虽然每个阶段都有很多不同的风格，但实际上所有阶段都是在更广泛的分类下进行分类的。因此，在研究每个阶段的风格之前，解释法国家具的两个基本定义非常重要：“Menuisrie”和“Ebenisterie”。在谈到一件法国古董家具时，经销商和收藏家通常首先将其分为两类之一。这是一个更广泛的分类。十六世纪的家具与餐厅的分部有明显的联系。菜单是一个与实木工作的人。虽然菜单可以直译为木匠，但这个人实际上不仅仅是一个木匠。这是一个处理皇家家具中使用的镶嵌复杂技术的人。然而从十六世纪走向十七世纪和十八世纪的家具，还有许多元素被添加。特别是17世纪是巴洛克时代。这是当更复杂的技术来使用。饰面和镶嵌被看作是取代较简单的技术。当时的菜单被称为电子书。 “ebenistes”一词的直译意为“橱柜制造者”。这又不是完整的翻译，因为所谓的橱柜制造商负责创造座椅，座椅家具，自助餐和衣橱，装饰板（比如用于墙壁的装饰板），以及窗户等等。 Ebenistes被称为是因为他们制造的家具不是来自当地常见的木材。他们从乌木制造家具。乌木或者ebene在16世纪在法国首次使用，但是它被用作一种非常专业的木材。由于皇室需要更多这样的产品，工匠更专注于其创作。使用乌木来制作艺术家具的工匠最初被称为enbene菜单。
While there are many different styles within each stage, all stages are actually classified under much broader classifications also. Hence before the study of the styles of each stage, it is very important to explain two basic definition of French furniture: “Menuisrie” and “Ebenisterie”. When talking about a piece of French antique furniture, dealers and collectors usually first classify it into one of these two sorts. This is a broader classification. The 16 century furniture was connected distinctly to the divisions of the menuisier. The menusier is one who worked with that of solid wood. While a menusier can be called a carpenter in literal translation, the person is actually more than a carpenter. This is a person that dealt with the intricate techniques of inlays that was used in the royal furniture. However moving from the sixteenth century towards the seventeenth and eighteenth century furniture’s, there were many elements that were added on. The 17th century in particular was the age of the baroque. This was when more sophisticated techniques came to be used. Veneering and marquetry was seen to replace the simpler techniques. The menuisiers at this time were referred to as the ebenistes. A literal translation of the term ebenistes means ‘cabinet-maker’. This is again not the complete translation as the so called cabinet maker was responsible for creating seat’s, seat furniture, buffets and armoires, decorative paneling such as for the walls called the boiseries, and windows and more. The Ebenistes were so called because the furniture they made was not from the normal, locally found wood. They made furniture from Ebony. The ebony or the ebene was first used in France in the 16th century but it was used rather sparingly being a very specialized form of woods. As royalty demanded more of such products, the craftsmen focused on its creation more. The craftsmen that used the Ebony to create artistic furniture were called the menuisiers en ebene initially.