In the 1980s, skirted furniture was ubiquitous: Beds, dressing tables, and chairs all received a skirted treatment (often complete with ruffles and chintz). As with many looks of the era, though, its popularity has wavered a bit over the decades, as more modern aesthetics have come to the fore. But make no mistake: Skirted furniture has a timeless allure, especially when seen in the work of seasoned interior designers.
Here—in our latest archive dive to celebrate ’s 125th anniversary this year—we take a look back at the best pieces of skirted furniture we’ve ever published. These pieces prove that everything’s better with ruffles—even a bathtub and sink! From skirted furniture that matches the wall covering to pieces that add drama to an otherwise simple aesthetic, these designs will leave you wanting to reimagine them in your own home. And no, the look doesn’t have to be dated—just ask Chad James, who’s a passionate advocate about bringing back skirting (read why here).
Featured in our August 1986 issue, this gorgeous bathroom—featuring a skirted tub and sink—was designed by David Salomon for a 1985 Southampton Design Show House. The goal was to continue the home’s Victorian spirit:
In our February 1991 issue, we shared our House of the 90s—a dream home we built on the banks of a river in Georgia with the help of architect Melanie Taylor, interior designer Nancy Braithwaite, and builder John Wieland Homes. In the main bedroom of the home, tranquility was the goal. The warm-toned room oozes comfort. It features a casual mix of furniture with the skirted bed shining as the star of the space. The bed hangings, duvet cover, and Roman shades are all made of the same linen and feature the same print, giving off a cozy, romantic feel.
This canopied daybed from our May 1991 issue is full of glamour. To create a charming area, designer David Barrett relied on a lot of ruching and ruffling. He fashioned the hangings for the from Springmaid’s Soft Jade solid sheets paired with Jardin des Fleurs, a summer-garden print designed by Jean B. for Springmaid. Under the ruffled hangings is a painted daybed—with ruffles along its lower edges, of course—that has European character. It’s the perfect spot to sip on tea, indulge in a croissant, and enjoy a good book.
No room screams tropical oasis more than this space from our September 1977 issue, featuring a skirted bed with matching ruffles on its canopy overhead. It was designed by Robert Metzger in an effort to showcase’Condominium Chic’ in a standard, two-story South Carolina townhouse. To make it feel lusher, the wall covering boasts the same print as the tree-covered ruffles for a striking jungle-like atmosphere.
Although this tiny bedroom is covered in a mix of blue-and-white toile, the skirted dressing and side tables are not lost.”Toile makes such a strong visual statement you don’t need other patterns,” designer Mary Meehan said of this space in our March 1987 issue. The toile covers just about everything down to the lampshades, making the room feel bigger and camouflaging its awkwardness. Bonus: It also disguises less-than-perfect furniture.
These bedrooms—seen in our May 1991 issue—feature simple skirted beds, both with ruffles and those that fall straight down. They’re fairly simple yet add to the aura of the spaces designed by painter-turned-entrepreneur Bob Timberlake. The home’s design tells the story of Timberlake’s beloved native North Carolina through treasured collectibles, like quilts and a hand-painted chest.
In a restored 1790 New England townhouse—which had originally been a tavern—a floral skirted ottoman and matching chair take the elegance of the living room up a notch. The cream and pink pattern adds a bit of color to the otherwise neutral space. The home was featured in our December 1991 issue and designed by owners Sheila and Robert Camera Kotur, who spent many weekends fixing it up.
The couple included more fun skirted furniture with a coastal theme in their guest bedroom. The horizontal blue-and-white stripes on the bed’s skirt pair well with the other mix of blue-and-white patterns on the bedding, curtains, and chair.