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July 20, 2022 6 min read

Furniture has been a hallmark of wealth and comfort for centuries. From Victorian and art deco to rustic and contemporary design, the list of furniture styles goes on and on. If you are looking to pick the best furniture style for your space, here's an exhaustive guide on the different furniture styles to pick from.

Types of Furniture Styles

Victorian

Victorian was a popular furniture style during the reign of England's Queen Victoria, from 1837 to 1901. It is no wonder it borrowed its name from Queen Victoria.

Victorian was among the first furniture styles and coincided with the Industrial Age. It catered to the budding group of affluent upper and middle-class homeowners.

This furniture style usually features ornate carvings and paintings, such as animals, botanicals, scrollwork, and fleur de lis. Typically large and heavy, these furniture pieces also use hand-crafted dark woods, including walnut, rosewood, and mahogany, and thick fabrics.

Arts and Craft

Art and craft is a design movement spearheaded by artist William Morris in the late 19th century. It sought to bring back the quality hand craftsmanship that existed before the industrial revolution.

The style offers a more straightforward, functional style that contrasts sharply with the famous, elaborate Victorian furniture style. The qualities of arts and craft furniture include:

  • Craftsmanship by hand
  • Rectilinear forms - focus on straight lines
  • No ornamentation
  • Sturdy, stained wood
  • Mortise-and-tenon joinery held different parts of furniture, not nails or glue
  • Use of natural leather or natural cloth as upholstery

Art Deco

Art déco is the acronym for Arts Decoratifs. It started at an exposition in Paris shortly before World War 1. In contrast to Arts and craft design, Art déco furniture emphasizes design excess.

It blends the fine craftsmanship typical of the Victorian era with contemporary materials to form a whole new style. This type of furniture represents an attitude of luxury and modernity.

Some traits of Art déco include bold, vibrant colors and geometric shapes featuring extensive, angular lines. This furniture style also uses a variety of materials, such as chrome, glass, mirrors, and exotic wood.

Antique

Authentic antique pieces are at least a century old. They are a representation of the style and the features that existed at the time they were made.

These furniture pieces are made of wood. Each style boasts specific characteristics and motifs. While some styles feature unique, ornate details, others add inlay designs for a stylish effect. Their unique traits indicate their rarity and collectability, which establishes their value. And due to their appealing aesthetics, they are considered a form of decorative art.

American Colonial

The American colonial furniture style was fabricated by American colonists between the mid-1600s to mid-1700s. Several styles from the British colonial period heavily influenced American design. It catered to the need for simple, light, and utilitarian furniture.

Some of its features include:

  • Use of several types of woods, such as pine and oak
  • Straight lines and random S-curves as ornamentation
  • Furniture arms feature a slight outward curve
  • The legs showcase cabriole or round designs
  • Uses fabric, chintz, damask, and tapestry as upholstery

Traditional

Traditional style furniture combines classic décor with European finesse. It reflects sophistication and simplicity at the same time.

Some of the key features include deep wood finishes, deep colors, and decorative details like paneling, modeling, and throw pillows. These furniture pieces also feature curved lines and vintage silhouettes and use fabrics and textiles like silk, velvet, leather, cotton, linen, and chenille.

Vintage

All vintage furniture is secondhand furniture with a chain of ownership. It covers furniture between 50 and 100 years old.

Old furniture is not necessarily vintage furniture in the technical sense. Basically, furniture must exhibit what defined a specific style of that era for it to earn the vintage tag. The Eames chair is an excellent example of a vintage furniture piece during the mid-century modern period.

Some of the traits of vintage furniture include the individuality and style of the older periods. The furniture is also budget-friendly and eco-friendly.

Rustic Furniture

Rustic furniture has a warm, cozy feel to it. It uses natural materials like timber and fabrics like linen, cotton, and canvas.

Rustic furniture pieces have simple lines without ornate details. The finishes can be smooth or not, and warm colors outnumber dark colors. These pieces are becoming increasingly common since they can fit in with almost any home.

American Design Furniture

The American furniture styles draw inspiration from the settlers who moved to America and started using wood to make furniture. A few traits stand out among the several American furniture styles. These furniture pieces usually have a handcrafted feel and are made from solid wood furniture with unique grains or leather fabric that displays opulence and a rustic feel. This furniture style also has eye-popping touches and pieces in this style are usually passed down as heirlooms.

Retro Furniture

Retro furniture depicts past fashion trends that are no longer trendy but can forge an emotional connection to the past generation. It is the type of piece that your grandmother may have preferred for her home in the 1950s and 1960s.

Retro is available in modular, geometric shapes and covered in pastel colors. It may need a bit of refreshing to become as good as new.

Modern Furniture

Modern furniture style is not new. It originated in the early 1900s and has the following characteristics:

  • Geometric shapes, crisp lines
  • Neutral color palettes
  • Materials like metal, plastic, natural wood, steel, and glass.
  • Plush cushions
  • Upholstered in vinyl, leather, microfiber
  •  Minimal ornate details

Minimalism Furniture

The minimalism design grew out of the 1960s Minimal Art Movement. Picking tried-and-true designs that lean toward primary function over stylish forms remains an important element of minimalism design to this day.

The principles of minimalist furniture design include round contours and smooth edges along with monochromatic palettes. These furniture pieces also leave a lot of open spaces.

Relaxed Modern Furniture

Relaxed modern furniture displays a minimalist style and laid-back, chic vibe. Its key features include:

  • Sleek silhouettes
  • Stylish, durable furniture
  • Superior comfort - think of comfy cushions, deep seats, and sprawling open space
  • Natural materials
  • Tactile fabrics

Contemporary Furniture

Contemporary furniture design denotes the present-day style. The pieces come in different forms, such as simple silhouettes, geometric shapes, or curved lines.

They come in glossy finishes on wood, plastic, glass, and steel materials. You'll find them upholstered in leather, suede, vinyl, or microfiber.

Shabby Chic Furniture

Shabby chic design originated from affluent homes in the French countryside. It focuses on up-cycling furniture that has lasted for a long time. It blends neutral shades with rustic effects to give off a vintage vibe.

Casual Luxe Furniture

The casual luxe design blends rustic wood finishes and countryside forms with urbane styles and neutral color tones. The shape and feel of these furniture pieces lend themselves to the casual and approachable side. At the same time, the pieces look and feel luxurious.

Mid-Century Modern Furniture

Mid-century Modern (MCM) is the dominant furniture style of the mid-20th century. It has the following traits:

  • Simplistic, not too ornate
  • Function precedes form
  • Extends the outdoors to the interiors
  • Clean and refined edges with a uniform finish
  • Uses organic shapes that lead to gentle curves
  • Diversity in color, material, and texture

Farmhouse Furniture

Thefarmhouse furniture design draws inspiration from the look and feel of past years. It encompasses the basic, minimalistic aesthetic influenced by the need of farmhouse residents for sturdy, functional furnishings.

Farmhouse furniture pieces are predominantly built from natural materials. They have a shabby-chic, rustic look combined with modern-day elements. They also favor practicality in terms of form and function.

Most of them are, however, not in tip-top condition and may even have weathered finishes. The pieces use traditional fabric, such as sisal, cotton, wicker, and rattan.

The Bottom Line

By now, you know the different furniture styles and their respective traits. You can enter a furniture store and confidently name your preferred furniture design.

Whether you love the deep wood finishes and color palettes of traditional furniture or the curved line and glossy finishes of contemporary modern furniture, there's something to match every taste.

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