When it comes time to purchase furniture for a new home, it helps to understand the different styles. A little research can go a long way to helping you narrow down the look that best fits your taste and lifestyle. Once you know a particular style appeals to you, it actually makes shopping for a living room or bedroom set significantly easier.
Traditional style furniture harkens back to what was designed in Europe (and later America) between the 1600s to the 1900s. Some of the looks are quite ornate like the Queen Anne style of the early 1700s or the Louis XVI style designed for Marie Antoinette in the later half of the same century. Dark elaborately carved wood was used extensively.
In America, some furniture lines were much simpler. The Pennsylvania Dutch style, for example, brought forward the clean lines from Germany while adding richness through painted folk designs. By the 1800s, though, American Empire was popular with a revival of French influence.
Modern furniture is an offshoot of the modernist movement in thought, art, and literature. The focus of modernism was to break ties with the past and experiment with new styles. Modern furniture therefore is characterized by geometric rather than organic shapes, a black, white and gray color palette and new textiles like vinyl and plastic.
Contemporary furniture is just what’s popular today. It is a term often used interchangeably with modern, but modern furniture doesn’t change (because it’s a style from the early 1900s) while contemporary style does change based on current design trends. Current trends include sustainably sourced material, layering textures, Art Deco influences and the mixing of modern and traditional elements.
Shopping for furniture can be overwhelming if you don’t narrow down the type of furniture that you’re searching for. Once you’ve decided which style you do (or don’t like), picking out a new sofa should be a breeze.