What is a Bonnet Top?

A decorative top piece on furniture that resembles the shape of a bonnet.


A Bonnet Top is a distinctive architectural and design feature typically found on cabinets, armoires, and clocks, known for its curved or bell-shaped silhouette that resembles a traditional bonnet. This design element is a hallmark of certain historical periods of furniture, particularly in pieces from the 17th and 18th centuries, exuding an air of elegance and sophistication. The bonnet top adds a visually compelling aspect to furniture, creating a focal point that draws the eye upward.

The shape and style of a bonnet top can vary, from simple and smooth curves to elaborate and ornately carved designs, often featuring scrollwork, finials, or other decorative elements. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the bonnet top often conceals additional storage or display space within the furniture piece. These tops are commonly found in traditional or period-style interiors but can also be reinterpreted in more modern designs to add a touch of historical charm.

The presence of a bonnet top on a piece of furniture indicates the craftsman's attention to detail and the desire to create a piece that stands out. Its inclusion in a design often speaks to the luxury and status of the furniture, making it a sought-after feature for collectors and enthusiasts of antique furniture.


Bonnet tops are most commonly seen on pieces such as grandfather clocks, where the bonnet covers the clock's face and mechanism, or on tall armoires and cabinets, providing an elegant finishing touch to the furniture's silhouette. In modern design, bonnet tops can be used in a more stylized form to add historic character to contemporary furniture pieces.


  • Are bonnet tops still popular in modern furniture designs?

    While bonnet tops are more commonly associated with antique and traditional furniture, they can still be found in modern furniture designs where they are used to add a touch of historical charm and uniqueness.

  • Can a bonnet top be added to existing furniture?

    Adding a bonnet top to existing furniture is a complex task that requires skilled craftsmanship. It is usually found on pieces designed specifically with this feature in mind.

  • What materials are bonnet tops made from?

    Bonnet tops are typically made from the same materials as the rest of the furniture piece, often including wood. Ornamental elements may include metal, glass, or other decorative materials.

Practical Application

When incorporating a piece of furniture with a bonnet top into an interior design, consider its historical context and visual impact. A bonnet-topped piece can serve as a stunning focal point in a room, so it's best paired with simpler, less ornate furniture and decor to prevent the space from appearing cluttered. In a more traditional setting, multiple pieces with this feature can coexist harmoniously if balanced with the right colors and textures.