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What is Santa Fe style furniture?

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Santa Fe furniture refers to rustic home furnishings that have a purposefully unfinished look, meant to imitate the look of furniture used in western territories such as New Mexico during the Spanish mission period. Genuine furniture used during the time period were a blend of Spanish and Mexican styles, favoring simple and functional designs over unnecessary ornamentation.

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Also called Mission-style furniture, Santa Fe furniture first came to the attention of the majority of Americans in 1901. The style was seen as a reaction against ornate Victorian furniture styles, according to Wikipedia. Santa Fe furniture also looked handcrafted even when it wasn't, a style preferred by many who wanted an alternative to mass-produced furniture. Santa Fe furniture still can be found in homes throughout the United States. It is often used in conjunction with other decorating styles associated with the American Southwest, such as Pueblo-style architecture and Indian art.

Early Santa Fe furniture was not actually plain and unfinished as the newer style would suggest, according to a New York Times article. Genuine pieces of furniture from the 17th century still bear faint traces of bright-colored paint, suggesting that the furniture was in fact vibrant shades of turquoise, yellow and red.

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