According to Connected Lines, chairs and other furniture in the Duncan Phyfe style have carved or reeded legs, and neoclassical motifs. There is some variation in individual design, but the style is considered by some art historians as an adaptation of the earlier styles of Adam, Sheraton, Hepplewhite and Empire.
According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Phyfe's furniture combined English Neoclassical and Regency styles. There are several different designs associated with Duncan Phyfe-style chairs, as per Connected Lines. The chair arms tend to slope downward to meet the posts from the seat. The chair back can be in a number of different shapes, including crossbar x-shaped, crosspiece with a single flat-vertical slat, a lyre-shaped central splat, or a scroll-back design with a curved x-shaped splat. Chair seats can be of either horseshoe or square shape. The seats are often either made of woven rattan cane, or they are upholstered. There are many different variations of chair legs, such as having decorative carvings, having x-shaped curved legs or being reeded. Chair legs could be round, square or straight-shaped, as well as tapered or splayed.
According to Houzz, Phyfe placed an emphasis on grace and beauty in his works. Early Phyfe furniture was often made of mahogany. A lyre backing was also common to his chairs.