Finding the Furnishings That Fit Your Style
There is an old saying that pets and their owners look alike. The same adage can be used when speaking about people and their furnishings. There are many different styles of furniture. Like us, they can be modern or old-fashioned, religious or irreverent, formal, semi-formal, large, small, elegant, or even downright shabby! They usually have interesting histories, reflect their times, and often pass their characteristics down to their successors.
The Gothic style of furniture that we see in antique stores today is mostly a result of the Gothic revival of the early 1800s. A very early form of the Gothic-type can be found in ancient Roman architecture. The style was reborn in France, in or about the 12th century, as a religious art form that was reflected in furniture, architecture, paintings and even eating utensils.
In the 1800s, the Gothic design form was re-introduced by an architect named Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, who had been trained to create illustrations of Gothic buildings for publications. Mr. Pugin fervently believed that the Gothic style was the only style that should be used to reflect Christianity in architecture. As gothic style became increasingly popular, Pugin also designed gothic furnishings for the home, religious, and office use.
Gothic style furniture is strong and heavy, opinionated, and stately. It’s hard to move, is made of stern stuff and ages well. It’s just a little bit scary looking, too!
Arts and Crafts (Mission) Style
The arts and crafts (or missions) style was a late 19th century/early 20th-century design revolt against the pretentious Victorian era, with its heavy Gothic influences. The architect Philip Webb introduced the plain and simple style which emphasized clean lines and honest handiwork. Machine labor wasn’t entirely discouraged in the manufacture of the furniture, but good old-fashioned hand labor was preferred. Dovetail joints, not nails, were (and still are) used to fasten furniture parts together. Mission style furniture enjoyed a revival in the 2000s.
Arts and Crafts furniture are honest and hard-working. It is unpretentious, clean, and scrupulous. Arts and Crafts style lives by the Boy Scout code (clean, thrifty, honest, trustworthy, etc.). You can trust this style of furniture to give you firm support.
Art Deco (Modern) Style
Boop Boop Be Doop! This famous (or infamous) style of architecture and furniture design was the hippy movement of its time. For the most part, style, not substance, was the important element of the Modern movement. Mass production of furniture by unknown, unnamed factory workers rapidly churned out this wildly popular style; the craftsmanship was not nearly as important as salesmanship. The hallmark of the Art Deco furniture style was its use of geometric angles. It existed between the two World Wars as an exciting and brand new kind of style, and it is still admired and used today.
Art Deco furniture is fun and free-wheeling in a slightly old-fashioned sort of way. Art Deco likes to rebel against tradition and have its own way. Art Deco doesn’t mind shocking the sensibilities a bit, but it means no real harm by it.
Deconstructionism architecture and furniture design is exactly what it sounds like — an attempt to deconstruct the designs of the past and set a new standard. Deconstructionism furniture often requires a second look to establish its purpose. If the form is supposed to follow function, deconstructionism missed the memo. A sofa may or may not look like a sofa. The guess is all yours.
Deconstructionism is irreverent, avant-garde and unpredictable. It is not always what it appears to be, but it is usually secure and steady beneath its unusual facade. Deconstructionism may want to shake up the way the world thinks, but its heart is in the right place. Deconstructionism just wants to have fun, but in a more up-to-date way than its older cousin Art Deco.
Furniture Personality Style
Furniture makers and architects are artists who tend to lend their personality traits to their creations. People who buy furniture often gravitate towards a furniture design style because something in what the designer was trying to impart speaks to them, too.