The Ultimate Guide to Popular Furniture Styles

The Ultimate Guide to Popular Furniture Styles

To create the home of your dreams, you should be aware that the inside is what really counts. The furnishings and design of your home’s interior should complement the exterior so that your home’s design is greater than the sum of its parts. With so many styles of furniture available, however, it can be overwhelming to choose a theme. In fact, if this is your first home, you may not even be aware of what styles are available to you. Allow us to share with you the ultimate guide to popular furniture styles.

Traditional Furniture

Even though we focus on modern furniture, there’s no doubt that the traditional style is a major one. Many homes, especially on the East Coast, are old and feature architecture and designs of prior eras. As such, traditional furniture is popular among some people. It preserves the intricately detailed designs that were signs of status in the past because of the time-consuming craftsmanship each piece required. This regal and ornate style evolved throughout Europe—principally in 18th- and 19th-century England and France—and has since become timeless.

Because traditional furniture has such a rich historical background, using it is a great way to revive period property. It can remind us of an old home’s rich heritage, even if it has undergone renovations over the years. If you have a more modern home but want some traditional elements, you can use intricate traditional pieces as accents to your modern décor. Traditional furniture focuses on symmetry and balance, making it a comfortable and pleasing addition that feels familiar and consistent.

Modern Furniture

The modernist movement came about in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and prioritized abstract thinking and technical innovation. Because designers set their sights toward the future, modern furniture did away with the intricate ornamentation and historical baggage of traditional furniture. With nothing but the core structure, modern designs took on a form-follows-function philosophy that created a sleek and minimalistic look. Clean lines, geometric shapes, and neutral colors reflected the new age of machines and dreams of the future.

The pared-back minimalist design and aesthetics go well with newer, more modern buildings that follow the same philosophy. Together, modern furniture and architecture can create a very Zen-like atmosphere because it lacks visual noise or distractions that would otherwise draw your attention. As such, modern furnishings work particularly well in smaller homes because they help them feel light and open. This creates an orderly, fuss-free environment that’s still elegant and pleasing to the eye.

Mid-Century Modern Furniture

Arising in the post-war America of the 20th century, the mid-century modern style took the futuristic vision of modern design and altered it to be more optimistic rather than neutral. Furniture that was purely functional underwent alterations to be more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing while still fulfilling the needs of compact and small homes. At this time, mass-produced furniture was on the rise, making fashionable home décor more accessible.

The streamlined yet interesting forms that maintain a healthy degree of comfort have made the mid-century modern style popular to this day. Their construction is lightweight and mobile, and they have a correspondingly clean, uncluttered look. However, unlike modern furniture, mid-century modern furniture features color and homely comfort that’s both retro and timeless.

Contemporary Furniture

Of all the popular furniture styles in this ultimate guide, contemporary furniture is by far the most dynamic. It constantly evolves. This is because contemporary furniture always takes its cues from whatever fashion and style elements are trending at that moment in time. People often confuse contemporary with modern furniture. The key difference is that contemporary design doesn’t adhere to strict stylistic principles, whereas modern furniture is static and adheres to its fixed defining characteristics. Contemporary furniture will look very different in 50 years or perhaps even earlier. But the style always draws inspiration from history while responding to emerging aesthetic and technological trends.

Always fresh and at the forefront, contemporary furniture easily fits into any home. At present, it’s minimalistic in form and color, allowing it to contribute to a very chic setup. Contemporary furniture is great for giving older homes a more modern look. Alternatively, you can mix contemporary furniture with other styles for a truly flexible design.

Transitional Furniture

Transitional furniture is a combination of traditional and modern contemporary design, divorced from a single period. Naturally, taking advantage of both styles means that the transitional style is relatively new but has quickly gained popularity over the past 20 or so years. This type of furniture strikes a fantastic balance between innovation and preserving tradition.

By offering the best of both worlds, transitional furniture is a great compromise if you’re feeling indecisive in your furniture choices. You can achieve a modern look while still maintaining comfort or a traditional look that’s less stuffy or visually noisy but retains the rich history and heritage of the design. Such versatility can make your space feel deeply personal as you fine-tune the designs to your liking to be as formal, casual, modern, or traditional as you desire.

Art Deco Furniture

A more niche style that came about because of post-war optimism was the Art Deco style. Renowned for being glamorous, luxurious, and showcasing zestier designs, Art Deco furniture can transform a room into an affluent space reminiscent of 1920s Paris. It was during the decorative arts movement of that time that French artisans reimagined traditional designs to create something more spirited and livelier. Unlike modest mid-century modern designs, Art Deco furniture thrives when using high-quality and rare materials, such as exotic woods or ivory, to achieve something truly unique. Furthermore, inspired by the machine age, Art Deco furniture heavily features bold geometric patterns combined with grandiose ornamentation. This further distinguishes this decadent style.


With so many popular styles to choose from, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to your own home. Consider your personal preferences and your home’s current design to determine which kind of furniture speaks to you the most. Maybe you want to mix styles with transitional furniture or focus on a single style through modern furniture.

The Ultimate Guide to Popular Furniture Styles

About Alexandra Dedovitch

Alexandra Dedovitch has a B.A. in Multimedia Communications and English. She is a professional writer, artist and designer. Her passion for writing, travel and design has led her to settle her roots in Arizona, a hub for modern and eclectic style. She is the founder of Folk Heart Creations, a blog dedicated to travel and self-expression through art and design. She has worked for Inmod since 2013, both in-house and freelance.

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