One of our most popular pieces of furniture – and really most popular antique furniture item – is the commode.
Excusez moi – let me explain! A commode is the name given to a French or European style chest of drawers or low cabinet. This piece of classic furniture was introduced around the 1700s and is still one one of the most popular pieces of furniture today. The style of these pieces changed greatly from period to period, according to influences as varied as Rococo and Neoclassical. I’ll be sure to put up a post about all of the signature highlights of each of those periods later.
Typically, these pieces were used in foyers or great halls, often on either sides of fireplaces, and were key pieces in the room’s designs. Take a look this gorgeous bedroom in the Chateau de Montgeoffroy in France. This lovely bedroom appointed with Pierre Frey fabrics features a beautiful commode set against the wall. This piece is in beautiful contrast to the patterned bedding and wall fabric.
The beauty about this piece of furniture is that its proportions lend well to a large variety of settings. Here are few of my favorite uses:
Nowadays the scale of furniture is so large that a pair of commodes can make perfect nightstands. They tend to be the ideal height to place beside a bed. Look for a commode that is around 28-30″ high to pair next to bed. If you are lucky enough to find a pair, that would be a wonderful way to frame a bed. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t find another piece exactly the same – as commodes weren’t often made to be a pair.
So what do you do if you need two? I like to do one of two things. Either I look for another commode that could be a complimentary fit. I might look for one that is painted and one that is stained (but in the same style) or two painted pieces that are similar but slightly different. Or I pair a writing table on one side of the bed with a commode on the other side.
The trick to pulling this off successfully is to make sure the two pieces you select are approximately the same height – meaning both pieces should be 29″ or 30″ high. It starts to look very mismatched when one piece is 28″ high and the other is 34″ high. So look to match the scale. See a great example of this below:
Here are a few that I might pair together from Village:
Another great place to use a commode is in a foyer. Take a look this pretty entry with a pair of commodes topped with lovely Venetian insider mirrors.
Or how about this gorgeous commode topped with a beautiful trumeau?! Simply elegant.
Here are a few pieces from Village that I might use in a foyer:
A Powder Bath
Commodes also make a stunning powder room vanity. You might lose the function of drawers if you find a piece that has all drawers, but the height, width and style are usually the perfect fit. This is one the best ways to create a beautiful powder bathroom.
So if you’re looking to use one of these lovely pieces in your home and you aren’t quite sure where, consider a night stand, a foyer or a powder bath vanity. Other great settings might be against a blank wall in a great room, inside a hall niche or in a long hallway. We love bombe shaped pieces to bring a little more curve appeal to any space they occupy!
These pieces are so versatile that you’re sure to find a home for them – a lovely commode will bring its own inspiration!
We just love hearing about all of your design projects so please keep sharing next time you visit!
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