There are plenty of people who love the idea of Amish furniture in their homes even though they aren’t quite sure, exactly, what makes a type of furniture Amish. Think about it…do you really know what kind of furniture is Amish and what kind isn’t? Most people get a sort of vague idea about wooden furniture, but beyond that-how can you tell which furniture is Amish and which furniture is not? To help you out, we thought we would point out some of the distinct styles of Amish furniture that are currently popular and give you a few tricks to identify each style the next time you go furniture shopping:
Mission is one of the most popular styles of Amish furniture. It is easily identified by a flare at the base of the furniture’s legs and doors and drawers that are inset. Often mission style furniture will have doors that are arched. These doors typically have panels that are raised or mullioned glass panels in them. Sometimes mission style furniture has crown molding on the top of it to help complete the furniture’s “look.” With royal mission furniture, however, there is a little more decoration in that the craftsmen will add a diamond shaped design to each piece of furniture they make.
To some, the terms “contemporary” and “Amish” might almost seem oxymoronic. Believe it or not, there are skilled Amish furniture makers who have developed a contemporary feel to an older look. The most noticeable characteristic of contemporary furniture by Amish carpenters is the cleanliness of the design. The lines are easily identified and there are some very unique angles in contemporary Amish designs. Some furniture designers have also been developing a style of contemporary furniture that involves both wood and metal. The wood is usually smooth and most often; the wood has been painted black.
The most obvious characteristic of Shaker Amish furniture is the overall feeling of the furniture being box shaped. Shaker furniture has straight and (usually) square legs that don’t serve much purpose beyond keeping the furniture off of the ground. Shaker furniture doesn’t bother with decorating the legs. Another notable characteristic of shaker furniture is that the doors and drawers are usually inset, while the opening devices are simple. In many cases, the door and drawers are opened with nothing more than a simple wooden knob. Like contemporary furniture, the shaker style is also filled with clean and straight lines.
The Queen Anne style of Amish furniture is most easily identified in the table pieces. A Queen Anne table has an oval shaped table top and the legs have curves that flow naturally with the wood. The tables’ chairs usually have a decorative design cut into them.
These are the four most common styles of Amish furniture, and most of the furniture that has been constructed in the Amish style is either a take on or directly representative of one of the styles mentioned above. Happy furniture hunting!