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Lighter and Simpler Eastlake Furniture & Hardware

The architect Charles Eastlake (1836-1906) was a bit of a radical during the last half of the 19th century because he turned his back on the curved heavy furniture that was popular during the Victorian period. He believed that furniture should be lighter, simpler and more attractive. Eastlake was an Englishman who published a book in 1872 to promote his ideas, and it had the elaborate name of "Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery, and Other Details". The book promoted his idea of simpler furniture and a return to craftsmanship. In his opinion, even if furniture was made by machine, the pieces should reflect a caring for quality by the machine workers.

Polished Nickel Eastlake Pull
Polished Chrome Eastlake Pull
Weathered Brass Eastlake Pull
Polished Nickel Eastlake Pull
Polished Chrome Eastlake Pull
Weathered Brass Eastlake Pull


Though the Eastlake furniture is from the Victorian period, it is not typical of the furniture produced during that era. Victorian furniture is thick, heavy and dark, with elaborate carvings and equally elaborate ornamentation. It also has plenty of curves, which Eastlake deplored. Eastlake chose to break away from the high relief carvings, eliminate most of the ornamentation, and straighten out the curves. In addition, Eastlake did not like the dark staining and heavy varnish typically found on Victorian furniture. He promoted light, naturally colored oil finishes that matched his lighter furniture styles and would hide typical flaws found in inexpensive wood.

Polished Brass Eastlake Pull
Antique Brass Eastlake Pull
Solid Iron Eastlake Pull (Matte Black Finish)
Polished Brass Eastlake Pull
Antique Brass Eastlake Pull
Solid Iron Eastlake Pull


More Modest Approach to Furniture

It should be noted that there are original Eastlake furniture pieces that do have fairly elaborate ornamentation carvings. It seems that some furniture makers could not resist the Victorian decorative concepts, even if the furniture styling was simpler. However, the original concept in Eastlake’s book promoted low relief carvings, geometric construction, and fewer and more modest curves. The furniture is not plain looking by any means because it always was made with some ornamental carvings. However, even those are not carved as deep as the ones found on Victorian furniture.



Polished Nickel Label Drawer Pull
Polished Chrome Label Drawer Pull
Antique Nickel Label Drawer Pull
Polished Nickel Eastlake Pull
Polished Chrome Eastlake Pull
Antique Brass Eastlake Pull




The furniture also is distinguished by its flat surfaces and straight chair arms. Dressers and tables were sometimes made with marble tops. Inexpensive woods may be covered with a more expensive veneer. The appropriate furniture was upholstered.

Eastlake Cup or Bin Pull in Polished Brass
Eastlake Cup or Bin Pull in Antique Brass
Eastlake Cup or Bin Pull in Oil Rubbed Bronze
Eastlake Cup or Bin Pull in Polished Brass
Eastlake Cup or Bin Pull in Antique Brass
Eastlake Cup or Bin Pull in Oil Rubbed Bronze


When Eastlake published his book in the United States, it influenced furniture construction. The book was a Victorian era precursor to the American Arts and Crafts Movement. In the United States, the furniture was machine-made in factories. The manufacturers tried to imitate the original English crafted furniture detail by using the factory equipment. For example, moldings or other ornamentation may have been mass produced as separate pieces that were then glued on. Eastlake did not approve of these imitations and did not want his name associated with these manufactured pieces.

Crystal Cabinet Knob With a Polished Brass Plate
Crystal Cabinet Knob With an Antique Brass Plate
Crystal Cabinet Knob With an Oil Rubbed Plate
Crystal Cabinet Knob With a Polished Brass Plate
Crystal Cabinet Knob With an Antique Brass Plate
Crystal Cabinet Knob With an Oil Rubbed Brass Plate


There are many examples of original Eastlake, American style Eastlake, and revival Eastlake furniture found in antique stores and homes. In addition, some of the concepts, like straight chair arms and tall mirrors with tables, are incorporated in furniture manufactured today. All types of household furniture was manufactured, including cabinets, sideboards, chairs, tables, pier mirrors (tall mirrors with short attached tables), platform rockers and bedroom furniture. Originally designed to be sturdy and practical, it is not surprising that so many pieces are still around.

Eastlake Cabinet Latch (Polished Brass)
Eastlake Cabinet Latch (Antique Brass)
Eastlake Cabinet Latch (Polished Brass)
Eastlake Cabinet Latch
Eastlake Cabinet Latch
Eastlake Cabinet Latch


Match Hardware to the Carvings

The hardware on the original Eastlake furniture matched the ornamentation or low relief carvings. For example, the back plate on a single post ring pull or drawer pull was decorative and would often have the same geometric design as the furniture carvings. The decorative style clearly reflects Eastlake’s English background because many of the back plates have designs that remind you of a crown or other royal symbols. Brass hardware was typically used on the furniture, though there were also brass-and-wood pulls used. You will find drop pulls, post ring pulls, standard pulls and keyhole covers installed on the furniture.



When replacing hardware on your Eastlake furniture, you can choose from several styles. Despite the fact that Eastlake intended his furniture to be different from Victorian furniture, the Victorian influence is clearly seen. As a result, you can choose from a variety of hardware styles typical of the late 1800s or early 1900s when it is time to replace Eastlake furniture hardware. Hardware styles that will match the Eastlake style quite nicely include Victorian, Arts and Craft, or any period brass or brass-and-wood hardware. The nice feature of this furniture is that you can choose a simple or elaborate style when selecting hardware because both will look nice.

Square Bin Pull (Polished Brass)
Square Bin Pull (Antique Brass)
Eastlake Brass Pull
Eastlake Brass Pull

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East Lake Furniture
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