What's Your Style?

Exploring furniture designs and what makes a piece fall into which category

Modern, contemporary, rustic, traditional...the list goes on and on. And here, all along, you've thought furniture was simply furniture. Not so fast my friend! Let's explore a little bit about each style and figure out which category fits your personality the best. Why is this important? Well, imagine for a moment, that feeling you get when you walk into someones house. Let's pretend that someone is your grandmother. Now, picture the sofas, the chairs, bookcases, picture frames, rugs, and art. These items all scream "GRANNY", right? That's her style. It speaks to what she loves, what her daily life looks like, and what she wants to portray to others visiting her home. So as we delve into these different styles, consider who you are, what you love, what your life looks like day in and day out, and what ambience you wish for your home to reflect.


Modern design doesn't have to be space age or something you'd see on an episode of the Jetsons. In fact, modern furniture design is taken from the design period of 1920-1950. The modern design style will always remain true to itself, and does not sway into any other design categories. Modern furniture should encompass the feeling of minimalism. If you feel that the designs are too stark feeling, then at least you know modern furniture design isn't your thing! Move on. And for the rest of you who love the simplistic design aesthetic that modern furniture styles offer, read on! You can easily determine if furniture is of a modern design based on the simplicity of the lines and lack of additional adornments and embellishments. Modern furniture is straightforward and clean looking. Check out the examples below:


Now, don't get it twisted. Modern and contemporary design are often confused with each other, even by other retailers in the industry; however, they are not the same. Your'e shocked, I know! Allow us to explain. Contemporary furniture, unlike modern, is always changing. Contemporary design is many times considered to be eclectic, as it borrows many characteristics from all different types of styles. Contemporary itself means "of the moment", and as such, designs are ever changing. Contemporary furniture likely will make use of cutting edge fabrics, materials, and methods of creation. A great example of contemporary material would be microfiber. Today, microfiber is all the rage in furniture due to it's tightly woven fibers that help to create a superbly durable upholstery that's especially important with today's busy households. You would not see microfiber on a vintage or modern piece of furniture. Contemporary pieces should be totally functional and is usually mass produced, which ensures attainability for the general public.


The term retro means, "to look back". The genre of retro furniture should be thought of as those that resemble and achieve design similarity to specific design periods in the past, likely the 50's, 60's, 70's, or more recently, even the 80's style furniture. Retro differs from vintage or antique, as it is a newly made piece that is paying homage to the past styles by, in essence, stealing from a specific design style. Retro furnishings typically will involve a style that was uber popular at one point in time, had seen better days, and now is looked back on almost as a nostalgic piece. Shag rugs are a great example of this. In the 60's and 70's, you may have seen a super stylish home's floors adorned in shag carpet. Then there came a time when it was deemed horrendous. Now, you'll see beautiful renditions of shag carpets in throw rugs in some of the most stylish homes around.


Now things are really getting complicated! While the term retro is usually used very loosely, mid-century modern is a very specific design aesthetic. And even more confusing, even if a furniture piece was created during the mid-century period, it doesn't mean it would be considered a mid-century modern design. So, what exactly allows a piece to receive the mid-century modern designation? There's a few tell-tale design qualities that would give a piece such a distinction. Super clean lines will be the frame of mid-century pieces. Mid-Century pieces are unfussy and create a distinctly clean and organized look. Numerous materials are utilized, such as wood, glass, metal, or leathers. Many times designs were created using two different and contrasting materials such as wood and glass to create a unique look all its own.


Industrial furniture items have really had their moment lately. Industrial furniture tends to feature metal finishes, borders, studs, and raw design. Think raw wood and metal piping like designs. Many items tend to be masculine in nature.


Transitional styling gives you the best of all worlds! Think mixing classic with traditional to get the perfect blend of sophistication and glamor. Transitional designs primarily remain neutral and toned down in color, but mix high textured designs and upholsteries. With transitional styling, feel free to mix together both straight lined furniture with more traditional ornate framing. The look should neither be overly feminine or masculine and should give off a clean not cluttered vibe.


Traditional furniture design offers an antique look to furniture with the way it approaches the ornate designs in carved woods with rich fabrics and designs. Many items feature claw or intricate scrolled designs and inlays.


Many times, the rustic furniture designs will display an organic and natural eye pleasing design. Designs will highlight the natural grains of woods, with leather, and sometimes various metals as embellishment.