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Mission Style Furniture vs. Shaker Style Furniture: What is the Difference?

In selecting different options of Amish furniture, the terms “Mission Style” and “Shaker Style” are sure to be ones that you will constantly come across. While it is commonly known that authentic Amish furniture is handmade from solid wood, understanding the different styles can help in navigating all the different options of furniture available and picking the best piece that suites your style and home decor. While both Shaker style and Mission style share many commonalities, it is the history and detailing of the two that sets them apart.

What is Mission Style Furniture?

With its straight lines, rectilinear forms, and flat slatted features, Mission style furniture reflects a merging of traditional and contemporary styling. A style that grew from the Arts and Crafts Movement of the 19th century, the Mission style took many of its design cues from the American Southwest and the rustic styling of today’s Mission furniture continue this tradition. In its early beginnings, American furniture designer Gustav Stickley was credited as creating one of the first American Mission Furniture lines, but Stickley did not agree as he felt that the term “Mission” mischaracterized his furniture.
Mission style furniture can be identified by its focus on vertical and horizontal lines and solid, squared posts for legs. While not a definitive trait, Mission furniture is commonly made from oak and quarter sawn oak. Authentic, Amish made Mission Furniture is hand-made, accentuates vertical and horizontal lines, and other times features exposed joinery.

What is Shaker Style Furniture?

While some may argue that Mission and Shaker styles are similar, the history of the Shaker style pre-dates Mission by almost 150 years. In the late 1700’s, as America’s colonies were forming and uniting to under a new nation, a group of religious colonists known as Shakers began to settle American soil. This deeply religious sect believed in a simple, humble, and self-sufficient life and maintained a strict moral code of conduct. These lifestyle traits carried themselves over to the furniture built by the group, which became known as the Shaker style.
With a focus on utility and function, Shaker style furniture was typically made of pine, maple, cherry, or whatever wood was local to the sect. Any type of ornate design or detailing was seen as deceitful or self-serving by the group, so Shaker furniture is devoid of any type of elaborate decoration. Modern Shaker furniture continues most of the Shaker tradition, with gentle curves, tapered posts, wooden drawer pulls, and tapered legs.
While different in styling, Shaker and Mission furniture styles both exhibit a close attention to craftsmanship and durability. Both feature clean lines and solid-wood construction that can be accented with any number of natural finishes.
At Online Amish Furniture, we offer authentic Amish furniture options in a variety of styles including Shaker and Mission. All of our furniture is handmade from solid wood by Amish craftsmen in Ohio and Indiana. Shop our collection today!

Amish furniture construction methods really do produce unmistakable results. Compare a mass-produced piece to a similar Amish piece, and you’ll find yourself converted. What’s not to love?

As you can see, Amish furniture truly represents a great value—and not just from a financial perspective. When you buy Amish furniture online, you’re buying for yourself, your children’s children, and the environment in general. Why Amish furniture? The real question is, why not?

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