Sugar House Furniture in Salt Lake City, Utah, has specialized in mission-style furniture for almost 40 years. You may be wondering, what exactly is mission-style furniture? What sets it apart from other styles of furniture? How do I use mission furniture in the design of my home? This blog will walk you through the history of mission furniture, its defining characteristics, and ways to utilize it in interior design.
History of Mission-Style Furniture
Mission-style furniture was born in the 1890s as a part of the Arts and Crafts aesthetic movement and was named as an ode to the Spanish missionaries that settled in northern California. After seeing a chair he loved in a San Francisco church, a furniture craftsman named Joseph McHugh developed the style as a response to art nouveau, the reigning design style at the time, which some people found to be excessive.
Art nouveau was wildly popular in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras up until it was replaced by the Art Deco movement of the 1920s, and its design principles can be found in everything from furniture to clothing to wallpaper to art from the time period. While art nouveau was all about ornamentation, botanical motifs, and swooping lines, mission-style furniture emphasizes simplicity and natural beauty.
In addition to countering art nouveau, mission furniture was also created as a response to the Industrial Revolution. Similar to what we’re seeing today with mass production in factories, there was an attitude at the time that the Industrial Revolution had made it harder to get handcrafted, high-quality furniture that would last for generations in favor of less expensive, mass-produced goods. Mission furniture emphasizes fine craftsmanship and is made to last.
After falling out of style around the 1930s, mission furniture experienced a resurgence in the 1980s and has remained a popular style ever since.
Mission-style furniture has many defining characteristics. By familiarizing yourself with these attributes, you can become an expert in spotting high-quality, traditional mission furniture.
- Simple design: Mission-style furniture emphasizes rectangular shapes in its design, using straight vertical and horizontal lines and 90-degree angles to make rectangular shapes. Furniture legs are usually square or rectangular, and the fronts of doors and drawers often utilize flat paneling in lieu of ornamentation.
- Exposed joints: Many modern styles of furniture are constructed in a way that hides the joints. Mission furniture leaves wood joints exposed, giving a more rustic feel.
- Natural wood: Traditionally, mission-style furniture is made of oak, but can also be made from cherry, walnut, ash, and maple wood. The natural beauty of the wood is emphasized with finishes that accentuate the grain without covering it up.
- Metal handles and drawer pulls: To compliment the natural wood, mission-style furniture often uses metal hardware.
Craftsman Bungalow Homes
Craftsman bungalow-style homes are another product of the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century. They featured low gabled roofs, exposed rafters, sash windows, decorative brackets, and wide, overhanging eaves. Mission furniture and craftsman homes went hand in hand thanks to their similar aesthetics, with both valuing woodwork and handcrafted details. These homes could even be built from kits available to purchase from catalogs.
Like mission-style furniture, craftsman homes eventually fell out of favor. However, this architectural style has experienced a major resurgence of popularity in the 21st century and is one of the most popular design styles for newly built homes today.
With a return to craftsman-style architecture, mission furniture is a great way to embrace tradition and simplicity in your interior design. If you live in a craftsman home, try creating a cohesive look by carrying design details such as natural wood, clean lines, and functionality from the outside of your home to the inside.
There is a wealth of mission furniture available to fit any home. Browse available options for bedroom, kitchen, office, and bathroom furniture to find what you like. Remember, mission furniture is an investment and should last you a lifetime, so it’s worth it to spend a little extra money.
Mission Furniture at Sugar House Furniture
At Sugar House Furniture, we pride ourselves on providing heirloom-quality products to customers all along the Wasatch Front. Our furniture is made to last and offers timeless elegance for any home. We are a small, family-owned business, which allows us to provide excellent service and cultivate relationships with our customers. If you’re interested in mission furniture, come visit our showroom in Salt Lake City, Utah, or peruse our website. We’re excited to work with you and help you create a beautiful home you want to spend time in!