Shaker vs Mission Style Furniture: What's the Difference?

Shaker and mission style furniture are often associated because both styles have been adopted by traditional furniture craftsmen. The Amish are often cited as the source of both design philosophies, although that’s not true in either case.

Shaker style furniture originated from the Shaking Quakers in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. It wasn’t for another few decades that mission style furniture began to emerge. Both styles originated in New England.

What is Shaker Style Furniture?

American Shaker Bedroom Furniture Set Our American Shaker Bedroom Set

Shaker style furniture is characterized by clean lines, tapered legs, and minimalist designs. It’s known for being practical and simple down to the very last detail. Originally designed in the late 1700’s by followers of the religious group the Shaking Quakers, shaker furniture has become a staple in interior design known for being timeless and elegant.

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What is Mission Style Furniture?

mission style sideboard Our American Mission Sideboard

Mission style furniture is characterized by rectangular shapes, 90 degree angles, and straight vertical and horizontal lines. First conceived in the Arts & Crafts period at the turn of the 19th century (Also known as the American Craftsman era), mission and craftsman style furniture has maintained popularity in traditional and arts & crafts design circles ever since.

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Mission vs Shaker Furniture

Shaker Mission

  • Clean, simple designs

  • Tapered legs

  • Mushroom shaped wood knobs

  • 90 degree angles

  • Vertical and horizontal lines

  • Rectangular spindles

  • Eased edges

  • Traditionally made with oak wood (cherry and maple also common)

When built by master craftsmen like the ones we work with at Vermont Woods Studios, both shaker and mission style furniture are built to last for generations.

Still have questions about the difference between shaker and mission style furniture? Give us a call or ask us via email, chat, or twitter!

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Riley Farabaugh


The son of co-founders Peggy and Ken Farabaugh, Riley has filled different roles within the organization since it was founded out of a spare bedroom in the family home in 2005. Riley has been quickly learning more and more about woodworking, sustainable forestry, and the ins-and-outs of the furniture industry.

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