Mission Style Furniture

Roots of Mission Style Furnishings

Mission style furniture is an American art form that is popular not just as a collector’s item but also a contemporary furniture design. The origins of this style are little known, but the most often told story is that mission style furniture was developed by the congregation of a San Francisco church around 1890.

The priests had no money, thus they came up to building the furniture themselves, and began constructing pieces which resembled the furniture found in Spanish mission points of Mexico and in the southwestern frontiers of the United States. The term ‘mission style furniture’ was hence given to this particular style of furniture.

Mission style furniture like this sofa gained popularity in the America around the turn of the 20th century and contrasts to the more ornate furniture styles of the Victorian era.

Mission style furniture became popular in the United States during the period from about 1890 to 1914 and was a branch of the Arts and Crafts movement. The movement emphasized the value of preserving the man-made furniture, and was a contrast to the more glamorously styled furniture of the Victorian era.

Mission style furniture and decor emphasizes craftsmanship as shown in the detail of this fine dovetail joint.

Manufactured goods during the period were mostly of poor design and quality, the Arts and Crafts movement hence encouraged the rebirth of individual craftsmanship. Mass-produced goods were then replaced with intricate objects created by talented hands, and this furniture mirrored the ideas of the movement.

Mission Style is Elegant, Practical and Natural

Mission style furniture was and remains to be simple, elegant and practical, and molded from natural, unpainted wood and other earth materials.

Mission style furniture suits best for homeowners who want a serene and simple air on their surroundings. It takes you away from the hurly-burly of the city life, and leads to a more peaceful atmosphere close to earth’s natural beauty.

Original mission style furniture was constructed exclusively of weathered oak. It is made up of straight lines, and mortise, and dowel joinery, this style was set free from elaborate ornamentation, and the design was limited to large nail heads, or hand-hammered copper appliqués and simple cut out patterns for decoration.

Dark colors and the natural grain of wood predominate in Mission style furniture and decor. Note the hint of natural color and warmth provided by the accent decoration placed on this side table.


Clean Lines and Earthy Colors

With lines that are clean, modern mission style furniture features fine joinery work, with butterfly joints and corbels and usually made with quarter-sawn pieces of oak.

The colors present in mission style furniture are dark. Thus you may use shades of earthly colors such as chocolate browns, reds, and burnt yellows on your furniture. The walls are thus painted with some blend of these hues, in order for the mission style furniture pieces to glow, and as well as add drama to the entire space.

Accent pieces such as night stands and wooden stools will be placed around the home in a mission style design. Other pieces such as blankets and pillows in rich colors give a punch to the mission style furniture.

The furniture pieces are made to be simple. The pillows on the other hand add a bold touch. Angular clocks, centerpieces, ornaments, as well as kitchen dishes contribute to the beauty of mission style furniture. These are hence displayed throughout the home in order to bring unity to the overall design.

Mission Style & Contemporary Interiors

Mission style furniture works well with contemporary design, as both themes focus on the pieces’ functionality. Mission style tables are made with appropriate drawers to fill up storage, and do not carry elaborate carvings and contours to maintain the functional value of space.

Modern mission style night stands are made of thin steel and are placed on ideal positions where you can easily use them. Mission style furniture as well promotes cleanliness and keeps things uncluttered.

Clean lines and fine joinery work, made from quarter-sawn pieces of oak are typical of Mission style as this bannister railing shows.

Accessory Ideas to Complement your Mission Style Furniture

Paintings and other wall pieces make a more comfortable feeling on your mission style furniture. These add cheer and gaiety to and hence lessen the stark and silence in the home.

Accessories which showcase a mission style are bronzes, wood boxes and vases in free-flowing form. Pottery is also recommended. Area rugs meanwhile help flourish mission style flooring. Rugs and carpets in shades of deep red, green and blue set the frame of mission style furniture from a top view.

Finally, the windows should give an air of freedom by using light material for drapes and curtains. Earth colors such as off white, cream and grass-green are recommended for they let the breeze come in. Other window adornments may comprise of wooden blinds, as well as beautiful stained glass lamps with geometric designs.

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