Bombe Chests: Stylish Accent Pieces

Antique Louis XV style bombe commode, corner table and gueridon

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A bombe chest exudes elegance and allure, as does its name. It comes from the French word meaning "curved." Bombe chests bulge outward in the front and on the sides and then curve in at the base.

This style of chest is a 17th-century French design. You can find antique bombe chests, reproductions of the antique style, and occasionally a bombe chest that has a more contemporary look. 

When determining the style of a bombe chest, look at other features besides the curved shape for clues. A bombe chest with ball feet is more traditional, while a contemporary-looking one might have longer legs and have a brightly painted or more modern finish.

Bombe chests are available in different finishes as well, including varnished wood, distressed wood, or painted, sometimes with designs. Bombe chests often are in the chinoiserie style, which means the piece of furniture was treated with lacquer and accented with Chinese motifs.

Decorating Ideas

Use a bombe chest to turn up the style volume in a room. Since bombe chests come from the French tradition, they are usually part of a traditional-style decor. Here are ways to incorporate a bombe chest in any room of your home.

Glamorous Living Room

You might place a bombe chest in a living room that also contains a curved-frame sofa covered in velvet, King Louis XVI side chairs, or French-style wingback chairs. Add an opulent Oriental or Persian rug and accessories that trend towards an ornate direction, with some made of brass. 

Anywhere Accent Piece

For a more eclectic style, use a traditionally painted bombe chest as an accent piece in a room with a plain-colored sofa with soft and full down cushions, club chairs covered in a print fabric that picks up the color of the chest, and finished with a glass and metal coffee table. 

Dining Room Buffet

A bombe chest makes a great side piece in a dining room because of its strong storage potential. Use with low-key traditional furniture so the spotlight shines on the bombe chest. Chinoiserie makes a statement, and the decoration on the bombe chest can inform the color scheme in your room.

Foyer With Storage

A foyer, of course, is at the top of the list of where you can use a bombe chest. Since a foyer generally has little other furniture, you have a relatively free hand when it comes to decorating the space. Just be sure that the chest is harmonious with the colors and styles of the rooms in view from the foyer and fits with the decor of the house overall. The chest's size and proportions should also fit well in the foyer and not block the door or take over the walking space.

Dramatic Bathroom

A bathroom is an unusual location for a bombe chest. This dramatic silhouette of the chest turns a bathroom into an original space, with its signature shape and often interesting woodwork. (A heavily painted bombe chest should be kept away from the moist space of a bathroom.) You can use it for storage or hire a plumber to fit it for use as a vanity. But you will have the coolest bathroom in the neighborhood.

Bedroom's Focal Point

A bombe chest can turn a bedroom night table into the room's focal point. Paint the bombe chest to pick up a color in the print or pattern of your throw pillows, duvet cover, or curtains for a custom and striking look.