What is William & Mary?

William & Mary refers to a style of furniture and interior design that was popular in England and later in the American colonies from 1689 to the early 1700s.


William & Mary is a design style characterized by its unique blend of the baroque opulence with more restrained and practical adaptations suited for the less grand homes of England and the American colonies. It marks the transition from the more ornate and elaborate designs of the late 17th century to a simpler, more geometric approach that would pave the way for the Queen Anne style that followed.

Key features of William & Mary furniture include turned legs, often with a bulbous shape, and the use of marquetry, a decorative technique that involves inlaying pieces of veneer into the furniture's surface to create patterns or images. The style also introduced the concept of highboys and lowboys as staple pieces of bedroom furniture, representing early versions of the chest of drawers.

In terms of decor, the William & Mary style is known for incorporating oriental rugs, sumptuous fabrics, and detailed wall paneling to create richly appointed interiors. The use of vibrant color and pattern, especially in textiles, helped to accent the more geometric and straightforward furniture designs, creating spaces that were both elegant and comfortable.


The William & Mary style is often seen in historical homes, museums, and in the work of interior designers specializing in period-authentic restorations or adaptations. It can also serve as inspiration for contemporary designs that seek to blend historical elegance with modern functionality.


  • What time period does William & Mary style furniture relate to?

    William & Mary style furniture and design relate to the period from 1689 to the early 1700s, marking the reign of William III and Mary II in England and its influence on the American colonies.

  • What are the key features of William & Mary design style?

    Key features include the use of bulbous turned legs, marquetry inlay, highboys and lowboys furniture pieces, oriental rugs, and sumptuous fabrics with vibrant colors and patterns.

  • How can I incorporate William & Mary style into a modern home?

    To incorporate the William & Mary style into a modern home, mix distinctive period furniture with contemporary elements, use vibrant textiles and patterns in moderation, and strive for a balanced, elegant look that respects the period's aesthetic while fitting into a modern lifestyle.

Practical Application

When incorporating the William & Mary style into modern interiors, focus on blending the distinctive furniture pieces, such as highboys or marquetry tables, with more contemporary elements. Use vibrant textiles and patterns to echo the period's love for rich fabrics, but balance these with simpler, modern decor to avoid overwhelming the space. The goal is to achieve an elegant, timeless look that pays homage to the historical roots while feeling fresh and livable today.