Wed. May 29th, 2024

Bobbins are back, in a big way. The stacked ball-on-ball design is rooted in classic woodworking, and its resurgence can largely be attributed to a revived interest in traditional folk craftsmanship by U.K.-based artisans such as Alfred Newall, Natalie Tillison, and Poppy Bertola. While their silhouettes are rooted in history, their use of color is not.

Today’s artisans reach for deeply saturated pinks, purples, yellows, blues, and greens—preferably finished in a glossy lacquer—instead of more traditional wood tones. (Though Alfred Newall’s studio shows how wood tones can be done in a fresh, more contemporary way.) In-the-know U.S.design companies such as Chelsea Textiles and Anthropologie have also begun creating their own colorful takes on the classic.

bobbin chestpinterest
Laurey W. Glenn

Most popular during the Victorian era, bobbin-embellished chests and wardrobes add a subtle folksy flourish to a room while maintaining that more restrained, traditional feel.

Why We Love It

It’s Rooted in Craftsmanship

Popular throughout northern Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, bobbin furniture reflects the handiwork of country carpenters. These woodworkers, sometimes referred to as “turners” or “bodgers,” would spin freshly felled trees on their lathes to create shapely furniture legs. This was so prolific a practice that the surname “Turner” is actually derived from these traveling artisans.

It’s a Close Cousin to the Spool

America put its stamp on the bobbin style with the creation of “cottage furniture,” which relied on the new mechanical lathes created during the Industrial Revolution to mass-produce turned-leg furniture sets, often made from cheaper soft woods. You might’ve seen this style referred to as “spindle” or “spool” —think Jenny Lind-style beds.

Nowadays, “bobbin” has come to mean the modern British style of a tightly stacked, symmetrical lathing pattern, while the American-favored “spool” allows for more variety in the turning process. For example, spool designs commonly exaggerate the width of the balls, turning them into more saucer-like or oval shapes. This style also allows for more dynamic patterns in-between the balls, which the traditional bobbin look does not, resulting in varying widths up and down a single length of wood that create a delightfully frenzied look.

Bobbin Style at Every Turn

From the bathroom to the bedside, bobbin furnishings easily integrate into most spaces. Take a look at four of our favorite ways to use the style.

In the Kitchen

yellow and butcher block kitchen counter with bobbin lamp on toppinterest

Belle Daughtry

A Merlot-colored candlestick lamp by Kelmscott Studio paired with a scrunchie-style Alice Palmer & Co. shade—both made in collaboration with edit58adds country charm to this cheery kitchen.

In the Bathroom

colorful blue and yellow bathroom with light blue bobbin mirrorpinterest

ALLER DORSET

A shiny blue-lacquered mirror brings an unexpected dose of delight to your morning routine. The lacquer finish enhances the colorful paint job and pushes the piece more contemporary. You can DIY a similar look with any mirror, a set of half-round wood beads, wood glue, and glossy spray paint.

In the Entryway

entry with mismatched antique corner bobbin style chairspinterest

Eric Roth

Mismatched antique corner chairs with rush seating team up to form a clever twist on a standard bench. This unique chair silhouette first became popular in 18th century England and the Netherlands.

In the Bedroom

bedroom with green bobbin bedside tablepinterest

Jonathan Bond Photography

In this bedroom by designer Elizabeth Hay, an colorful octagonal side table reinforces the room’s verdant color palette. The leggy, curved design helps add a folksy flourish to the space while still maintaining a more restrained, traditional feel.

Shop the Look

Bobbin Frame

Bobbin Frame
Credit: Courtesy of Retailer

Bobbin Table Lamp

Bobbin Table Lamp
Credit: Courtesy of Retailer

Bobbin Accent Table

Bobbin Accent Table
Credit: Courtesy of Retailer

Bobbin Frame

Anthropologie Bobbin Frame
Credit: Courtesy of Retailer

Bobbin Salt & Pepper Grinder

Addison Ross Bobbin Salt & Pepper Grinder
Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
Headshot of Anna Logan

Anna Logan is the Senior Homes & Style Editor at Country Living, where she covers design and decorating trends, home features, and gift guides. She also produces home features and styles content for the print magazine. When she isn’t working, can often be found digging around antique shops for the perfect find. Follow her adventures on Instagram!

Lettermark

Stephanie Gibson Lepore is the Copy/Research Editor of Country Living. She enjoys writing about a range of topics and making sure the facts are accurate. When she’s not checking out the latest Instagram post from Merriam-Webster, you can find her hunting home decor at an antiques shop, reading WWII fiction in a sunny spot, cheering (loudly) for her football team, or planning her daughter’s next birthday party (themes forever!). 


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