Biedermeier is a design style popular in Germany, Austria, and northern Europe between 1815 and 1860, mostly applied to furniture but also to porcelain, glass, painting, and sculpture, and by extension to music as well. The term is derived from Gottlieb Biedermeier (Bieder meaning “plain” and Meier being a common German surname), an imaginary figure embodying the solid virtues of the middle class, who appeared in satirical publications of the time. Biedermeier furniture is characterised by clean lines to the design and a minimal approach to the design aesthetic - perfect for contemporary interiors.
The style developed as a reaction against the pompous splendour of the empire style that had swept Europe in the first 15 years of the 19th century. It is based on a simplified Neo-Classical style and in furniture is characterized by solid architectural forms with restrained decoration also based on architectural motifs. Typical of the style is the use of expanses of veneer of pale woods such as maple, ash, cherry, and pear, occasionally with a restrained ornament in the form of ebony inlay.
The Biedermeier style was also popular in northern Europe, particularly in Russia and Scandinavia. By 1860 it had fallen from fashion everywhere but enjoyed a revival in the late 19th century that persisted into the 1920s.