A decorative style (1815-1848) contemporaneous with English Regency and French Empire, which emerged in Germany, Austria, Scandinavia (known as Karl Johan style) and Northern Italy in the wake of the sieges accompanying the fall of the Napoleonic Empire. This period of economic deprivation and political respite was visually reflected in the light, unpretentious, elegant and homely interior decoration schemes, reflecting middle-class aspirations of a comfortable private life and quiet intellectual leisure pursuits.
Biedermeier furniture was consequently utilitarian in form and simplicity rather than ostentatious – desks, sofas and chairs, central tables for general, family use, and musical instruments (particularly the piano). Aesthetically, cabinetmakers brought an even greater restraint, sense of proportion and absence of ornament to the clean, geometric lines of Neoclacissicm, relying on the materials for effect, employing light clair bois local woods (oak, cherry, pear wood, ash, birch, pine) that were occasionally inlaid (ebony and maple), but tended rather to show off the natural grain and knotholes with highly polished surfaces, often featuring ormulu fittings.
The rise in fortunes and the advances of romanticism brought an increased elegance and historicism to later Biedermeier pieces.
Typically, Biedermeier furnishings were for smaller living quarters, homes rather than palaces. They might have thick, natural fibre curtains for warmth, and simple window dressing styles that would allow as much light in as possible, possibly trimmed with fringes; sofas, armchairs, dining chairs were well padded and webbed for comfort, and might be upholstered in plain woollen red or blue cloths. Bare floorboards or parquets would be softened with rugs, walls might either be painted in complementary bright, airy colours or papered with small floral motifs or regency stripes, with simple wall decorations such as pilasters, cornices or friezes. Ornaments would be in natural materials such as marble or sandstone.