What is a Bow Front Chest & What To Consider Before Buying


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The 17th century was the period where the creativity of the chest designs began to blossom everywhere. In France, the bombe chests took over, while a few hundred miles away, Dutch created another famous chest: the Bow Front chest.

The Bow Front chest is a chest, typically made out of wood with the front curvature of the set bends outward slightly from the rest of the piece.

what is a bowfront chest

This is a classical piece of furniture which comes in many styles and sizes, can also be double; which as the name suggests is double the size and you get double the amount of drawers.

Typically, the traditional models are made out of wood, mostly mahogany, with metal drawer pullers and bracket feet.

Nevertheless, nowadays you can find numerous bow front chests in any style, shape, and color: from traditional ones to vintage, modern, contemporary, or the fancier regency style.

It can also be painted in different colors, or have that simply polished look; moreover, it can be standard or have an aged/worn-out look. There is a variety of designs to choose from.




History of the Bow Front Chest

We take this design for granted, and although we love it, we rarely think of its uniqueness and creativity; the origin of this timeless piece of furniture can be traced back to the late Georgian period where people started combing the practical and the creative side in the furniture designs.

This piece could have been completed solely by a skillful craftsman who would add shapes to the construction making it more difficult to construct.

The earlier models had bracket feet, and as time passed by these got replaced by bun feet.

Typically, these were made of mahogany wood and their design included Chippendale characteristics of at or serpentine fronts, shaped bracket feet and ornate brass handles, and keyholes, which with time got replaced with simpler decorations.




What to consider when buying Bow Front Chest

When you are buying bow front chests or chest of drawers of any type, you need to consider several things:

  • Size: how big you need it to be, measure your existing space before you head to the store and ask for bow front chest with a size that matches your space;
  • Storage: how many drawers you need?
  • Design: Your new Bow Front chest needs to fit well with the rest of your furniture; consider the colors, materials, and designs of your other furniture and choose bow front chest with finishes and hardware that complement your existing interior.
  • Mechanism: check how easily and effortlessly the drawers open; look for a model with gliders just to ensure a smooth, effortless opening.
  • Decoration: if you are planning on adding your favorite lamp, or hanging a picture/mirror above your bow front chest, take into consideration the height of these items so that it isn’t too tall or short in comparison with them.



How to insert it in your interior and decorate your Bow Front Chests?

You can use this classical piece of furniture almost in any room in your home; it looks really well when it is combined with other traditional, country or vintage furniture items, exposed beams, and whitewashed walls.

It can also be used as a statement piece in contemporary homes. Decorate it with a vase with your favorite flowers/plants, a lamp, different decorative boxes, or decorations, perhaps a candle or two.

You can also hang your favorite mirror above it, your family portrait, or any other picture that brings a smile on your face.

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