Hemswell Antique Centres

How can we help?

Victorian dressers & all things dark: why 19th-century furniture is back in vogue

Antique dresser - Victorian dressers & all things dark: why 19th-century furniture is back in vogue

Period dramas are in vogue right now and with them comes a return to the trend for period furniture. Victorian dressers, antique Victorian chairs carved from pretty rosewood, elegant, towering Victorian bookcases: these kinds of furnishing are commanding higher prices at auction, for many reasons. Here are four of them:


From chipboard to MDF, the particle board used to create flat pack furniture has been popular for decades due to its ease-of-use and minimalist aesthetic. But a chipboard dining table can cost a few hundred pounds these days - for that price you could probably find a solid table in a package with antique Victorian chairs for sale, too. We want more wood for our money, someone to have built the piece already, and don’t want it destined for the landfill. 

Wood used in 19th-century furniture is of the finest quality. Wide planks taken from the girth of great trees were turned into solid Victorian dining tables and the veneers on antique Victorian desks were thicker than they are on today’s particle boards. To truly appreciate the harmony of the design and gilding in a range of antique Victorian wardrobes, or see the intricate motifs of a Victorian chest of drawers in full colour, there’s no substitute for visiting collections, auctions, fairs, and antiques centres.

Lower cost

There’s a perception that buying furniture such as Victorian chests, drawers, beds and dining sets is expensive. But you’ll find something for every budget, from £100 to £5,000 and lots in between: it’d be extremely hard to find a modern equivalent (crafted with solid wood and beautiful veneers) with the same price tags. You might even be able to find a ‘sleeper’ in a salvage yard - as well as building materials, these places also have furnishings such as Victorian tables, wardrobes, tables, chairs and antique dressers for sale.

Look out for pieces with original detailing, such as paint or leather, if you want to fetch higher sale prices. They also have a better resale value if you decide to restore them. Handy places to discover a range of costs and furniture are centres which gather all kinds of dealers under one roof. From an array of Victorian chest of drawers to displays of stunning Victorian cabinets, a wander round Hemswell Antiques Centre reveals something new at every turn. You’ll be chatting to a specialist in antique Victorian chairs one minute, then turn the corner and find a range of wonderful quality Victorian bookcases for sale. Always ask a dealer their ‘best price’ - most will be willing to drop at least 10 per cent.

Changing tastes

Once thought of as outdated and stuffy, items such as Victorian dressers, tables and shelving units are now seen as quirky decorative pieces, with modern designers using brown furniture to give personality to homes. Victorian cupboards give an old-world touch to contemporary kitchens, while leafy plants and designer lampshades breathe life into glorious Victorian tables.

In a sitting room, a Swedish hanging chair can swing happily next to a Victorian chest of drawers, next to artfully arranged Victorian boxes found at a local tip. For collectors and interior designers alike, antique furnishings such as Victorian dressers and drawers lend a sense of depth and history to a space. A lived-in look, with patinas that tell a story.


Quality, price, practicality and style are all huge factors in the rise of dark antique furniture. But buying ‘old’ is also the best kind of recycling you can do. Environmentally, opting to peruse a range of Victorian beds over a fancy new collection makes sense. A new set of drawers with a lifespan of 15 years has a carbon footprint 16 times bigger than Victorian dressing tables that can last a couple of centuries, according to independent research commissioned by the Antiques Are Green campaign.

There’s no doubt that 19th-century furniture has staying power. How can you not stand in awe at a Victorian bookcases or chests or chairs that were made centuries ago and are still standing? Whether you’re feathering your nest with a mahogany Victorian chest of drawers or browsing which Victorian beds for sale complement  your interior style best, our wide range of period furniture has all kinds of reasonably priced, high-quality Victorian tables, chairs, cabinets, sideboards, chests, sofas, cupboards, bookcases, wardrobes, dining tables, beds and antique dressers for sale. Half the fun is in the hunt.

Back to articles