Furniture has undergone several changes, modifications and improvements throughout the centuries. From crude beginnings of roughly made tables and chairs to the luxurious, leather clad furniture of today, furniture has been made into several styles unique to the makers. The most recent furniture styles are styles that are used in today's homes.
Early American Styles
Early American styles rooted mainly from European styles christened after famous leaders, such as William and Mary and Queen Anne. This style usually includes rigid lines, dark colors and ornate carvings, lending a somewhat Gothic influence. Furniture in this style was usually made from local rather than imported wood. Queen Anne is a more graceful version of the William and Mary style, with more ornate drawer pulls, fiddle back chairs and legs that ended in a drake foot or pad rather than tapering off.
American furniture styles fall mainly into three categories; modern, antique and rustic. Modern style furniture focuses on clean lines and simple design. Furniture is mostly made of chrome, plastic and vinyl. Antique furniture imitates the simple design of colonial period furniture. Antique furniture was created for use, not display, therefore it tends to be more practical and plain. Rustic furniture reflects the area in which the house itself is placed. This type of furniture has a more home-like feel and focuses on handmade pieces.
European styles can be traced mainly to English, French and Italian influences. English styles tend to be plainer than other European styles, depending on the period in which the furniture was used. Dark colors, natural lines, the use of oak, walnut and mahogany and less frills are predominant in this style. French furniture, on the other hand, is almost extravagant in lines, frills and decor. Italian furniture was influenced by 15th century Rome during the renewal period. The use of unusual materials such as marble and stone in furniture making make the Italian style distinct.
Arts and crafts and Art Noveau both focus on art, but the two are almost completely opposite. These styles were in vogue in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The arts and crafts style emphasized straight lines, plain leather as the main materials and darker woods for every day furniture. The style is relatively plain, especially in contrast to the vivid, ornamental styles of Art Noveau. The phrase means "New Art" in French, indicating a newer, more extravagant deviation from arts and crafts.
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