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Craftsman Style Defined

Find out how to decorate your home in the Craftsman style.

By Lisa Frederick

The Craftsman movement—so named by furniture designer and artisan Gustav Stickley, who started The Craftsman magazine in 1901—came to prominence in the early 20th century as a form of protest against the factory-made furnishings and decorative objects that prevailed at the time. Rather than embrace artificially produced or overly stylized materials and forms, Craftsman style celebrated indigenous woods, hand-wrought furnishings and architectural detailing, and a fundamental air of simplicity and purity.

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The Basics

Sunny Country/Rustic Dining Room
Susan Brown

The Craftsman aesthetic infuses every aspect of a home, from the architectural envelope to the finishing touches. Lines are straightforward; materials are natural; frills are few. Millwork, surface treatments, furniture, and other components all reflect the skill, hard work, and heart that went into their making.

These designer images display Craftsman style:

Get the Look

2nd Ave. Lighting
Does Craftsman style sound right for you? Try these tactics for sprinkling it into your space.

Handmade tile. Craftsman design is known for its handcrafted tiles in rich, saturated colors: bottle green, golden yellow, rust red, and more. Classically, the tiles are used to surround fireplaces and line kitchen backsplashes, but you also can display them on their own as miniature pieces of art. Try propping them on small easels or picture stands for an unusual, attractive grouping. 

Stained glass windows. Many Craftsman homes feature these beauties, which showcase artisanship at its finest. Leave them uncovered so as not to mask the detailing.
Slatted Morris Chair
Built-in furnishings. Craftsman style is all about functionality. Built-in shelving, room dividers, kitchen banquettes and tables all combine practicality with the meticulous workmanship that shines in Craftsman interiors. Choose warm wood species and leave them unpainted to showcase the beauty of the grain. 

Nature motifs. Given the style's emphasis on honoring nature, it's no surprise that the outdoors informs Craftsman interiors. Ginkgo leaves, acorns, pine branches, and other themes drawn from the natural world highlight textiles, metalwork, accents, and more. 

Minimal clutter. The stripped-down sensibility of this style lends itself to spare décor. What few accessories you do incorporate should be handmade and meaningful—it's better to leave a wall or mantel bare than crowd it with items bought simply to fill a space.
  • If you like Craftsman style, you may also like Art Deco Style. Click to explore!  

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