Welcome to our gallery of the types of furniture styles including helpful tips to getting the perfect interior design.
After you have found your perfect home, there is one more important element that you need to consider: What types of furniture styles are you going to decorate in.
Your choice of furniture style isn’t just a utilitarian question. Sure, you need a bed in a bedroom, a dining table in the dining room and so on, but the types of furniture styles available also work to create a certain atmosphere. So the right type of furniture style needs to match your idea of how you want a room to look and feel.
There are three major classifications of furniture style: contemporary, modern and traditional and in this post, we are going to take a closer look at all three.
Table of Contents
Contemporary Furniture Style
Contemporary is characterized by solid colors, sleek lines, neutral colors and various materials such as metal and glass. Contemporary is modern, clutter-free, sleek, sophisticated, airy and light.
This style loves big open spaces and light colors that makes even smaller spaces look bigger. There is space to move around and has that airy feel. Neutral colors cover most of the space, and colors are incorporated into small details such as lighting, pillows, art and flowers.
Light is also a big element in contemporary style where there is plenty of natural light as well as artificial ones in the form of lamps and lighting fixtures.
The coastal design is inspired by the ocean. The beach is a huge element in this design, which gives that breezy, casual, and holiday-feel to the space. This style incorporates cool colors like blue, green, white and purple. There are also different textures that compliment the style like shells, sand, wood, ropes, wicker and glass. The nautical look of blue and white are very popular with this style. The overall feeling of the coastal design is relaxed, calm and lazy.
The transitional style combines traditional and contemporary design together to create a cohesive blend of classic and sophistication. Using simple color schemes, straight lines, soft upholstery and the latest materials the transitional design feels refined and comfortable at the same time.
This furniture style arose in England in the early 1980s. The idea behind the Shabby Chic furniture style is to have a lot of vintage furniture that is made more contemporary with the used of arty paint effects. This type of furniture style also favors a neutral color pallet combined with Rustic furniture style effects.
This furniture style originated in Scandinavia and rose in popularity during the early part of the 20th century. Scandinavian Contemporary furniture follows three tenets: functionality, minimalism, and simplicity. They are typically utilitarian in design and often made with natural wood.
Modern Furniture Style
These are more recent styles, developed without any real adherence to a certain time period. They tend to blur the lines between artistic and functional and often combine elements from several traditional types of furniture styles.
The Modern furniture style was developed during the modernist movement of the 1900s. It uses a monochromatic color palette and is often made of “modern” material such as steel, vinyl, plastic, and leather. The furniture is sleek and simple with clean lines and basic forms. Tables are often simple like wood or metal, but are often decorated with glass for a polished look.
The Minimalist furniture style is a combination of traits taken from Scandinavian Contemporary and Arts and Craft furniture designs and combines it with the aesthetics of the Modern style.
The result is a simple yet colorful style that is fond of utilitarian pieces with round shapes and no edges. No gaudy or fancy ornamentation here.
The Retro furniture style is a modern design that has elements that seek to imitate the fashion trends of the past. Retro furniture tends to incorporate colorful design elements from pop culture to create a whimsical feel.
The mid-century design style was a movement that originated in the United states roughly between the years from 1945 to 1965. The style covers furniture, architecture, and graphic design. It features the use of many different types of materials combined with clean lines and subtle curves.
Furniture in this style embraces the minimalist aesthetic and seek to create a relaxed yet sophisticated feel. It likes to feature sleek silhouettes combined with soft elements like plush fabric. It incorporates a lot of metals in its design features.
Traditional Furniture Style
Traditional furniture styles are influenced by historical and classical furniture styles. These are styles that became popular centuries ago and have remained so to this day. The Traditional furniture style has traits of the Queen Anne, Sheraton, and Chippendale furniture style. It features straight lines, tapered legs, and lots of graceful ornamentation.
The furnishings from the traditional design style are mostly revivals from the 18th century English, 19th century neo-classic, French country and British Colonial. These furnishings give that classic feeling of a space that never goes out of style. This style is all about comfort, warmth, familiarity, and predictable order.
Balance is achieved by combining small and large furnishings that serve multiple purpose in a space. Warm colors are often used for traditional style such as cream, gold, gray, and brown. There are florals, stripes, and plaids that add texture and interest.
This furniture style combines a lot of elements from traditional furniture styles that have been popular throughout early US history. So it has traits from the Jacobean, William and Mary, Queen Anne, Pennsylvania Dutch, and Chippendale furniture styles.
Furniture that is classified as being in the Antique style is usually about a century old. Most antique furniture is wood and uses ornate and unique details.
Vintage is similar to antique in the sense that they are “old”. Vintage furniture, however, is younger than Antique. If it is 50 to 100 years old, it’s classified as Vintage. Older than that, it’s Antique.
The vintage style stays true to its name. The pieces used are from a particular era. Vintage pieces are the treasures of flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, salvage shops and antique stores. However, vintage pieces need care and one should know how to maintain these one of a kind pieces.
The vintage look is not limited to old pieces of furniture or décor. Designers often add new pieces as well such as lighting fixtures, carpets, or art to achieve the overall desired look. Vintage often times invokes a sense of nostalgia from both admirers and owners.
Vintage furniture is sturdily made but is also characterized by an artistic flair. The vintage style usually puts purpose into account. Pieces are not only selected for their look, but also for their purpose. Most vintage pieces are furbished to provide another purpose. Old cabinets can be refurbished into side tables. Old doors can be made into dining tables.
The vintage look uses low-key primary colors such as beige, gray and cream. This style is often described as elegant and romantic. However, not all vintage looks are historical. Some furnishings can be artificially aged to appear older and used.
The Rustic furniture style is characterized by its use of natural materials. By using wood, hide, linen, and cotton, Rustic furniture seeks to bring a sense of warmth and coziness to a room. See more rustic living room designs here.
The Jacobean furniture style originated during the English Early Renaissance that occurred from around 1600-1690.
This style is characterized by the use of straight lines and dark finishes. A common design feature of Jacobean furniture is the use of ornate carvings as decorative touches.
William and Mary
This furniture style rose in popularity during the period of 1690 to 1735. Two design features that are common in furniture done in the William and Mary style are that they have trumpet turned legs that often end in Spanish ball feet.
This style is heavily influenced by both Dutch and Chinese furniture designs. Perhaps the most striking example of these influences is the fact that they often feature Oriental lacquer work.
This style was popular in the 18th century, when William III and Queen Anne reigned in England. The Queen Ann furniture style is known for having cabriole legs with either pad or drake feet.
Fiddle-backed chairs were popular during this period, so were bat-wing drawer pulls and these two types of furniture styles have remained characteristics of the Queen Anne style even today.
This furniture style rose in popularity during the period of 1760-1789, during the reign of Louis XVI and just before the French Revolution did away with the monarchy. Despite being named for the French king, they style was actually designed for the queen, Marie Antoinette.
This furniture style is characterized by straight lines with Greco-Roman influences. It use a lot of classical motifs such and fluting. It also features richly carved detailing.
The French have always been known to be masters of style, and this does not exclude interior design. Their interior design is filled with gold, bronze, antiques, textured fabrics, and tasteful art. Popular materials used in French style furniture are walnut, mahogany, oak, rosewood, maple, copper, brass, mother of pearl and cast iron. Furniture can be sophisticated, bold and even richly adorned with gilded features.
Over the years, French interior design has grown with influences from other styles such as country, eclectic, and contemporary. The French love classic designs that never go out of style. They also love to display their antiques and heirlooms. Colors are everywhere from flowers to drapes and to furniture. Different textures can be found throughout the space.
This furniture style rose in popularity during the early 18th and 19th century in America. The Pennsylvania Dutch were early immigrants to America from Germany, so this furniture style has marked Germanic influences.
The Pennsylvanian Dutch were very religious and counted austerity and simple living as virtues. So it’s not surprising that the furniture style they popularized is very utilitarian with simple, straight lines. Despite being utilitarian, however, Pennsylvanian Dutch furniture is also very colorful and adorned with folk paintings.
This style role in popularity in 1750-1790 when the furniture made by a London cabinet-maker called Thomas Chippendale began to catch the eye of the rich and aristocratic.
Chippendale furniture incorporates elements from the Queen Anne style and has Gothic, Chinese, and French influences. Style designs that are distinctly “Chippendale” are the use of ball and claw feet, cabriole legs, and the addition of a broken pediment scroll on top.
Around the same time that Hepplewhite furniture was popular, another English furniture designer was rising in prominence. From around 1780-1820, some of the most popular furniture pieces were those designed by George Sheraton.
Sheraton loved simplicity and straight lines and this can be seen in the Sheraton furniture style. He also used contrasting veneers but tapered legs are only an occasional design feature.
This furniture first became popular in the United States back in 1765-1800. This furniture style took its name from the London-based designer George Hepplewhite.
Hepplewhite furniture has Neoclassical influences and a very delicate appearance. It uses a lot of tapered legs, inlay, and contrasting veneers.
This furniture style arose at the same time as the Hepplewhite and Sheraton furniture style and is considered a combination of both.
The Federal furniture style uses a lot of graceful, straight lines. Like the styles it emulates, it uses contrasting veneers as a decorative touch. It also uses a lot of neoclassical motifs.
This furniture style was popular in 19th century US. It was supposed to be inspired by the French furniture styles. The American Empire furniture style is known for its use of classical ornamentation and course carvings. Furniture in this style characteristically has a dark finish.
As the term describes, Asian types of furniture styles gathers inspiration from the various countries in Asia. The continent is vast, and the culture is rich, so there are so many ways to incorporate Asian design into your space. Asian design has wooden elements like bamboo and rattan, rich colors like reds and yellows, calm colors like white and green, cultural characters like dragons, and religious influences like the Buddha and Hindu gods.
Japanese minimalist design showcases serenity and tranquility. The furniture is clean and simple. There are less decorations so the space looks bigger. The walls are in neutral colors of white, gray or brown. Splashes of color can be found among pillows, vases, or art.
This furniture style was developed during the English Victorian period, thus it is named for Queen Victoria. The Victorian period was the beginning of the industrial revolution so Victorian furniture also has the distinction of being the first furniture style that was able to take advantage of manufacturing.
This furniture style features heavy proportions and a dark finish. It has a Romantic influences like elaborate ornamentation.
Arts and Craft
This furniture style arose during the Arts and Craft movement of 1880-1910. This movement looked to recapture the art and craftsmanship of good that were produced before the Industrial Revolution and the rise of manufacturing. The Arts and Craft furniture style is characteristically utilitarian and simple in design.
Art deco is characterized by streamlined and geometric shapes. This style became popular in the 1920s and 1930s. The term art deco originates from the French phrase “art decoratifs”, which explains where this style first appeared before World War I. Art deco is the picture of luxury and modernity. It is a combination of different and contradictory styles. Coming shortly after the Arts and Craft movement came to an end, Art Deco eschewed the utilitarian simplicity of the previous movement.
Art Deco furniture uses bold and vibrant colors and geometric shapes. Art deco pieces include cubism, stainless steel, plastic, and mirrors. The style loves to incorporate “unusual” materials such as metals, exotic woods, and inlays made of ivory. Art deco is not only found in interior design, but also in painting, sculpture, jewelry, furniture, and art.
Choosing an Interior Design Furniture Style
Interior design makes a space more organized, safer, beautiful, and effective for its purpose. Contrary to popular belief, interior design is not only putting furniture together in a space. Interior design is both an art and a science.
The combination of colors in a space sets its mood. The color wheel is used to determine which colors go together best to achieve a certain feeling in a space. Determining the appropriate furniture will make the space look more spacious no matter the size. It also solves storage problems with small spaces by integrating furniture with multiple purposes.
The decor of a space put together by a designer personalizes it and makes it comfortable for the owner. It gives the space a sense of belonging, comfort, and security.
There are numerous interior design styles available, and each one speaks differently to people. Choosing a design style definitely helps you and your designer pick out what you want in your space.
At the end of the day, the types of furniture styles that you choose depends on your personal taste. The furniture style needs to match your idea of what you want the room to feel like. You want your room to feel like a place that you can happily and comfortably spend a lot of time in and the furniture style you choose can enhance that feeling.
For more related designs check out our types of chairs gallery.