Bobbin – the ornate 17th Century decorative technique has never looked so current.
This trend has endured centuries in the most stylish American homes, and recent search trends show demands for bobbin furniture have jumped by 78% – suggesting its popularity shows no signs of wavering.
See: Interior design trends – top looks for the year ahead
What is bobbin furniture?
Bobbin furniture, also known as spool furniture, gets its name from having legs and other parts lathe-turned to ornamental shapes. Bobbin furniture's intricate shapes can elevate interiors from ordinary to extraordinary. These designs allow homeowners to inject subtle yet powerful stylish statements around their homes – and these baroque furnishings are as elegant as ever before.
‘The bobbin trend taps into the design industry’s interest in craft. Bobbin furniture first came about in the States – makers in the 17th Century used offcuts from factories to make sweet furniture, usually cots or beds or chairs. It also plays to a revival of the decorative,’ shares H&G’s Editorial Director, Sarah Spiteri.
‘Today’s new takes on bobbin can be really fun and characterful – often bringing color to the heritage design for an upbeat note,’ Sarah adds.
Why is bobbin furniture trending?
Steph Briggs, Co-Founder of La Di Da Interiors, suggests the rising demand for bobbin furniture mirrors a similar trend in vintage and upcycled furniture, both of which are simultaneously making a comeback.
'Bobbin furniture reflects this trend, but the modern take on this trend is lending itself to a more objet d'art feel to a functional piece of furniture in your home. Clients now want less furniture and clutter in their homes and more wow factor pieces that stand out. Bobbin furniture certainly does this,' Steph explains.
Designers on both sides of the Atlantic are embracing the trend, including Arlo & Jacob, who are set to launch a new bobbin cocktail chair. Laura Barnard, Buying & Merchandising Manager, praises the trend's playfulness and nostalgia while suggesting it is characterful and warm: 'it reflects a home rich in history and storytelling,' she says.
See: Living room ideas – inspiring ways to decorate and furnish your space
'Bobbin-shaped furniture's understated, handcrafted qualities sit harmoniously next to streamlined Mid-century design but offer a touch more romance and humor,' Laura adds.
How to style bobbin furniture
If you are keen to add some bobbin pieces to your home, here are some ideas on how to make this trend work in a contemporary home.
1. Create a grand display with luxe textiles
To emphasize the grandeur of this centuries-old style, Steph recommends pairing bobbin furniture with equally elegant and timeless pieces. 'Mix bobbin furniture with rich woven and textural fabric throws, rugs and cushions to balance comfort and soft with architectural splendor,' she explains.
2. Bring it into this century with paint
While bobbin furniture reflects the current vintage craze, it similarly allows us to inject elements of maximalism throughout our interiors. This is particularly achieved when we get creative with ageing pieces of bobbin to bring it up to date with a lick of paint.
'Maximalism is having a moment, and within this key 2021 trend, mini trends are also making waves. The maximalist trend gets its inspiration from the Arts and Crafts movement, and handcrafted furniture was ever more popular. The bobbin design takes its inspiration from this period and can be seen on furniture including chairs, beds and side tables,' shares Helen White, Co-founder at House of.
'Originally, this technique would have been left in dark mahogany wood, but now we see it painted and lacquered, which picks out the detail of the design,' she adds.
3. Keep it paired back with natural materials
The increasing trend toward natural materials makes wooden bobbin furniture the perfect way to incorporate hints of nature into your home without sacrificing its grandeur.
Georgia Metcalfe, co-founder and interior expert of luxury bedroom furnishings brand The French Bedroom Company, shares: 'The decorative technique of turning wooden stems and legs on beds, chairs, and lamps brings an ornamental flourish to what were traditionally plain and rather simple stems.'
'It's the ideal trend for bringing elements of beauty to everyday items, sparking visual joy during hard times. It also sits neatly alongside natural trends, as we're currently seeing because the bobbin effect is created from turned wood using a traditional turning lathe.'
4. Play with fun-filled accessories
Bobbin is celebrated for its playful characteristics, so why not emphasize this by investing in fun-filled accessories?
Andrea Childs, Editor of H&G's sister magazine, Country Homes & Interiors suggests: 'There's something immensely tactile and playful about bobbin furniture – the rounded shapes and, particularly, the trend to reinterpret this heritage look in bold and lacquered colors and finishes, make these pieces joyful additions to a room. I'd opt for colorful bobbin lamp bases or a picture frame for a quick and characterful update.'
5. Experiment with raw natural materials
Andrea also encourages us to showcase bobbin in our modern homes by choosing raw wooden pieces with a contemporary twist.
'For another modern-craft take on the trend, choose a table with bobbin legs and a natural, unstained finish that reveals the raw beauty of the wood and the lathe work that creates the distinctive bobbin shape,' she adds.
See: Country decorating ideas – ways to bring stunning rustic style to your home
After centuries in the spotlight and its relationship to some of the biggest interior trends of the season, we have a feeling bobbin furniture is going to dominate our homes for many more years to come.
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Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.
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