Arts and Crafts Home Decorating Ideas
Arts and Crafts was a reactionary movement born out of opposition to Industrial Revolution's mechanization and mass production, as well the heavy ornamentation and excesses of the Victorian era. It originated in England and quickly spread to the U.S. around the turn of the 20th century.
The key tenets of the Arts and Crafts movement were simplicity in design, expert craftsmanship and a close connection with nature. Common materials utilized during this time included stained glass, painted tiles, hand thrown pottery, natural wood and metals as well as fabrics and wallpaper adorned with stylized floral, animal and plant motifs.
Persons of prominence during the Arts and Crafts movement were artisans, architects and designers such as William Morris, Charles and Henry Greene, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Gustav Stickley, Dick Van Erp, Elbert Hubbard and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Now that you know a little about the history of Arts and Crafts, let’s move on the basic décor elements that make up this iconic style.
Arts and Crafts style emphasizes colors drawn from the earth, interspersed rich accents.
Warm brown tones inspired by rich oak wood, was prevalent in Arts and Crafts interiors. Metals mined from the earth such as copper, burnished gold and rubbed bronze were crafted into light fixtures of the time. Other color inspiration from comes from natural stone and tanned leather.
Arts and Crafts accent colors also resulted to things found in nature from deep forest or olive green to a variety of jewel tones like sapphire, garnet and topaz.
Take a Trip to Pasadena!
Check out Pasadena's Craftsman Neighborhoods
Bungalow Heaven is a 16-block area that is home to a large number of modest Craftsman bungalows. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and was named Pasadena's first historic Landmark District. The neighborhood association holds an annual spring tour featuring homes, great eats, music and restoration demonstrations.
Pasadena Heritage holds its Annual Craftsman Weekend each October. It is the largest, all-inclusive celebration of the Arts and Crafts movement in the Western U.S. The organization holds bus and walking tours, visits to noteworthy Craftsman-era homes and an exposition show and sale with furniture and accessory exhibitors from across the country.
Arts and Crafts furniture was the perfect marriage of form and function. The pieces are substantial with simple lines, rich finishes and very light on embellishment, short of burnished metal accents.
Chairs should feature a broad back, wide set arms, rectangular shape and coveted leather upholstery. Tables are substantial with linear legs. These furniture examples are rooted in the movement’s pride in handcrafted, durable products.
Artisans of the Arts and Crafts movement took offense to the Victorian’s use of dark, ornately carved woodwork and paneling. They preferred using neutral wall colors to showcase simple oak casings, trim, flooring and built-ins.
While these homes have an abundance of woodwork, the look is much more linear and organic in nature. In most Arts and Crafts homes, you’ll find the fireplace wall flanked by built-in bookcases. This functional and utilitarian use of space replaced fanciful inglenooks, popular during the Victorian era.
Overhead lighting and lamps in Arts and Crafts homes were linear in design and most likely made from copper or brass. Reflective and delicate mica shades were the perfect counterpoint to these hard metal fixtures.
While there were definitely softer art noveau influences apparent at the time, the table lamp pictured above is typically what we think of as true Arts and Crafts design.
Handmade decorative pottery was all the rage during the Arts and Crafts movement. This is one area that combined mass production and handmade artistry. In order to make functional and decorative ceramics that were affordable; ceramics companies of the era used artists to design pieces, mechanization to produce them and skilled artisans to create beautiful finishes and artistic flourishes.
Rookwood, Roseville, Weller and Van Briggle are just a few of the companies that were well-known for their contributions to the Arts and Crafts movement. Even today, these pieces are still in great demand and highly collectible.
Arts and Crafts Decorating Do's
Leave woodwork intact
Strip old paint from woodwork and use a wood stain
Use a nature-inspired color palette
Invest in period or quality reproduction furniture, light fixtures and hardware
Keep spaces free of clutter
Stay true to the original design aesthetic
Arts and Crafts Decorating Don'ts
Fill spaces with too much furniture and accessories
Paint over a brick or stone fireplace
Use bright colors
Install wall-to-wall carpeting
Fill the walls with artwork
© 2013 lindacee
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