What is Jacobean?

Jacobean refers to the styles of furnishings and design popular during the reign of James I of England.


Jacobean style, rooted in the early 17th century, marks a distinctive and influential period in interior design history. Characterized by its use of opulent materials, intricate carvings, and a preference for dark, rich colors, it represents a transition from the ornate Elizabethan era to a more restrained aesthetic. This style is best known for its furniture and architectural elements but also influences textiles and decorative arts.

Furniture pieces from the Jacobean era were typically made from oak and were substantial and sturdy, with less emphasis on comfort and more on durability and function. Decorative motifs often included geometric shapes, foliate designs, and heraldic symbols. The architecture from this period showcased a blend of Renaissance and medieval elements, featuring gabled roofs, parapets, and highly decorated chimneys.

Despite its origin over 400 years ago, the Jacobean style continues to inspire modern designers. Its timeless appeal lies in the rich textures, solid craftsmanship, and the warmth of its wood tones, making it suitable for both traditional and contemporary settings.


In interior design, the Jacobean style can be visibly seen in furniture reproductions featuring heavy, dark wood with detailed carvings, as well as in architectural elements that reflect the period's unique blend of the Renaissance and Gothic aesthetic. It's often used in spaces that want to evoke a sense of history, opulence, and timelessness, such as in traditional living rooms, libraries, or dining rooms.


  • How do I incorporate the Jacobean style into a modern home?

    To incorporate the Jacobean style in a modern home, focus on integrating select furniture pieces that echo the era’s craftsmanship and rich wood tones. Use decorative objects or textiles that feature heraldic or foliate motifs. Balance these with contemporary elements to avoid overwhelming the space.

  • What are common materials used in Jacobean furniture?

    Common materials used in Jacobean furniture include primarily oak wood, which was favored for its durability and rich color. Additionally, other materials like leather and velvet were used for upholstery, while metals such as iron were employed for decorative hardware.

  • Can Jacobean style be considered sustainable?

    The Jacobean style can align with sustainable practices, particularly due to its emphasis on durable, high-quality materials that stand the test of time. Choosing antique Jacobean pieces or reproductions made with sustainable materials and methods can contribute to a more eco-friendly interior.

Practical Application

When aiming to integrate the Jacobean style into your design, start with a focal furniture piece, such as a carved wooden chest or a sturdy oak table, to set the tone. Complement this with rich, dark textiles and add modern lighting or art to create a dynamic, layered look. Sustainable choices can be made by selecting antiques or ethically sourced reproductions.