If, like so many people these days, you're always busy and on the move, you may have never given your furniture much thought in the past - if that's the case, don't worry; it's probably the case with most of us! Still, it's worth thinking about your furniture and how it can be more than just something you use every day to sit down and put your stuff on when you get home from work or unpack when you move into a new place.
You might know that there are many furniture styles, but do you know what all those different names mean? If you're confused about the differences between Victorian, contemporary, and transitional furniture styles, this informative post will help clear things up! You'll find an overview of the most popular types of furniture styles and their definitions.
You'll also learn what features each style has in common with others and where they differ. Plus, you'll get tips on choosing specific types of furniture based on your personal preferences.
Antique vs. Vintage
Vintage furniture is furniture that has been passed down through several generations, so it could be 100 years old, or even older. That said, the minimum age for something to be considered "vintage" is generally around 20 years old.
This type of furniture usually adds character to a room—and it often retains its value over time or even appreciates. Vintage furniture is often more expensive. Depending on how old it is, how well it was made, and how it looks, vintage furniture can be worth a lot more or a lot less than new furniture.
An antique is a type of vintage furniture. It's furniture that's at least 100 years old. Antique furniture tends to be valued more than other vintage items, but there's no hard-and-fast rule on how to tell if something is truly an antique – or just an older piece. Some experts recommend determining value by looking at specific characteristics, like hardware or wood grain.
If you're buying antique or vintage furniture, make sure to research its original price to ensure you're getting a good deal. If you can find out exactly when it was manufactured, even better. Since furniture styles have changed drastically throughout history, comparing your piece with others from around the same period can help determine its authenticity and worthiness.
Art Deco vs. Retro
Art Deco and Retro are two furniture styles that you're likely to run into today. Each has its advantages, so understanding what they each mean will help you make a more informed purchasing decision when shopping for this style of furniture.
While both can be considered elegant, Art Deco furniture might be too over-the-top if you're looking for something more reserved, or retro pieces won't quite fit into an ultra-modern home.
Art Deco furniture is usually considered to be very stylish and elegant. There are a lot of different types of Art Deco furniture that are very geometric and dramatic. It has big, bold, and ornate designs. While Art Deco furniture was popular in the 1920s and 1930s, it's still being built today by some top-quality craftsmen, so you might find it in stores and online.
Retro furniture is also very stylish. This type of furniture was trendy during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Retro furniture tends to be more basic and vintage, focusing on mid-century modern design. This furniture style tends to be a little more affordable than the more classic pieces from the 1920s and 1930s.
Traditional vs. Rustic
These two styles are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to furniture. Rustic furniture often features rough-hewn wood, while the traditional style of furniture is made with fine grains. Rustic or country-style furniture tends to be more Western in nature, while traditional furniture leans toward European design. Both rustic and traditional can appear in any room from your living room to your office—no matter what style or motif you're trying to pull off!
With these basic definitions in mind, you can begin to think about where you'd like to use each type of furniture. If you prefer a clean, modern look but have a wild streak that needs expressing, rustic furniture might be right up your alley. On the other hand, if your tastes run more toward fancy-schmancy, then perhaps traditional is more your style.
French Provincial vs. Shabby Chic
The French Provincial and Shabby Chic styles of furniture pieces are actually quite similar. Both styles draw their inspiration from French country-style furnishings, and both come in various colors.
However, there are key differences between the French provincial and Shabby Chic furniture styles. Lighter colors characterize French Provincial, with cornflower blue, orange-red, and corn-silk yellow being popular colors. On the other hand, Shabby Chic is a style that draws its inspiration from aged pieces of furniture.
French Provincial is a more formal style that allows you to mix, match, and layer different color schemes. Shabby chic uses soft colors that help it blend in with its surroundings. French provincial furniture tends to be less expensive than shabby chic due to its versatility and neutral color scheme.
Another significant difference between French provincial and shabby chic is where each style was made, as French Provincial-style furniture comes from France. In contrast, Shabby Chic styles originated in England.
Both the French Provincial and the Shabby Chic furniture styles have unique characteristics that make them an excellent fit for your home. Make sure you consider your style preferences when choosing between them so that you don't end up having to compromise later.
If you can't decide on one style or another, don't fret! There are plenty of design trends out there that let you mix both styles together in one room. Your options are endless, so have fun with it.
Arts and Crafts vs. Mission Style
The significant differences between arts & crafts and mission style furniture can be attributed to their historical context. The arts & crafts movement rose in reaction to excesses in Victorian design; furniture was made with locally-sourced materials, with attention paid to preserving traditional craftsmanship.
The mission style was a reaction to urbanization and industrialization. The arts & crafts movement was all about hand-made things, but mission style furniture makers were more likely to use commercial manufacturing processes and materials.
Continuing with these distinctions, arts & crafts furniture is usually square or rectangular, while mission pieces tend to be more elaborate. Arts and crafts furniture typically has straight lines and a plainer profile; the mission style tends to have arched lines, curves and ornate details. Both styles are often large in scale. Arts & crafts furniture is considered more expensive than mission style furniture, but not always by a large margin. Both styles are highly prized in today's market.
Contemporary vs. Modern
Unlike sofas, chairs usually have a contemporary style, which means they're designed to be aesthetically pleasing. This doesn't mean you can't use them in your home; it just means that it is probably best to match other furniture styles with your contemporary chair. On the other hand, modern chairs will likely stand out among most other pieces in your home.
Overall, it's important to remember that contemporary furniture often features clean lines. As such, your living room or dining room will typically include more decorative pieces than contemporary chairs or tables.
That said, modern chairs are also relatively minimalistic in their design, which is why it can be a bit trickier to match them with other pieces of different styles. However, pairing modern and classic-styled furnishings isn't impossible. Many classic furnishings feature clean lines as well!
Both the contemporary and modern styles of furniture have clean lines, which allow them to blend in easily with other pieces of different styles. However, you can also dress up a contemporary or modern chair to create a more ornate look if you like. Just be careful not to overdo it. After all, simplicity is often what makes these furniture styles so popular in the first place.
Elegant vs. Transitional
Transitional furniture gives a nod to traditional style but also incorporates sleek lines. Transitional pieces aren't too traditionally formal, but they also aren't too modern and have a bit of an edge. The purpose is to bring two different styles together in one space, forming a balance between what was and what is.
Elegant furniture is sleek, timeless, and polished, being beautiful without being excessive. Furniture in the elegant style can fit in almost anywhere because the style is so general. Traditional furniture is an excellent middle ground between the two, and it's a style that is also quite versatile.
Both elegant and transitional furniture are created with contemporary design in mind and share some common traits with similarities in style and construction. But there are significant differences between these two styles of furniture. The most obvious one is design. Elegant is generally characterized by sleek lines, while traditional leans more toward curvy shapes. Transitional pieces lie somewhere between those two, offering a balance of both types.
Mid-Century Modern vs. Scandinavian
The Scandinavian furniture style is often minimalistic, with clean lines, light colors, and plenty of storage space. Mid-Century Modern is much more relaxed and has a vintage look with curved edges that evoke retro styles from decades past. These styles are often very comfortable, making them an excellent choice for the modern home. They are also very versatile, effortlessly blending in with a range of home styles.
It's no surprise that furniture styles from the past are still popular, as the design ideas behind them are timeless. A more traditional style like Scandinavian looks great in an upscale home. At the same time, Mid-Century Modern is perfect for a more casual living space. The best part is that you can combine these furniture styles to have a home that looks great, even if you don't have a huge budget!
With most styles of furniture available at a range of price points, it's important to understand which one is right for you. Both Scandi and mid-century modern pieces have their advantages, but they also differ on several important points. That's why it's helpful to weigh them against each other before making a purchase.
Victorian vs. Neo-Gothic
There are different types of furniture styles, each with its own meaning, intention, and origin. One famous style is Victorian. This style began in England during Queen Victoria's reign (1837–1901) and it is still used in many parts of the world. The people of England had a strong cultural influence on the Victorian style.
Many of the styles in England were developed to imitate the culture that had influenced them. One of these styles was the neo-Gothic style. The style was popular in the 19th century, when many people strived to forge their own fashion identity. Many wanted to create a style that reflected their culture and society. It was a time of exploration, and many people were trying to be creative.
The neo-Gothic style was a reaction to earlier art. In the Victorian period, furniture styles were predominantly straight, thick, and delicate; in contrast, neo-Gothic furniture is more flexible in form than its predecessor. It is typically ornate with soft curves, scrolls, or spiral patterns.
At first glance, it may be difficult to tell these two types of furniture apart. Both are known for their intricate design and decoration, so if you have both in your home, it might not look like there's much difference between them. However, if you're looking into adding new pieces to your collection or would like to learn more about how you can use certain styles in your home decor, then knowing how they differ can come in handy.
Furniture Styles FAQ
Since there are so many different types of furniture styles out there, you might be wondering how to choose which ones are right for you. If that’s the case, then we’re here to help! We’ve put together a helpful FAQ section that should answer all your questions.
How many different types of furniture styles are there?
Which one is the best furniture style?
How do I decide what my personal style is?
Is there anything else I should know before making a decision?
- How much money do I have to spend?
- How big is my house or apartment?
- Do I want to make a bold statement or something more subtle?
- Is furniture maintenance something I’m willing to take on?
- Do I have pets or small children?
- Am I planning on moving in the near future?
As you can see, there are a wide variety of furniture styles available on today's market. Some may look better in your living room than others; likewise, some might be more comfortable or functional to use than others. Take your time when choosing new furniture, make sure it fits your lifestyle, then go out and buy yourself something beautiful!