Antiques and furniture from the Empire era abandoned marquetry and carving and preferred matt or glossy bronze motifs that were richly gilded and crafted. Artists were often asked to create majestic works that symbolised imperial power. To this end, they used Egyptian and Graeco-Roman designs and adapted them to monumental furniture. These were complemented by imperial and martial motifs: the crowned ‘N’, the imperial eagle, bees, stars, and lances.
The Empire era is characterised by the representation of colonnettes and capitals with a gilt metal base. In the early years of the style, mahogany was a great classic and was used in every form: moucheté (dappled), ronceux (bramble), flame, and moiré (a wavy, watery appearance like moiré silk). It was used in its solid form and as a veneer. It was subsequently replaced by other woods such as walnut, maple, elm, and ash. The lines of the furniture became heavier.