Furniture Styles and Where They Came From
Furniture has been an essential part of human existence for centuries, serving both functional and aesthetic purposes. Over the years, various furniture styles have emerged, each with its unique history, features, and cultural significance. Lets explore different furniture styles and their history.
Ancient Furniture Styles
The history of furniture dates back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Greece, and Rome. These civilizations created furniture pieces that were not only functional but also reflected their culture and art.
Made of wood, stone, and metals such as bronze and gold. Furniture pieces were ornate and decorated with symbols, such as the sun and the lotus flower, whichds were significant in Egyptian mythology.
Contrasting Egyptian style, Greek furniture was simple and functional, reflecting the Greeks’ belief in the importance of physical fitness and discipline. Greek furniture was typically made of wood and featured geometric designs.
Heavily influenced by Greek and Egyptian styles. It was made of marble, bronze, and wood and featured intricate carvings and designs.
12th Century to 18th Century Furniture Styles
Gothic Furniture Style
The Gothic style emerged in the 12th century in Europe and was popular until the 16th century. Gothic furniture was characterized by its ornate and intricate designs, featuring pointed arches, elaborate carvings, and stained glass.
Gothic furniture was made of oak and walnut and was often painted black or dark brown. Gothic furniture was heavily influenced by the Gothic architecture of the time, which featured pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses. This style was typically used in castles, churches, and other grand buildings.
Renaissance Furniture Style
The Renaissance period, which lasted from the 14th to the 17th century, was marked by a revival of classical art and culture. Renaissance furniture was characterized by its elegance and sophistication, featuring intricate carvings, gilding, and luxurious fabrics.
Renaissance furniture was typically made of oak, walnut, or mahogany and was often decorated with inlays of ivory or mother-of-pearl. Furniture pieces included chairs, tables, and cabinets, which were ornate and decorated with symbols such as cherubs, grapes, and lions.
Baroque Furniture Style
The Baroque period, which lasted from the late 16th century to the mid-18th century, was marked by a grandeur and opulence in art and architecture. Baroque furniture was characterized by its elaborate designs, featuring curvilinear shapes, ornate carvings, and gilding.
Baroque furniture was typically made of mahogany or ebony and was decorated with gold leaf, mother-of-pearl, and other precious materials. Furniture pieces included chairs, tables, and cabinets, which were often used in grand palaces and royal residences.
Rococo Furniture Style
The Rococo style emerged in the early 18th century in France and was characterized by its playful and whimsical designs. Rococo furniture was heavily influenced by nature, featuring designs such as shells, flowers, and foliage.
Rococo furniture was typically made of wood and was decorated with elaborate carvings and gilding. Furniture pieces included chairs, tables, and cabinets, which were often painted in pastel colors and adorned with lace and silk fabrics.
Neoclassical Furniture Style
The Neoclassical style emerged in the mid-18th century in Europe and was marked by a return to classical art and architecture. Neoclassical furniture was characterized by its simplicity and elegance, featuring straight lines, geometric shapes, and understated designs.
Neoclassical furniture was typically made of mahogany or satinwood and was decorated with inlays of brass or ivory. Furniture pieces included chairs, tables, and cabinets, which were often used in grand homes and public buildings.
Shaker Style Furniture
Shaker style furniture refers to a type of furniture design that is inspired by the principles and aesthetics of the Shakers, a religious sect that originated in the United States in the 18th century. The Shakers believed in simplicity, functionality, and quality craftsmanship, which is reflected in their furniture.
Shaker style furniture is characterized and identified by its simplicity, minimalism, straight lines, quality craftsmanship, functionality and natural finishes. Shaker style has had a significant influence on furniture design and continues to be appreciated for its timeless appeal, craftsmanship, and understated elegance.
Colonial style refers to a design aesthetic that takes inspiration from the architecture, decor, and furniture of the colonial period, particularly in America. This style draws influence from the European styles prevalent during the colonial era, which spanned roughly from the 17th to the 19th century.
Colonial style can be identified by its symmetry, warm color palette, and rich textiles. Overall, it is characterized by its timeless elegance, traditional influences, and attention to detail. It offers a classic and refined aesthetic that pays homage to the colonial era.
19th Century to Present
Industrial Style Furniture
Industrial style furniture refers to a design aesthetic that draws inspiration from industrial spaces, such as factories, warehouses, and workshops. It emerged as a popular interior design trend and has gained significant popularity in recent years. Industrial Style typically utilizes raw and rugged elements, metal accents or structures, distressed finishes, reclaimed or repurposed elements, a neutral color palette, and often uses a combination of textures.
Industrial style furniture is favored for its unique blend of ruggedness, simplicity, and urban appeal. It can add character and a touch of nostalgia to a space, making it a popular choice for contemporary interiors, lofts, and modern industrial-inspired homes.
Art Nouveau Furniture Style
The Art Nouveau style emerged in the late 19th century and was characterized by its fluid, organic designs. Art Nouveau furniture was heavily influenced by nature and featured curved lines, floral patterns, and asymmetrical shapes.
Art Nouveau furniture was typically made of wood or metal and was decorated with intricate carvings and inlays of exotic materials such as ivory and tortoiseshell. Furniture pieces included chairs, tables, and cabinets, which were often used in private homes and public spaces such as cafes and hotels.
Art Deco Furniture Style
The Art Deco style emerged in the 1920s and was marked by its sleek, geometric designs. Art Deco furniture was heavily influenced by the modernist movement and featured materials such as chrome, glass, and lacquered wood.
Art Deco furniture was characterized by its sharp angles, bold colors, and symmetrical designs. Furniture pieces included chairs, tables, and cabinets, which were often used in high-end homes and public spaces such as theaters and cinemas.
Mid-Century Modern Furniture Style
The Mid-Century Modern style emerged in the mid-20th century and was characterized by its clean, minimalist designs. Mid-Century Modern furniture was heavily influenced by Scandinavian design and featured materials such as teak, walnut, and rosewood.
Mid-Century Modern furniture was characterized by its simple lines, organic shapes, and functional designs. Furniture pieces included chairs, tables, and cabinets, which were often used in modern homes and public spaces such as offices and museums.
Contemporary Furniture Style
Contemporary furniture is a broad term used to describe furniture designs that are currently popular. Contemporary furniture is characterized by its innovative designs, use of new materials, and focus on functionality.
Contemporary furniture pieces include chairs, tables, and cabinets, which feature designs such as sleek lines, bold colors, and unusual shapes. Contemporary furniture is often used in modern homes and public spaces such as hotels and restaurants.
To Sum Up
Furniture styles have evolved over the centuries, reflecting changes in culture, art, and technology. Styles will continue to evolve and more over time. From the ornate designs of ancient civilizations to the sleek lines of contemporary furniture, each style has its unique history and cultural significance. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all styles but hopefully by understanding some the history of furniture styles can help you choose the perfect furniture pieces for your home, reflecting your personal style and cultural preferences.
Not sure how to narrow down your design style? Check out this guide to get you started.