What is a Vargueno?

A vargueno is a type of portable desk with compartments and drawers.


The vargueno, originating from Spain in the 15th century, is an exceptional piece of furniture recognized for its uniqueness and historical significance. It typically consists of a wooden chest, often richly decorated, that opens to reveal a plethora of compartments, drawers, and sometimes a writing surface. This functional art piece was initially designed for traveling nobles who needed a secure, portable way to carry their documents and writing materials.

Over centuries, the vargueno has become a symbol of craftsmanship and design, reflecting the cultural and artistic movements of its time. The intricate decorations can range from Moorish influences with intricate geometric patterns to Renaissance-era motifs featuring carvings and marquetry of precious woods. The vargueno not only served a practical purpose but also became a decorative status symbol in homes, illustrating wealth and sophistication.

Today, varguenos are cherished by collectors and interior designers alike for their historical value, exquisite craftsmanship, and versatility. They can serve as focal points in a variety of interior designs, from traditional to eclectic.


In a modern interior design context, a vargueno can be used as an accent piece in living rooms, offices, or libraries, where its historical significance and decorative qualities add depth and interest. Due to its compact nature, it is also suitable for small spaces needing stylish yet functional furniture. Additionally, it can be incorporated into a room with a global or eclectic theme, showcasing a blend of cultural influences.


  • How old is the vargueno design concept?

    The vargueno design concept dates back to the 15th century, originating from Spain.

  • What materials are typically used in crafting a vargueno?

    Varguenos are primarily made from wood, often decorated with intricate marquetry, carving, and sometimes inlaid with precious metals or stones.

  • Can a vargueno be used in contemporary interior design?

    Yes, a vargueno can be seamlessly integrated into contemporary interior designs as a statement piece, blending its historical charm with modern aesthetics.

  • Is a vargueno considered a practical piece of furniture today?

    While varguenos are highly decorative, they can still serve practical purposes, such as storage for small items or as a writing surface, in addition to being a conversation piece.

Practical Application

When incorporating a vargueno into your interior design, consider its placement carefully to highlight its beauty and craftsmanship. It can be used as a statement piece in a room, so position it where it can be admired from various angles. Due to its decorative nature, minimal additional decoration is needed around it to avoid visually cluttering the space. Furthermore, consider the lighting in the area to enhance the details and workmanship of the vargueno, making it a true showcase piece.