The Mission Style

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The Mission Style

Mission furniture is a style of furniture that originated in the late 19th Century. It traces its origins to a chair made by A.J. Forbes around 1894 for San Francisco's Swedenborgian Church. The term mission furniture was first popularized by Joseph P. McHugh of New York, a furniture manufacturer and retailer who copied these chairs and offered a line of stylistically related furnishings by 1898. The word mission references the Spanish missions throughout colonial California, though the design of most Mission Style furniture owed little to the original furnishings of these missions. The style became increasingly popular following the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901. The style was popularly associated with the American Arts and Crafts movement.

Mission style is a design that emphasizes simple horizontal and vertical lines and flat panels that accentuate the grain of the wood (often oak, especially quartersawn oak). People were looking for relief after the excesses of Victorian times and the influx of mass-produced furniture from the Industrial Revolution. The furniture maker Gustav Stickley produced Arts and Crafts furniture often referred to as being in the Mission Style, though Stickley dismissed the term as misleading. This was Plain Oak Furniture that was upright, solid, and suggestive of entirely handcrafted work, though in the case of Stickley and his competitors, was constructed within a factory by both machine and hand working techniques.

Using mission-style furnishings will not make your home look outdated; instead, the furniture’s texture and finish offer a warm, natural feel. It's simple, linear design melds with virtually any decorating theme, especially when complemented with a color scheme that enhances the finish. The rustic look makes mission furniture fit particularly well in craftsman-style homes, bungalows and rooms with exposed beams and/or stone accents.

Here at Plain & Simple, We have many different pieces of furniture that are made in the Missions style. From our Mission style bed frames to  Mission style dining tables, the sleek and simple design speaks to its rich history and beauty in the home. Stop by our shop and be inspired by the mission style. It may be just what’s right for your next interior house project.