FURNITURE STYLES: A GUIDE
A Brief History of Traditional Furniture Styles & Types
Picture this: You’ve curated the perfect Pinterest board filled with furniture styles you love but don’t know what to call that style.
Our quick guide to traditional furniture styles and contemporary design can help you put a name to your favorites. And that can help you surround yourself with even more of what you love.
A Brief History of Traditional Furniture Styles
Furniture has been a mark of wealth and luxury for centuries, from the Jacobean style of the 1600s through the Scandinavian contemporary style of the 1900s. Here’s an overview of furniture styles — and key characteristics — leading up to the 21st century:
Straight lines, ornate carvings, dark finish.
Dutch and Chinese influences, trumpet turned legs, Spanish ball feet, Oriental lacquer work.
Cabriole legs, pad or drake feet, fiddle-backed chairs, bat-wing-shaped drawer pulls.
American and Germanic influences, colorful folk painting on cases.
Neoclassical style; straight lines; classical motifs like fluting; richly carved details.
Classified into Gothic, French, and Chinese influences; more elaborately developed from the Queen Anne style; cabriole legs; ball and claw feet; broken pediment scroll top on tall cases.
Neoclassical style, delicate appearance, tapered legs, contrasting veneers and inlay.
Combination of Hepplewhite and Sheraton styles, gracefully straight lines, tapered legs, inlay.
Neoclassical style, delicately straight lines, contrasting veneers, neoclassical motifs, and ornamentation.
Classical ornamentation, course carvings, dark finish.
Heavy proportions, dark finish, elaborate ornamentation.
Simple, utilitarian design.
Simple utilitarian design made with natural wood.
Today’s Furniture Design Styles
While you can find historical styles in specialty stores, today’s styles are very different. Over the centuries, furniture fashion has deviated from ornate, classical looks to contemporary, bold styles that blur the lines between artistry and functionality.
If you like any of the styles we just described, you might like antique furniture. Pieces must be at least 100 years old. They’re typically made from wood and have unique, ornate details that allow dealers to easily date
Combining the best of Queen Anne, Chippendale, and Sheraton styles, traditional furniture typically features graceful ornamentation, straightened lines, and tapered legs
Vintage pieces capture the best details from a certain era. Pieces are younger than antiques but may be decades old. Often bought used.
Rustic furniture brings warmth and coziness home. This style is typically made with timber or other natural materials, including hide, cotton, and linen.
This Bassett look has a unique, handcrafted look. Solid wood furniture with distinctive grains and stunning finishes are future heirlooms; live-edge metal, stone, and leather blend rich and rustic.
Characterized by geometric and angular shapes, art deco style unites funky patterns with materials like chrome, glass, and mirrors.
People may think retro and vintage are similar. But retro furniture is typically defined by more modern designs that imitate past fashion trends.
Modern style came out of the early 1900s modernist movement. It’s best known for its use of monochromatic color palettes and materials like steel, vinyl, leather, and plastic.
This look has a minimalist aesthetic and a relaxed, sophisticated vibe. Sleek silhouettes pair with deep plush seating; metals like champagne brass and brushed nickel pair with oak finishes.
Contemporary style refers to furniture that is popular today.
Refined rustic look mixes rustic finishes and familiar country forms with sophisticated styles and neutral color palettes. Generously scaled, distinctive silhouettes convey a luxurious yet casual and approachable feel.
This look is fresh, livable take on boho chic, industrial and mid-century modern designs. Weathered finishes, reclaimed wood, and metal mix with slim silhouettes and custom upholstery. The result — layers of texture and loads of style.
50 DIY Decorating Tips Everybody Should Know
Everybody gets the urge now and again to totally revamp their living space. But the process can be crazy expensive and time-consuming—but with a few DIY decor changes, you can give your home a completely new look without going broke.
The trick to successfully updating your home without spending a fortune is thinking outside the box. For instance, painting a door in lacquer black will absolutely add an instant dose of glamour of to your home, and sometimes just changing your light bulbs can make a world of difference.
To that end, we’ve compiled 50 of our favorite DIY decorating tips. Because seriously, there’s no excuse for living in a space that doesn’t feel like home.
Add a grid of clean, white frames displaying black-and-white photos—a cheap trick for adding a touch of glamour to empty walls.
Make a narrow room appear wider with a long shelf that can also double as a mantel to display various objects of your choice.
Add a mirror into your space, which will instantly make a room look bigger reflecting the surrounding colors and patterns. Don’t forget you can always change the frame.
For an instant update add a large sisal rug to your space, which will give it an instant modern and clean feel. Looking to do something more glam? Add a shag rug or a zebra print.
Revamp your sofa without spending a fortune changing up your accent pillows.
Yes, your closet deserves some attention too! Paint the interior of a closet a fun color for a nice surprise when you open it up.
Painting a room with clean bold stripes will instantly update it.
Wall colors set the tone of a room. Looking to add a dose of cool? Paint your doors black and the trim white.
Upgrade your light fixtures with a mix of finishes like antique brass hardware.
An interesting DIY decorating tip: Drop cloths make great DIY slip covers. They look like old homespun linen, but cost a fraction of the price.
Instead of painting walls one flat hue, paint the bottom one shade and the top another.
Organize items like TV remotes and other knick knacks on a pretty tray placed on a coffee table or a side table. You can use a mirror as a tray also pretty and romantic.
Buy an inexpensive paper shade and paint it red, which will add a romantic and flattering touch to any room.
Put pieces in unusual places, like above a door, or in the kitchen or a bathroom, to add some freshness to your space.
Paper the back of a cabinet or bookshelf in wallpaper or even faux-snakeskin for an unexpected decor surprise.
Experiment with different light bulbs in your sconces and chandeliers. For instance, try using clear bulbs, or even a pink tone.
Put votives in old jam jars to create a casual, romantic centerpiece.
Modernize your interiors adding in an acrylic table or modern side tables in chrome.
Decorative ceiling tiles can add texture to a room. Or simply paint a ceiling a different color from the rest of the room.
When wood floors are not in the best condition, paint or stain them.
Instead of spending a fortune renovating a bathroom simply buy new towels, curtains, and a shower curtain to update the space.
Are large books taking over your coffee table? Stack similar-colored ones several feet high so that they become the table.
Lusting after a bar cart but don’t want to spend the money? A side table can become an instant bar station! Place an ice bucket, glasses, and your favorite liquors on it to create the look.
Instead of buying new furniture, reupholster an old chair to give it a completely new look.
Doors are part of your decor too, so why not paint one a glossy black or even pastel pink? It will give your room that instant wow factor.
Get some wicker baskets or nice bowls and fill them with lady apples, pears, or English walnuts to create an easy, elegant centerpiece.
Pot plants in an assortment of vintage ceramics and line them up on a windowsill
Art doesn’t have to be a huge investment. Cut out 20 pages from a favorite book. Buy 20 inexpensive frames and place them side by side in rows on a wall.
Wallpaper your front entry with a bold paper. The first impression is everything.
A Mongolian lamb’s wool throw or a faux fox throw will add instant luxury into your space whether draped over a couch or at the end of a bed.
Spray paint your boring dining room chairs black to instantly transform their look.
The single cheapest makeover solution is adding dimmers throughout your home.
Change out your kitchen cabinet hardware for a brand new look.
Use indoor furniture for an outdoor gathering and bring outdoor furniture inside for an unexpected twist to your living spaces.
Wall decals, which come on sheets like temporary tattoos, are a great and inexpensive way to spruce up a room.
Get creative by stylishly organizing bookshelves by color, rather than size or theme. Or even open a book on the table to a bold beautiful picture matching the décor.
Don’t underestimate the power of flowers. Perk up any room with a bouquet (and when in doubt go straight for white peonies).
Repurpose a chrome bath cart to serve as a side table or a minibar, stocked with drinks and snacks.
Dream of cities you’d like to visit by hanging clocks dedicated to their time zones. This is a particularly great idea for an office.
Have a sequin dress you don’t wear anymore? Remove the sequins and sprinkle them into a vase of flowers. Voila, you’ve got one of the coolest centerpieces around.
Tie shower curtains on with bows, large lucite squares, or anything other than basic metal rings to add personal touches to a bathroom.
Instead of framing all of your family photos, put snapshots in a bowl on a table where everyone can sift through them. Trade old images with new ones every so often.
Mix together that stash of china from your grandmother, and various other plates you’ve collected through the years, alternating with your everyday white, to freshen up your dinner table.
Instead of buying all new bedding, update what you have with a set of monogrammed pillowcases in a bold color that ties into your decor.
Pep up a windowsill with some quirky accessories. Consider painting some small glass bottles and displaying them in the window see the sun glisten through them.
Trace your desired headboard shape on your wall, and apply wallpaper. Voila, you’ve got an impromptu headboard.
Don’t save all your best decor pieces for the living room. Put a fancy lamp or painting in a more unexpected spot, like the kitchen.
Dress up a white bookcase by painting the outside edges in black.
You don’t need to reupholster a couch to give it an update. Use fabric paint to give it a new look and a new color.
Take those old rhinestone necklaces and turn them into curtain ties.
I recommend Including Plants and Flowers in your décor
Being around plants and flowers helps people concentrate better in the home. Studies show that it has a calming influence and people performed better and with greater accuracy.
It can improve memory performance and attention span by twenty percent.
Flowers Generate Happiness.
Accelerates Healing Process.