Until the late 19th century, people could not get enough of Victorian-era furniture. But the elaborate scrolls and intricate designs were becoming tiresome. A.J. Forbes gets credit for making the first chair that was simple in design, comfortable for sitting, and perfect for Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco.
Some say the term ‘mission’ came from the association of use in churches and Spanish missions of the Mission Revival Style architecture. Others say furniture manufacturer Joseph P. McHugh of New York was the first to name ‘mission’ as a style in the Arts & Crafts Movement. For this reason, mission style furniture became a popular choice for the Americas and Europe.
The mission style has several characteristics that separate it from other types of furniture. The main difference is that this furniture glorifies the wood grain in every piece.
Other features include:
- Little or no ornamentation
- Commonly constructed of golden or white oak
- Flat panels with straight horizontal and vertical simple lines
- Often finished with dark wood stain
- Durable construction
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Also called Shaker, Arts & Crafts, and Craftsman style, mission design style has become a popular form of furniture in the United States. Today’s mission furniture is mass-produced or hand-sewn solid wood. Traditionally made with oak wood, maple, cherry, walnut, and ash wood are popular in manufactured craftsman furniture.
Red oak and brown maple make rich, distinctive natural wood furniture, and solid teak frames are perfect for patio furniture. Marvin D. Schwartz, the furniture expert, points out that not all mission furniture is of Gustav Stickley’s quality. Even inferior pieces hold their value well in the secondary market.
Craftsman Style Furniture in Home Decor
Because solid hardwoods and straight lines adorn crafts style furniture, it can easily be standalone or transition with other furniture styles.
Pure Mission Style Spaces
Mission family room or Mission living room furniture delivers warmth with natural materials and the amber glow of quality lacquer finish. Collections of specific simple designs are an easy way to outfit a living space in a classic style or a refined version of slightly curved legs and raised panels.
Matching end tables and coffee tables offset the style of furniture, while a cushioned fabric-covered couch adds natural colors. A color palette of muted greens, reds, blues, taupes, and oranges brings out the best natural tones of the wood. There is nothing flashy about the crafts furniture collection. The beautiful hand-sewn wood puts on enough of a show to need no competition.
Vertical slats and angular lines pronounce the grain of the natural wood, and natural fabrics highlight the beauty. Leather is a favorite material, but durable woven linen, burlap, and cotton can be seen on the well-padded cushion. Sofa beds and Amish recliners round out a Mission living room décor.
Mission style living room furniture can also take on the role of Frank Lloyd Wright with a few stained glass windows and straight designs made from your favorite hardwood. A solid color William Morris chair with leather upholstery will deliver a comfortable artisan living room.
Rustic Meets Mission
A craftsman-styled home favors Amish living room furniture. Handmade of heirloom quality, Amish builders focus on furniture with practical uses while highlighting the beauty of the style and wood. Exposed beams and a stone fireplace are perfect for solid quarter-hand-sawn oak wood furniture. We can make extra storage space with a rustic steamer storage coffee table chest with many of the same features as the Mission design.
If you like the rustic feel but become overwhelmed with its harshness, incorporate the distinctive style of mission-styled Amish furniture into your living space. Small pane glass doors and vertical lines in a piece of furniture, like tv stands, will mix nicely with rough-hewn open shelves and a contemporary sectional sofa. Add a low-riding wingback chair as a side piece.
Modern Industrial and Mission
The industrial revolution brought a new manufacturing era in the 1800s and continued through the early 1900s. They abandoned old brick buildings for newer facilities in the 2000s. These old buildings made the most of the needed living space in the cities. Exposed brick, pipes, and weathered wood were used to begin the fresh new look of Industrial design.
The clean lines found in the craftsman movement make old Stickley furniture a perfect fit for modern industrial decors. With ample space for a living room, a dining room, and a home office, we could use a large furniture piece with little trouble. Outfit your home office with shaker style furniture, including bookcases and a file cabinet. A mission style room is ideal for a bold look with high quality oak and fittings of bronze finishes.
Today, modern industrial has moved into the suburbs and added modern appliances and dramatic lighting. Large, open spaces and furniture with little ornamentation have become quite popular. Adding an authentic and true craftsman piece, such as a dining room set or tv console, brings a natural feel to this type of decor.
We can add bolder colors in modern paintings and other accessories to combine the styles to create a statement of individuality.
Custom Mission Style Furniture
They credit the Amish craftsmen for building some of the world’s most functional and elegant furniture. Sit on a comfortable Mission style couch and study the squared mission style arm. The wood grain runs expertly from back to front, and even though no two pieces are identical, the aesthetic appeal is perfect.
You will only see this type of run in quality wood and quality craftsmanship. When looking for the best varieties, look for handcrafted ones as they will last a lifetime. Master craftsmen perfected the art in the late 1700s, and the procedure has changed very little in their skills or how the pieces look today.
There is Mission style furniture that is mass-produced. It isn’t hard to tell if oak is genuine or covered by the MDF board. Genuine oak is heavy, and the grain lines will never be the same on individual pieces. The manufacturer will also give you a clue about how their product gets produced. Solid wood Mission furniture often comes with a lifetime guarantee against product deficiency.
Mission Style Accessories
Many artful products accentuate your look, whether merging mission style with another style or using an entire collection in your space. Anything from the Arts and Crafts Era will highlight your furniture.
Wall hangings are a great way to emphasize your furniture that blends wood, glass, and metal elements. Anything Frank Lloyd Wright will add a sophisticated flair. We can find geometric shapes in most materials. The Robie House wall hanging delivers straight lines and slight curves that stay with the mission style.
A nature selection with a French art nouveau design will look stately when parked above quality mission wood furniture. Earthy colors in a rich oak frame will be a welcome addition to a mission style living room, entranceway, or bedroom.
Area rugs provide color and shape to a room with mission-style furniture. Geometric or Turkish handwoven rugs make the wood shine from your living room furniture. William Morris large floral wool rugs with a faded vintage appeal are desired by many who strive for the Arts and Crafts decor. It could also work well with a blend of Mid-Century and Mission style.
Drapes and pillows made of natural cotton blend well with the neutral colors of mission furniture. Roman shades can bring a spot of texture inside the long, flowing drapes. Grommet or rod pocket curtains are great for adapting to mission furniture’s straight and ornament-free look.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have or are looking for a Mission-style sofa couch, the cushions are most likely worn out or show more wear and tear than the wood. What should you do? Here are some ideas.
- Look for patio furniture cushions of similar sizes and dimensions. The material is weather-hardened and rugged, and perfect for pets if you have any.
- You could try to recover your cushions if they have zippers for removal. Find a stitch and repair service or a seamstress to make new cushion covers to your liking or similar to the old ones. Of course, do-it-yourself (DIY) is also a good option if you have sewing skills.
- You can also look for custom upholsters for custom-made cushion covers. This time, it might be good to make removable cushion covers for cleaning and make sure you make extra sets for less wear and tear. This option is best because you can re-decorate and pick the fabric style. Make sure it is heavy-duty fabric if you want a longer cushion lifespan.
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Karen Gillan, Senior Writer
Experienced Writer with 20+ years. Demonstrated writing experience includes technical writing, magazines, story writing, and journalist projects. Karen has a powerful media and communication background with academic training from LaSalle University (architecture, interior design) and business college courses. She loves editing novels and contributed to a national art journal.
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