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Traditional Amish Furniture Styles: Shaker or Mission?

by | February 24, 2021

Amish furniture is generally completely made out of wood. These types of furniture originated from Amish cultures in states such as Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Since the 1920s, people have valued Amish furniture for its craftsmanship, durability, and simplicity.

Amish furniture is a green product and is a popular choice for those prioritizing sustainability. Many include Amish furniture as a part of their home design.

The Two Main Types of Amish Furniture

Amish furniture is often classified as either Shaker or Mission. Both have distinct styles stemming from their historical backgrounds. Choosing one can be a challenge if you don’t know the characteristics of each. They are both considered functional styles, so choosing becomes a matter of preference.

Shaker

The Shakers moved away from the Church of England in the 1700s to establish their societies in the United States. Their name stems from religious beliefs that used various shaking motions. Later on, this group became known as the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Coming. Shakers were very keen on the concept of simplicity, which is evident in their furniture work.

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The simple, handcrafted pieces from the Shakers found popularity during the 19th century. Their furniture usually has subtle curves, wooden knobs, and tapered legs. Compared to other furniture, Shaker pieces are gentle and made from pine, cherry, or maple. The most desired option from this style is the shaker chair, which is a lightweight woven chair. It has an angle in its design to make it comfortable.

To make cleaning easy, most shaker furniture features tapering. It also makes it so that it is easy to move the furniture when it is not in use. It has graduated drawers, which helps draw the eyes upward. It is also functional for storing more items, as it makes use of the space.

Mission

The Mission style takes inspiration from the Shaker style, which makes the two comparable in some aspects. However, the Mission style has some features that make it stand out on its own. Unlike the gentler tone of Shaker, Mission features a focus on sturdiness. The craftsmen that made them popular also preferred darker colors and stains of wood.

The creation of Mission furniture stemmed from a demand for handcrafted furniture with the rise of factories. People who craved handcrafted products found that Mission furniture rose to the occasion. It was during this time that the concept of the craftsman was being introduced to the masses. Their pieces also featured a little more ornamentation compared to Shaker ones.

Aside from wood, Mission furniture also features the use of leather in small elements. It is not common, but they are present in some stores. Another distinct characteristic of their handiwork is the appearance of parallel slats. It brings a sense of uniformity and sturdiness that these types of furniture reflect.

Two Distinct and Beautiful Paths

While rooted in two similar cultures, both of them present options that can complete your home. Amish furniture is the best choice if you want to mix subtleness and function. You can compare similar pieces for each to help you make a better decision.