The Bargueño Desk: History and Tradition

The bargueño desk is an item steeped in history and tradition. Don't hesitate to use this type of furniture to give your home a touch of elegance and tradition.
The Bargueño Desk: History and Tradition

Last update: 28 January, 2021

Antique furniture has become a way to bring a small part of history back into our homes. It projects elegance and beauty. The same goes for the bargueño desk, a traditional and historic piece of furniture that everyone should know about.

Normally, when we decorate a bedroom or living room, we tend to use modern elements. At least this is the case with today’s trends; very few look to the past to see if they can preserve a legacy.

There’s really nothing quite like antique furniture. While it is often thought to be anchored to past times, it can actually be revived and reused in modern-day decor. There are many different ways to go about using antique furniture in your home.

The Bargueño aesthetic

The bargueno was first used between the renaissance and baroque periods.

Bargueño desks have a rectangular structure which is hollow on the inside and contains small drawers, cupboards, and pigeonholes. People usually place them on a small stand, table or counter, so that it’s at the right height.

They’re made of wood, and are usually decorated with patterned inlay or other decorative marquetry, such as balusters, small columns, architraves etc. In fact, they often look like miniature works of architecture.

Historically, this piece was at the height of its popularity between the Renaissance and the Baroque period. It retains a certain structural symmetry which shows off its refined, elegant and clearly defined aesthetic.

History has left the decorating world a fascinating legacy. 

The bargueño desk: tradition 

The bargueño desk, which is Spanish in origin, calls to mind the world of royal palaces and great noblemen. Not everyone could afford to have something like this in their home. So, what is the bargueño’s place in today’s world?

  • Today, you can use it to demonstrate the importance of preserving history.
  • If you have guests round, you might want to explain what it is and what it was originally used for. It’s always good to give some historical context when necessary.
  • Although its not very common, a love of tradition means that it continues to be used in some homes, especially in Spain.
  • Because they’re quite rare, they’re sure to awaken the curiosity of anyone who sees them. They also reflect the taste of their owners, and their love of traditional furniture.
  • The level of detail and the workmanship that goes into making them is exceptional. They’re sure to be the highlight of your decor.

There’s no doubt that buying a bargueño desk will change your home forever.

Where to put it? 

The bargueño originates from Spain.

When faced with the question: “Where is the best place to put a bargueño desk?” it’s important to remember that you can’t just put it anywhere. B athrooms or kitchens, for example, are no good.

  • You could place it in the living room, as more people are likely to see it here. You could put it on a table so that people can see it properly and can even take a look inside.
  • It can also work well in bedrooms. With its quasi-architectural style, it’s sure to attract the attention of any guests who see it. However, you do need to make sure it works well with the rest of the decor.
  • Entrance halls are also ideal. Why? Because it’ll be the first thing anyone will see when they walk in your home. If you put your bargueño desk here, its tradition and elegance will be be obvious right from the start.

The bargueño desk and interior decor


As we’ve said before, this is a historic piece of furniture, and it probably wouldn’t work well with modern styles such as minimalism. However, it can go really well with some other styles.

  • It can look great with classical decor, and create a great dialogue with the other elements.
  • Obviously, baroque style decor would be ideal, and would create a charming and original style.
  • Because it’s made of wood and has a more traditional look, it could work really well with rustic style decor. With its close ties to nobility and country estates, this could be a really original look.

Try to look for a bargueño desk in an antique store or an old house that no one lives in, or is about to be demolished. You might just find some old furniture that has been abandoned and will otherwise end up in the trash.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Villegas de Aneiva, Teresa: El mueble virreinal: el bargueño, La Paz, Museo Nacional de Arte, 1997.