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Swedish Biedermeier Facts

Antique Swedish Biedermeier Furniture

Elegant and refined but simple and tasteful, Swedish Biedermeier furniture has become sort after by design lovers the world over. The honey colour french polish finish is the most sort after. You also find a light oak finish on the sofas and Biedermeier dining chairs and rarely they have used a quilted mahogany veneer that has a very rich darker finish with a slight tinge of red to it.

We can of course re-polish any of our antique Biedermeier sofas, dining chairs, tables and cabinets or chiffoniers to a different colour on request if you need to match a Biedermeier antique you already have or you need a specific colour for your design ethos.


The Biedermeier period in Sweden began around 1830 with the accession of a Frenchman to the Throne of Sweden who became known as Karl Johan – the name by which the style of Biedermeier furniture is known in Sweden.

Influenced heavily by the French Empire furniture style of the period and also drawing on the influences of the German Biedermeier movement, Swedish Biedermeier furniture is all about the show woods almost as a reaction to the painted furniture of the Gustavian period (1780-1820). The shapes of Swedish Biedermeier designs are less angular and rigid than the German styles and mostly less ornate than French Empire which is famous for its use of over the top gilt eagles, lavish adornments and general bling. Certainly the absolute top end antique Swedish Biedermeier pieces can compete with any French Empire furniture for elaborate gildings and decoration but the overall feel of the Swedish style is less showy and more curvaceous while still retaining the stunning show woods. As noted above, the honey colour french polish finish is the most sort after usually with either quilted golden birch or later on in the early 1900s-1920s birds eye maple. It has a really rich and lustrous texture and sheen – we can even re-lacquer it if you wish to a mirror like shine ( although this is a fairly serious undertaking requiring considerable time and expertise to achieve the required result).


The frames of Biedermeier sofas, chairs, drawers and tables are usually locally sourced birch or pine with hand fitted wooden plugs rather than screws with an overlay of a top quality thin wooden veneer. Golden Birch is the most prevalent show wood as it was a locally grown product. It has a wonderful rich grain to the veneer that is only millimetres thick with wild quilted swirls and flames that are either book-matched on cabinet and drawer fronts or used to create 1/4 or 1/8th segments on tables to make a repeating pattern. This is often supplemented with subtle use of ormolu finishing on posts, edges or feet to counterpoint the show woods.

The finish is a highly shiny french polish in a light honey to mid oak colour or more rarely a darker tone. You also see Birds eye maple and mahogany veneers used too or higher end pieces: the maple is polished in its natural honey colour and the mahogany has a darker tone but either way the richness of the wood grain is amazing.

Upholstery for Biedermeier Furniture

Our Biedermeier sofas , dining chairs and armchairs all feature fully sprung and webbed seats with deep horsehair or natural fibre upholstery – some of the earliest sofas are even stuffed with straw! We fit new black and white webbing to give the seats a firm comfort and recondition teh seat pads as required. The Biedermeier dining chairs are only webbed rather than sprung and we create a perfect dome for the seats for maximum comfort.

Remember that your choice of fabric will drastically change the look of your Biedermeier furniture so be as traditional or adventurous as you dare. 


Its very easy to damage the french polish and the original veneers if you treat them worng so please follow these guidelines:

*    Always use a soft non abrasive cloth

*    Never use cleaning materials that contain acidic or alkali contents include ammonia based cleaners. They will dull the finish and damage the shellac top coat

*     Use a neutral furniture polish or wax and polish gently with a circular motion

*     If you scratch the veneer, use a scratch cover in the appropriate colour shade to touch in the damage.

*     Any movement in the veneers including bubbling or peeling will need to be glued down and repolished by a professional french polisher

Our Stock:

Our unrivalled selection of 18th and 19th century original Swedish Biedermeier furniture  is available for private view by appointment 7 days a week and we are ready to ship to you anywhere in the world.

We have beautiful biedermeier sofas, dining chairs, armchairs, side tables, dining tables, chests of drawers, chiffoniers, cabinets and carver chairs in the original polished finishes.

Thoughts on Antique Biedermeier Furniture

Not a day goes by when i don’t thrill at the rich honey tones of Swedish Biedermeier furniture. I have always been in love with beautiful woods and the incredible swirl and deep movement to be seen in some of the golden birch veneers used on 1800s Biedermeier pieces as as good as any in the world. There’s something about the honey colour french polishing that gives a real 3D effect to the veneers and helps them achieve such a strong and rich look.

Antique Biedermeier furniture is so beautifully made – its a great investment.