Seeing Stripes: The Features of Tiger Oak Furniture

Tiger oak furniture is a 19th-century favorite. Featuring visible lines in their veneer, pieces of tiger oak relate to the regal predator only in that regard. But their elegance and timeless appeal match the grace of the animal.

In today’s blog, we will explore the history and characteristics of tiger oak furniture and see how it relates to the pieces available in the Styylish catalog. From dark baroque pieces to rustic Biedermeier ones, we can find traces of the tiger oak aesthetic dappled all over our favorite treasures.

To learn more about all the ways dark wood furniture can fit into any interior, be sure to check out our blog from last week. And be sure to check out our coverage of 2022 design trends, to find out how antiques can feature in a modern space.

Tiger Oak Furniture: The Basics

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A classic example of tiger oak furniture – note the striped grain

Tiger oak refers to the beautiful horizontal grain featured in some 19th-century oak veneer furniture. The stripes appear light in the dark wood because they showcase the medullary growth rings of the oak tree.

Tiger oak is a distinctly American style, popular especially with the emerging middle class. Well into the first decades of the 20th century, tiger oak was a refined furniture option.

As part of the 19th-century re-discovery of craftsmanship and simplicity, tiger oak furniture is aesthetically linked to Biedermeier. Both styles emerged on opposite sides of the Atlantic in response to the furniture needs of an emerging middle class. And both kinds of furniture emphasize the qualities and traits of the wood they are built from.

Focusing on wood in a focused manner allows a tiger oak piece to connect effortlessly to pieces from other periods. Indeed, there is a kind of rustic neutrality to the style. It’s one that nevertheless feels creatively inspired and refined.

Baroque and Biedermeier: The Styylish Catalog in Context

The Styylish catalog predominantly features top-quality continental European antiques, and as such does not have pieces of simple tiger oak furniture as such. However, our selection is full of pieces that either feel closely related to tiger oak furniture or showcase the same qualities as the American favorite.

Baroque Rusticity

In these elegant pieces of Baroque furniture, the period’s dramatic flair is embodied in rustic materiality. You can see natural patterns emerging in the dark wood in all kinds of ways. Indeed, the tiger wood sensibility is already present in these 18th-century treasures.

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A rustic German Baroque Cabinet – available now on Styylish

Take this classic German Baroque Cabinet, certainly one of our favorite rustic originals. Its elegant, whimsically carved wood invokes the elegance of a palace with the mysterious splendor of a fairytale. Take a closer look at one of its corners to find naturally-occurring stripes occurring in the wood. Any fan of tiger wood will appreciate the show-stopping woodwork of this piece.

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A stunning Baroque armoire – available on Styylish

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On a piece like this French 18th-century Armoire, you’ll instantly notice the smoothness of the central wood panels. But that doesn’t mean that natural wood patterns don’t show through. Simple lines mark the wood columns on either side of the armoire, and the decor is exceptional here, as well.

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A Baroque console table – available now on Styylish

Even with a more ostentatious marble plate, this Baroque Console Table derives most of its decorative qualities from the fine woodwork on and around its legs. Place this darling piece in a hallway or entry for a tastefully luxurious first impression. You’ll fall in love with the natural splendor of its dark oak wood.

Biedermeier Wood Veneers

The Biedermeier period coincides with American tiger oak furniture. It’s easy to see why. Biedermeier pieces, like Tiger oak ones, love using the natural patterning of woods in their veneer.

That’s in part because both periods offer a simple approach to furniture, rejecting the exceptionally ornate upper-class pieces of the late 18th century. That makes Biedermeier an easy period to integrate into the modern home. Its modern, material-focused aesthetic connects well to contemporary design priorities.

Though tiger stripes are rare in most Biedermeier pieces, the artisans of the period use an even more profound sense of creativity to create stunning, all-natural wood arrangements in their pieces.

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A stunning Biedermeier Dresser – available now on Styylish

Take this Biedermeier Dresser, for instance. Smooth, barely adorned wood showcases an extraordinary natural symmetry, thanks to creative cuts and exceptional craftsmanship. There is an almost floral quality to the way the lines ebb and flow across the front of this piece.

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A Biedermeier wardrobe – available now on Styylish

And for an impressive alternative to the armoire above, take a moment to wonder at this Biedermeier Wardrobe. This piece features completely unique organic geometry in its panels. You might see elegant grasshoppers or sinuous bodies, for instance. And all of it is made from cutting wood in the right way.

Add to that the glorious ebonized columns, and you’re left with a piece that’ll draw admiration from all your guests –  and pull your room together across time periods.

Tiger Oak: More than Just Old Wood

Whether you’re a collector of tiger oak furniture or have never heard of it before, it’s worth learning all you can about this remarkable sub-movement of furniture history. As a primarily rustic design, tiger oak can bring comfort to your home with historical gravity.

The pieces available on Styylish vary widely in make and history. Some of the ones introduced above feature elements of tiger oak design, whereas others are more generally inspired by it.

Regardless of what you choose to bring a unique charm to your individual home, you can rest assured that the antiques on offer are hand-picked for their original make and exceptional quality.

There’s certainly nothing like a Styylish piece to tie a room together and make your home shine with that certain something – stripes or not.

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