A mission-style kitchen table made from solid wood is considered one of the best kitchen tables that deserve a particular spot in every modern home. As a rectangular tabletop, it has served families well for everyday use, from board games to use as a new dining table in brown maple and other color scheme configurations.
Functional, simple, and durable at the same time, Gustav Stickley pioneered mission-style furniture during the latter part of the 19th century. Gustav was a furniture maker, publisher, and architect. His inspiration was through furniture from the California Franciscan missions during that period. The style enjoyed a remarkable rise in popularity from years 1900 to 1915.
For a period, the style disappeared before becoming trendy in the United States during the 1980s. Since then, it has retained its popularity thanks to its elegance and sturdiness. A new generation of homeowners, faced with rising costs of living, were turning to long-lasting furniture or thrift shops to upcycle older, sturdier furniture.
Mission Style was also a reflection of the belief of Stickley that every furniture piece must have a clear and definite purpose. Mission style, also known as Craftsman style, has become suitable for many homeowners. For modern style homes, the style’s versatile function makes the table top the perfect size for a dinner table and game table. Given a natural wood configuration, it is perfect for an earthy complement to natural interior home decor. Rectangular dining is the best way to enjoy good family comfort in a spacious kitchen or dining room area.
I am going to describe the character and short history of mission-style furniture. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed researching and writing about it.
Table of Contents
- History: Mission Style Furniture
- Traits and Characteristics of Mission Dining Tables
- Mission Style Dining Room Table: A Great Addition for Homes
- Where and How to Use Mission Furniture in Your Home
- Frequently Asked Questions
History: Mission Style Furniture
Mission style’s origin was a reaction against the excessive style of the Victorian age and the mediocre and cheap quality of mass-produced furniture that grew in popularity during the industrial revolution. Perhaps, it was the extravagant dinner parties too. 😉
The furniture style also merged stylistically with the era’s arts and crafts movement, whose goal was to celebrate and glorify individual craftsmen’s artifacts and superior works. You can see a lot of this today with woodworking shops on the rise or modern farming collectives that develop healthy, inspired foods.
The arts and crafts movement fought against the cruelty of the growing industrial complex that transformed the craftsman into nothing but a cog in mass production’s wheels.
The burgeoning of the arts and crafts movement influenced mission-style furniture, which was important. It meant workers didn’t feel like they were drowning inside a factory, and it allowed them to be proud of their handmade products. Since the craftsman concept also rose while the mission furniture enjoyed significant fame, these plain pieces with versatile functions were remarkably well-made.
Traits and Characteristics of Mission Dining Tables
What do mission style tables look like, and what are the key traits and characteristics of the famous mission style in general?
Visible mortise and tenon joints are among the main highlights of mission-style furniture. These exposed joints add substantial durability and strength to the furniture piece, and it is also a beautiful feature of the table, for example.
Even though machines made Stickley furniture, it still had a touch of being handcrafted. This effect was made possible by emphasizing the construction details from exposed joints, visible tenons or ends of wood pieces, and the use of pegs and pins as fasteners instead of glue or nails.
These particular techniques, most traceable back to the medieval era, gave the pieces a pre-industrial Revolution artisanal look. However, factory-made parts were cheaper than those pieces that were handmade.
Parallel and Vertical Slats
Parallel and vertical slats, known as stiles, are also standard features of mission furniture that give the pieces a strong appearance. This styling also produces the subtle illusion of lightness that strikes the perfect balance between its heavy and masculine appearance.
There is very minimal ornamentation added to these pieces, and this beauty is noticeable in the style’s spare and elegant simplicity.
Vertical and Horizontal Lines
Straight vertical and horizontal clean lines are some of the defining elements of the furniture style, together with the flat panels and planes that highlight the wood’s natural grain.
Mission Style Dining Room Table: A Great Addition for Homes
What makes mission tables such an excellent fit for today’s homes? Here are just some reasons why these tables will look right at home in your kitchen or dining area.
The mission furniture pieces have a unique, authentic feel to them. As Stickley envisioned, they can dignify their surroundings and lend a subtle, stylish feel to any environment. You will find many modern examples.
Simply put, a dining room set composed of an Amish dining table of timeless mission style is built to last forever because of its incredible sturdiness. You can expect these tables to endure the heavy wear of life in most kitchens. They can also take a severe beating, especially if there are lots of activities in your kitchen or your kids are a bit naughty.
The simplicity and strength of this dining room furniture make it suitable for modern homes today.
Amish furniture has many excellent examples and formats from a stylish leg table to a pedestal table that can be tucked near your living room corner with plants, display books, or serving ware. A trestle table is an example of sturdiness and product weight. Made of strong, heavy natural wood, this table is supported by the bottom of each leg, (anywhere from two to three, dependent on style) horizontal beams, and a rigid frame. This table will last a long time and serve many homeownership needs.
A perfect example is the Liberty Furniture Industries Willowrun 7 Piece Trestle Table Set in Rustic White. This is a delightfully delicious arrangement that fits perfectly into any kitchen or dining room space that oozes in natural color ornamentation with a modern, contemporary look.
In line with the missionary zeal of Stickley, furniture of solid hardwood construction that is locally sourced and made is sustainable to its core.
Wood is considered a renewable resource, not to mention that it is also the most carbon-neutral and climate-friendly furniture material that you can find today. The long-lasting hardwood furniture pieces can even function as an effective carbon sink.
Another fantastic characteristic of wood is that it can live several lives. You can easily give solid wood pieces made from oak veneers a new breath of life through upcycling, reusing, recycling, and refinishing the original work.
Where and How to Use Mission Furniture in Your Home
Using mission-style décor to outfit your home goes beyond buying several solid oak furniture pieces, and it also needs to promote a sense of simplicity, calm, and beauty.
No one should see this as a surprise, considering that the driving forces behind the start of the movement include artisan integrity and the yearning for humankind to return to the basics of nature. For example, minimalism and biophilic design are important themes many homeowners embrace today.
Although you can use this style in almost all rooms in your home, the dining space, bedroom, and living are the most common areas where you can incorporate it. Here are some tips on achieving the perfect look of mission style.
The dining room is where the mission style truly shines and stands out. A stunning dining set complete with rustic dining tables and kitchen chairs that exude old-school charm can give you warm and fuzzy memories of fun family bonding and gatherings for the many years to come.
Mission dining tables are available in numerous variations, such as leg dining tables, live edge dining tables, traditional leg tables, double pedestal, pedestal tables, and trestle bottom. Entertaining is also made easy with drop leaves that give you extra seating space.
The addition of a hutch can also provide a spot to store and display your dishes and, at the same time, offer a place you can use as a serving buffet. Every piece you use can help you move a step closer to creating that dining room of your dreams.
If you want your living room to have a homey and comfortable feeling, mission style can help you achieve precisely that. The style’s robust nature lends itself well to regular use, making the museum familiar with more ornate decorating styles.
Like those made from white oak, wood frame sofas can serve as a gorgeous focal point. You can also use a basic mission coffee table featuring a bottom shelf, flat-panel top, and traditional slats, or opt for a piece with extra cabinets and drawers to give more storage space. Just add console tables, a bookshelf, more dining chairs, and a matching end table to this mix, and you will be good to go.
You can improve the look further with a file cabinet, a stereo cabinet, a conference table, or an entertainment center. With all the options available, building the kind of living room where your whole family can spend time and enjoy it can become a reality.
This Leick Furniture mission 2-drawer coffee table in medium oak is shockingly similar to one my parents had in their own home. I can tell you that it lasted forever and we ultimately donated it to a thrift store when they downsized.
Mission style beds, available in many choices, can be found in physical and online stores. There are beds with a traditional look and natural finish, flat panels, or styles showcasing panels and slats. You can also add dressers or night tables, and you can use a blanket chest for storing extra blankets and sheets.
Frequently Asked Questions
How tall are regular tables?
Regular tables can be as tall as 28 to 32 inches. Also called typical height or standard height tables, this table is most compatible with side chairs, benches, and stools that measure 18 to 23 inches.
How much space do you need around a dining table?
For ample space around your mission dining room table, you will need a clearance space of at least 30 to 36 inches measured from the obstruction closest to it, whether a piece of furniture, door, window, or wall.
How wide should a kitchen table be?
Many rectangular tables have a width of 36 to 40 inches. A dining table set that can seat four must have a length of 48 inches. If you need to seat four to six, choose tables with a length of at least 60 inches. Tables measuring at least 78 inches long can seat six to eight people.
Are all dining tables the same height?
No, not all dining tables have the same table legs and height. However, the standard height of dining tables is around 28 to 30 inches, measured starting from the ground up to the tabletop surface.
A formal dining table must be closer to 30 inches, and informal dining tables must have an average height of 29 inches. Older tables are often lower at about 28 to 29 inches.
What is the most useful height for a dining table?
The best height for dining tables is 28 to 30 inches to function well. There must be adequate clearance space on top of people’s knees who gather at the table to eat and chat.
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John Thompson, Writer and Commentator, EvolutDesign.com
Soldier, writer, researcher, consultant, and bon vivant, John Thompson is the author of numerous columns, op-eds, reports, briefs, short stories and books as the “Felicity Files” and “Spirit Over Steel: A Chronology of the Second World War” (version III). Often found hunched over his computer, or in his garden, and now often found doing both. His diverse talent has led him to work in industries and projects such as energy, security and home construction and renovation. To see the entire team at Evolutdesign.com, visit Our Team page.