Marquetry and Parquetry

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If you are going to walk the walk, you should talk the talk.

What is the difference between marquetry and parquetry?

When using the terms marquetry and parquetry, remember that marquetry applies to furniture and parquetry applies to floors. Marquetry is usually pictorial, and parquetry is usually geometric, but that is not always the case.

MARQUETRY:  Wood veneers inlayed to elaborately decorate furniture, typically involving pictorial designs and many species of woods. When it comes to furniture, it is never correct to refer to decorative wood inlays as parquetry.

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A rare swedish marquetry cabinet in satinwood and birch by Carl Malmsten. c. 1935. Photograph by Lynn Byrne.

A rare swedish marquetry cabinet in satinwood and birch by Carl Malmsten. c. 1935. Photograph by Lynn Byrne.

Close up of the marquetry on the Carl Malmsten cabinet. Photograph by Lynn Byrne.

Close up of the marquetry on the Carl Malmsten cabinet. Photograph by Lynn Byrne.

PARQUETRY:  Wood inlays used to create or decorate flooring, typically using different wood species or stain colors.  Usually, but not always, parquetry is inlayed in a geometric pattern.

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My home

I enjoy both marquetry and parquetry in my house in Pelham NY.

The entire first floor is decorated with parquetry.

Geometric parquetry design in walnut, maple and oak. Photograph by Ellen McDermott.

Geometric parquetry design in walnut, maple and oak. Photograph by Ellen McDermott.

Detail of parquetry in my Pelham house.

Detail of parquetry in my Pelham house.

And one of my favorite pieces of furniture is a desk decorated in marquetry in the Arts and Crafts style.

Photograph by Ellen McDermott.

Photograph by Ellen McDermott.

Detail of some of the Arts and Crafts style marquetry.

Detail of some of the Arts and Crafts style marquetry.

Design DictionaryLynn Byrne