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The Mission Style Bedroom: History & More

The Mission style, also known as the Craftsman style, has been around for over a century. While it has been a highly sought-after style for many pieces of furniture, Mission-style bedroom sets are the most notable. There is a rich history that has led this kind of furniture to have a beautiful and minimalistic look today. When you take a closer look at the style’s background and quality, you might just fall in love with it.

How did Mission furniture come to be?

Right at the end of the 19th century, British influence brought the Arts & Crafts movement into America. This movement was dedicated to promoting quality furniture that differed from the ornate and mass-produced furniture from Victorian factories. A desire for simplistic and sturdy furniture spread quickly as craftsmen and designers began to look for inspiration. During the turn of the century, wood furniture built during the Spanish Missions was discovered in California. This furniture was simplistically built but strong. It wasn’t long before people began to use these qualities in their own designs. (Some resemblance to furniture dating back to the medieval period has been noted in various Mission pieces as well.) 

Gustav Stickley, a German-American interior designer, was one of the biggest names to pioneer the popularity of the Mission style.  It became a signature look in his magazine “The Craftsman” (hence the secondary name for the Mission style). Gustav, like many in the movement, believed in embracing furniture that had a clear purpose and would celebrate the art of a craftsman. Soon, well-made, plain, and functional Mission furniture swept the nation. It proved that beauty went beyond elaborate designs, and was found when the heart was placed into the product.

Mission furniture today

As all things come and go in waves, the Mission style made a reappearance in the 1980s. The designs that came from this resurgence are the ones that we often still see more of today compared to those of the early 20th century. Amish-built Mission style of furniture is among the most prized on the antique furniture market today. Its simplicity, materials, and robust construction mean that each build lasts for generations. Thankfully, Amish craftsmen are still building this legendary furniture, so you and your family can purchase brand-new bedroom sets that harken back to simpler times.

What is a Mission Style bedroom?

Want to know how you can identify Mission-style bedroom sets on your own? While not all Mission-style builds may have the words “Craftsman” or “Mission” in their name, it’s not hard to spot them. Mission pieces are built on simplicity.

Typically, the headboard and footboard of the bed will have a low profile. These boards may be completely solid wood, but some Mission beds have vertical slats or panels. Each piece of furniture is made of hardwood, such as oak. The shape of each piece will be built to give a clean, vertical/horizontal, and parallel appearance. The straight lines create easy eye movement and complement the wood grains. Another common trait of Mission furniture is exposed “mortise and tenon joints” and pegs. This gives added strength to the furniture because the builders don’t need to heavily rely on glue or nails as fasteners.

Exposed mortise joints

It’s easy to add any type of décor you like to decorate your bedroom and complement the simplicity of the Mission style. The real hardwood and rich stains make all Mission furniture durable and wear-resistant. That means that the bedroom set you buy today will still be providing a comfortable night’s rest for you, your children, their children, and their children’s children.

Mission furniture has got qualities that everyone is bound to like. Even if you don’t want an entire section of your home to have Mission furniture, give yourself the chance to check out some antiques and new pieces. You might find beauty in the simplicity and strong build that suits your home perfectly.


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