how to date waterfall furniture
Kristina Davis

If you are wondering how to date waterfall furniture, then congratulations, you stumbled on the right page.

For years, waterfall furniture has been the standard when it comes to stylish furniture.

From its eccentric finishing to its simple yet modern curves, the waterfall furniture is the definition of durability and beauty and somehow the eccentricity of the waterfall furniture seems to last a lifetime.

But this article isn’t all about appreciating waterfall furniture, we’ll be giving a detailed guide on how to accurately date or spot vintage waterfall furniture.

For now, just get a tall glass of something chill because this is about to be a very interesting and educative read.

For waterfall furniture that is paired with rounded mirrors, you could check the back of the mirror as some waterfall furniture have their manufacture dates written there.

The History Of The Waterfall Furniture

history of waterfall furniture

You might be wondering, when was waterfall furniture made? The waterfall furniture has its history tied to the twentieth century, precisely from the 1920s to the 1940s.

In fact, I could remember a time period when a newlywed, the first piece of furniture you would get or purchase would be waterfall furniture.

This is probably because purchasing or getting waterfall furniture (at that time), sort of represented having your own space. But then again, that probably might have been purely sentimental. 

The waterfall furniture was one of the first furniture styles to be made mostly from plywood.

As most furniture back in the day was either made mainly from wood with finer veneer or made from solid wood.

Note: Although most of the Water furniture styles are made with plywood but paired with veneer. They could be ornate but they definitely aren’t solid.

The Introduction of Plywood to Furniture Making

plywood furniture making

Making furniture from solid wood was quite stressful and painstaking. So you can imagine how expensive furniture in the good old days was.

Luckily with the introduction of plywood in making furniture, It became more pocket friendly for people to purchase furniture. (perhaps that’s the reason it was fancied by newlyweds, but again, it could still be purely sentimental).

Using plywood in furniture making opened up the furniture makers of that era to a whole new world of creativity.

The Waterfall furniture does not have a frame. This is because it relies on the strength of the plywood used, to give its structure.

So this allowed furniture makers of that era to design rounded or curved horizontal edges.

Note: The curvy lines and free form that the waterfall furniture has is the reason this furniture style earned the name ‘waterfall’.

The Distinguishing Features Of The Waterfall Furniture

This beautiful furniture antique was distinguished by a lot of features.

As we already know, the waterfall furniture earned its name from the distinctive rounded edges that resembled a flowing waterfall.

distinguishing feature

Most waterfall furniture also had a blond veneer finish while a smaller percentage were finished in a darker walnut.

Some expensive waterfall furniture drawer faces featured some very unusual designs, designs like book-matched panels and cross banding

For the handles, they usually featured orange brass and bakelites and maybe some vanities that had frosted panels and illuminated spheres.

Some other Waterfall furniture could sometimes be paired with round oversized mirrors that have their etches trimmed.

As we all know, waterfall furniture is made mainly from plywood, this plywood is molded during the manufacturing stage.

Some high-quality waterfall furniture pieces could feature the molded plywood curve at side corners where the plywood softens.  

And for water furniture that is produced in large masses, they often feature a round quarter edge.

Note: Due to the waterfall's curves and blonde Carpathian and golden padouk, its furniture contrasted with box-shaped walnut and mahogany of the 1920s.

The Value Of Waterfall Furniture

the value

Preserving waterfall furniture can be quite hard, this is because of the brittle glue and thin veneers that could easily become marred.

Luckily there are techniques and tips wood makers and antique restorers use in restoring or repairing a damaged veneered piece.

Sadly, fixing the veneered pieces could be a bad investment as most waterfall furniture isn’t worth the expenses. 

On average, a waterfall piece of furniture could cost between $120 to $300 although there are exceptions.

It could be less if the furniture piece is extremely damaged or perhaps higher if the furniture piece is made from quality materials or are rare.

Some furniture pieces like an upright gentleman’s chest and Nightstands could be rare and hard to find, but still, they might not command a high price in the furniture market.

Note: When we think of waterfall furniture, we usually think of bedrooms, but living room furniture was also popular. (Credenzas, radio cabinets, bars)

But in the end, waterfall furniture does bring back a lot of memories to us and we cherish these memories and the furniture pieces in our homes.

So How Do You Date Waterfall Furniture?

With all that has been said, it’s time we discuss how to date waterfall furniture.

tips how to date

Identifying the exact age or time period of your vintage waterfall furniture has never been easy and honestly, you can’t accurately tell the exact date waterfall furniture was manufactured.

Still, there are some little tips that could help with this.

Have an Antiquarian Date for Your Waterfall Furniture

 First off, when looking for antique waterfall furniture, the most logical place to start would be at an antique shop.

The antiquarian is quite knowledgeable in identifying vintage furniture so his opinion would definitely be helpful.

There the antiquarian could give you a rough but slightly accurate guess of what era the furniture was manufactured.

The Plywood Construction

a plywood construction

Another great way to date your waterfall furniture would be through the wood type used.

Because of the wood veneer and plywood used in the early construction of waterfall furniture, you could easily tell if waterfall furniture is antique or not.

Back in the early 1900s, during the great depression, plywood was used in making furniture because it was a lot cheaper and easier as compared to the use of hardwood in making furniture.

Once the depression had ended and the economy was back up and running smoothly, furniture makers resumed the use of hardwood in making furniture as it was more durable.

So for this reason, vintage waterfall furniture can easily be identified through its use of plywood.

The Back of the Mirror

For waterfall furniture that is paired with rounded mirrors, you could check the back of the mirror, as most original waterfall furniture makers include the date of the furniture at the back of the mirror.

the back of mirror

This could help you in identifying the age or if the waterfall furniture truly is antique.

Also, by merely looking at the waterfall furniture you might be able to tell if it is antique or not.


Well, most waterfall furniture carries a sort of outdated and obsolete look, but do not be worried, the features and style could complement most modern living spaces.

Educate Yourself on Vintage Furniture

In the end, to truly be good at dating a furniture piece, educating yourself on the various history and background styles used in furniture making helps.

Read vintage furniture magazines, browse through various antique furniture catalogues and styles, and comb the internet.

You are sure to find recognizable patterns and styles that could help in dating vintage furniture pieces like waterfall furniture.


As we stated earlier I’ll teach you how to date waterfall furniture, the waterfall furniture truly brings with it a lot of memories, cherished and happy ones that could make your home feel really special.

Maybe it could be the beautiful blond veneer finish that has got us hooked or Maybe it could all just be the sentiments attached to the furniture piece.

One thing is for certain, there will always be a place in our hearts for waterfall furniture.

There you have it, this is all you need to know on how to date waterfall furniture. I do hope you

Still have some of that chill drink left. Well if you do you could check out a few of our other articles, you might learn something new, for now, stay good.