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Arts and Crafts Home Decorating Ideas

Updated on February 22, 2018

The Arts and Crafts movement was a reaction born out of opposition to the Industrial Revolution's mechanization and mass production, as well the heavy ornamentation and excesses of the Victorian era. Arts and Crafts style originated in England and spread to the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century.

The key tenets of the Arts and Crafts movement are 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. Fabrics and wallpaper of the genre were adorned with stylized floral, animal and plant motifs.

Gorgeous California Arts and Crafts home--a.k.a. Craftsman style.
Gorgeous California Arts and Crafts home--a.k.a. Craftsman style. | 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, here are some of the basic design elements that make up this iconic style.

Colors

Arts and Crafts emphasized colors drawn from the earth and interspersed with rich accents and textures. Warm browns inspired by natural wood tones were prevalent in Arts and Crafts interiors. Metals such as copper, burnished gold and rubbed bronze were used in making light fixtures of the era.

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

Other main color influences were derived from shades of indigo, quarried stone and leather. Accent colors were drawn from nature's bounty ranging from olive green, squash gold and pumpkin orange to a variety of semi-precious minerals such as amber, garnet and carnelian.

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

Furniture

Arts and Crafts furniture design created the perfect marriage between form and function. The artisan pieces were substantial with simple lines, deep finishes and minimal embellishment--short of burnished metal accents.

Chairs typically featured a broad back, wide set arms, a rectangular shape and leather upholstery. Tables were heavy and substantial with simple linear construction. Furniture examples of the time were 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

Originators of the Arts and Crafts movement took offense at the Victorian’s use of ornately carved woodwork and paneling. They preferred using neutral wall colors to showcase simple oak casings, trim, flooring and built-in shelving and cabinetry.

While these homes have an abundance of woodwork the look is much more straight line 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.

Lighting

Overhead lighting and lamps in Arts and Crafts homes were basic 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 a mica shade.
Quintessential Arts and Crafts table lamp--hammered copper with a mica shade. | Source

Pottery

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 commissioned artists to design the pieces, used mechanized production techniques and hired skilled painters to develop unique colors and finishes.

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

Rookwood, Roseville, Weller and Van Briggle are just a few of the pottery 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

 
 
Do
Leave woodwork intact
Do
Strip old paint from woodwork and use a wood stain
Do
Use a nature-inspired color palette
Do
Invest in period or quality reproduction furniture, light fixtures and hardware
Do
Keep spaces free of clutter
Do
Stay true to the original design aesthetic
Strip Arts and Crafts woodwork down to the grain and let the beauty of the wood shine through.
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

 
 
Don't
Fill spaces with too much furniture and accessories
Don't
Mix styles
Don't
Paint over a brick or stone fireplace
Don't
Use bright colors
Don't
Install wall-to-wall carpeting
Don't
Fill the walls with artwork

© 2013 lindacee

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    • lindacee profile image
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      lindacee 2 years 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 2 years 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
      Author

      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
      Author

      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

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