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Arts and Crafts Home Decorating Ideas

Updated on October 10, 2017

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.

Gorgeous California Arts and Crafts, a.k.a. Craftsman, house.
Gorgeous California Arts and Crafts, a.k.a. Craftsman, house. | Source

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 and interspersed with rich accents and textures.

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.

This William Morris wallpaper is great color inspiration for an Arts and Crafts room.
This William Morris wallpaper is great color inspiration for an Arts and Crafts room. | Source

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.
show route and directions
A markerBungalow Heaven -
Bungalow Heaven, Pasadena, CA, USA
get directions

B markerPasadena Heritage Office -
651 South Saint John Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105, USA
get directions


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.

The lines of an Arts and Crafts chair are instantly recognizable.
The lines of an Arts and Crafts chair are instantly recognizable. | Source

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.

Quintessential Arts and Crafts table lamp--hammered copper with mica shade.
Quintessential Arts and Crafts table lamp--hammered copper with mica shade. | Source

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.

This vase would look right at home in an Arts and Crafts home.
This vase would look right at home in an Arts and Crafts home. | Source

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
Do strip Arts and Crafts woodwork down to the grain and let the beauty of the wood shine through!
Do strip Arts and Crafts woodwork down to the grain and let the beauty of the wood shine through! | Source

Arts and Crafts Decorating Don'ts

Fill spaces with too much furniture and accessories
Mix styles
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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    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 23 months ago from Arizona

      I like A&C too aesta1. So glad you enjoyed reading this one. The style does make one feel comfortable and cozy. My aesthetic is pretty traditional, so I would love to have a Craftsman bungalow furnished down to the last detail with Stickley furniture, mica lamps, wall stencils and art glass windows. Thanks for the comment!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 23 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I love the Arts and Crafts style. They look solid and more down to earth so they give me a feeling of stability. My style is more eclectic but I have Arts and Crafts pieces that I love to look at. They make me feel am home. Thanks for featuring this style.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 4 years ago from Arizona

      vespawoolf, good to hear from you. I have to say I admire the arts and crafts style and once used it to decorate my house even though it wasn't a craftsman structure. There's just something about the simplicity and organic nature. Thanks for reading, commenting, voting and sharing! :)

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I didn't know much about the arts and crafts movement, but after reading this I realize my father-in-law's decorating style fits well in this category. It's interesting that its contrast with Victorian style is due to their rebellion against the excesses of the Victorian era. This isn't my style, but the history is interesting. Thank you for another informative Hub! Voted up and shared.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 4 years ago from Arizona

      ishwaryaa22, so glad you enjoyed the information in this Hub! It is great you have been able to purchase some Arts and Crafts accessories to include in your home. Thank you so much for reading and leaving an insightful comment. Also thanks for the votes and share! :)

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      An engaging hub with helpful information! Here in my country, the Arts & Crafts movement has been given a lot of importance and there are plenty of exhibitions everywhere. I bought stunning display items from one of the renowned Arts & Crafts shops dealing with Indian handicrafts for my home-decoration. Once again, a well-written hub! Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up & shared