Furniture Glossary

What is the meaning of the furniture term Tallboy?

Tallboy, Highboy, and chest-on-chest are all terms used to describe specific styles of furniture, specifically chests of drawers. While they are similar in that they are all comprised of two separate chests stacked together, each term has its own distinct characteristics.

Tallboy: This term usually refers to a chest of drawers with a relatively narrow width but a tall overall height. It typically consists of a single chest with several stacked drawers vertically, reaching nearly to eye level. The tallboy is known for its narrower silhouette, making it a suitable choice for rooms with limited space.

A highboy, on the other hand, is characterized by a wider lower chest supporting a narrower, taller chest on top. The lower section generally has larger, more spacious drawers, while the upper section tends to have smaller, more delicate drawers or compartments. Highboys are renowned for their elegant and sophisticated design, often featuring fine craftsmanship and decorative elements such as carving or inlays. They were popular during the 18th century, particularly in American Colonial furniture.

The term chest-on-chest refers to a type of furniture that combines two separate chests, with the lower chest being wider and deeper than the upper chest. Unlike the highboy, the chest-on-chest does not necessarily have a dramatic difference in height between the two sections. It serves as a practical storage solution, providing a significant amount of drawer space. The chest-on-chest can also feature various design styles, ranging from traditional to contemporary, depending on the specific piece.

Tallboy, highboy, and chest-on-chest are all furniture styles that incorporate two separate chests stacked together. However, they differ in terms of their proportions, design elements, and historical backgrounds.
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