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Mission Furniture Explained

Mission Furniture Explained

Not sure what exactly mission style furniture is? We are here to help! Today we do our best to give you some quick background on Mission style furniture and describe the elements that make Mission furniture unique.

Origins of Mission furniture

Mission furniture began in the late 19th century and was inspired by a small mission church in California where the frame structure and chairs were made using simple straight-line construction. The simplicity was in stark contrast to the ornate furnishings of the Victorian era, and people were drawn to the simple designs and dark stained mission furniture pieces. Now let’s take a look at the general characteristics of Mission furniture.

Mission furniture can be identified by some key characteristics:

Simple straight-line construction is demonstrated here with flat panel doors, inset drawers, and corner post block legs.

Ornate carvings reminiscent of Victorian era furniture will not be found anywhere near a mission furniture piece. Simple clean lines are the focus of mission furniture.

Elements tend to be flat or square. This Old Towne dresser displays a tri-squares pass through and quad inlay near the base of the dresser, adding a nice decorative element without being extravagant.


The overall look is considered heavy but well proportioned. This Mission piece is well balanced, with the slightly tapered legs and inlays adding just a touch of flair.

Design simplicity with fine craftsmanship. Here you see a mission style headboard in the construction process. Raw unstained wood slats are being placed in the headboard by an Amish craftsman.

The use of mission slats is a common element. This Mission Antique queen bed displays the common slated element found in many mission style pieces from beds to chairs.

Only made using high quality wood, most often quartersawn white oak. The quartersawn white oak shown here is displayed without stain. The grain pattern on display here is why many people prefer this wood. It offers ‘movement’ and variety.

Stains are usually warm and dark to evoke the natural elements of the wood and in nature. The heavy pattern of the grain also comes to the forefront when stained using darker tones.

Hardware is simple and straightforward, usually black iron or copper in keeping with the concept of simplicity married to both form and function.

Leather Upholstery is usually dark in color. The Amish House offers a full range of leather colors. Mission style furniture that calls for leather is usually made using warmer leather colors.

Fabric Upholstery usually displays geometric shapes or animal prints. While animal prints represent harmony with nature.

Geometric prints represent the simple clean lines found in the mission style.


Putting it all together

This bedroom grouping is a good example of all the above listed elements. Clean straight lines with no decorative ornamentation, black mission style hardware, inset drawers on the case goods, made from quartersawn white oak hardwood with a Michaels stain. We hope this quick Mission primer has provided you with some insight on Mission style furniture. As always, if you have any questions feel free to reach us by phone or e-mail



The Amish House