The Directoire fauteuil is rectilinear in form. It is made of mahogany, walnut, cherry, or beech with a lacquered or waxed finish. Certain models are in a light-coloured wood or painted, and the ensemble is enhanced with gold fillets. The early Directoire fauteuil has two types of back: when the upper section of the back curves backwards and terminates in scrolls, it is called a dossier à crosse (‘crook’ back). When the back becomes wider as it extends from the arm supports to the top in the form of a concave trapezium or volutes, it is called a dossier à cornes (‘horned’ back). The upper section of the backrest has a carved traverse. The centre of the backrest has an openwork design with a palmette motif.
The arms terminate in small spheres or scrolls. Their supports take the form of a baluster. The forelegs are straight, of the spindle type, and finely carved, and are surmounted with a linking die adorned with striations, which are characteristic of the Directoire style. The back legs are splayed (en sabre). Roman curule chairs also appeared: their arms and legs are in an X configuration. The fauteuil with in-filled arms (en hotte) has baluster arm supports aligned with the feet or set back from the seat rail.