrb.
Did you know that Lucite is the name brand for a certain acrylic resin? Me neither! Lucite pieces are often associated with Hollywood Regency-style interiors, but have become more mainstream recently because of the overwhelming popularity of the Ghost Chairs! While Lucite dining chairs are very popular, you can still find vintage items ranging from bar carts to consoles made out of the stylish material. See all Lucite pieces on Krrb.
A hutch is typically a unit of furniture that has a cabinet as a base and is then topped with shelves or additional cabinets. The top portion of shelves is the majority of the overall piece, which leaves it traditionally to be best used to showcase items such as your china or glassware. See all hutches available on Krrb.
Bentwood is essentially exactly what it sounds like…it’s wood that is bent. Michael Thonet was a German maker who is most famous for his creation of bentwood furniture. The process of creating a bentwood piece is actually quite interesting- by wetting wood (either by soaking it or steaming it) and then bending it and letting it harden into the desired shaped you have an end result of beautifully curved furniture. While that process sounds easy enough, we think we’ll leave it to the masters. See all bentwood furniture on Krrb.
This iconic style was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich on behalf of Germany for their entry into the International Exposition of 1929, which was being hosted in Barcelona, Spain. The crossed stainless steel legs topped with tufted leather (which has been produced by Knoll since the mid-20th century) has become an iconic style, highly sought after by serious collectors and also newbies in the world of interior design. See all Barcelona style items on Krrb.
The history of hairpin legs is a classic “form meets function” story. They were designed by Henry P. Glass in 1941 during the war in order to cut down on materials needed while still creating something that gives the same amount of support to a piece of furniture. You will find many vintage pieces with their original hairpin legs, but recently it has become very trendy to DIY items by adding modern hairpin legs. They’re an excellent way to add a touch of vintage style to your space! See all items with hairpin legs on Krrb.
You may be more likely to know this piece as a slat bench, but the George Nelson design from the 1940’s is one that has stood the test of time. The clean lines of the bench represents Nelson’s overall vision of honest design and architecture. The solid wood slats are evenly spaced in order to let air and light through, which makes them a great addition to any room. See all platform benches on Krrb.
These curved-back chairs can be found in an array of styles ranging from rattan to leather and to the most popular version, the Acapulco chair. The history of the Acapulco isn’t for certain, but the rumor is a traveler who was visiting the vacation hot spot needed to create a chair that would be comfortable to lounge in while tolerating the heat of Mexico. See all hoop chairs on Krrb.
Drafting tables or drawing boards are ideal options whether you are an artist or you are simply looking to add more surface areas in your home. Vintage drafting tables in particular are quite special because of the wood used to construct them. During the industrial revolution, draftsmanship become a more popular trade and the desks went from being produced in fine woods and brass to being manufactured in steel and plastic. You will sometimes find them as mechanical desks with gears to adjust the height of the table. They are also recognizable because the tabletop can be adjusted to various angles. See all drafting tables on Krrb.