Whether you’re designing a new home or remodeling, discover how to create the modern craftsman-style interior of your dreams.
Picture this: clean lines and beautiful natural materials (think: brick, stone, cedar shingles, and wood). Large eaves overhang a generous front porch for bringing neighbors together. Add to this the built-in storage and open floor plan. It doesn’t take much mental imagery to see the appeal of the craftsman home design. It’s certainly no surprise that the modern craftsman house is so in demand with homeowners.
Whether you have a new modern craftsman-style home, are planning to remodel, or simply adore the look, we have some tips for craftsman-inspired interiors that can refresh your entire space.
The craftsman style home design first appeared in California in the early 1900s as a response to the poor quality and uninspired style of mass production. Builders and homeowners alike longed for artisan handcrafting and were reacting to new post-Industrial Revolution craftsmanship that seemed both cliche and devoid of soul.
Influenced by Asian design principles and a desire to bring beautiful and functional simplicity to the home arts, builders influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement used natural materials and straight, clean lines to create functional — not just ornamental — beauty.
Now let's take a closer look at how to incorporate this interior design style into any space.
Upon entering a craftsman-style home, you’ll be in awe of the finely crafted woodwork of the space. Living rooms in the craftsman era were often large as part of an open floor plan and can encapsulate everything we love about the design in one room.
Since craftsman builders believed the function and creation of the item were part of its beauty, they put the design process in full view with large exposed beams running across ceilings or set in a gridwork of a coffered ceiling.
Consider adding hollow beams in rich wood tones for this look. Hollow beams are typically sustainable as they’re made from reclaimed materials destined for the landfill. They’re also easier to hang since they’re so lightweight and can sit flush on drywall. If you already have exposed beams, leave them unpainted.
All of the woodwork in the home shines when it remains unpainted, so bring out the rich beauty of the wood with a stain, but keep your hardwood floors and detailed molding and window casings free of high-shine finishes.
With all of the woodwork going on in this home, you may want to balance it out with a cool paint color palette. Think in terms of very dark or very light colors that either contrast or complement the wood tones.
A craftsman living room with dark green walls and medium wood trim brings moody drama. However, the contrast of light paint colors against the trim work is equally powerful, highlighting the detail of your woodwork.
A great hearth was often the center of the open-concept family room design. These fireplaces were made from natural materials like stone, brick, or fireclay tiles in rich, earthy colors and sometimes included interesting motifs.
If your fireplace is lacking in artisan style, consider adding a combination of various earth-toned tiles as a surround. If you are planning a new home, look into stone native to your area for a fireplace that extends from floor to ceiling.
For this living space, opt for mission-style sofas with rectangular spindles and flat vertical splat back chairs topped with rich leather cushions. Look for tables with mission-style spindles or linear inlaid wood designs. The structure of these pieces is their beauty. Shop for fabrics like wool, mohair, linen, or cotton in equally natural hues that blend effortlessly.
All these natural materials and hardwood floors are gorgeous when washed with natural light from an abundance of windows. Make them extra special by adding a grid (mullions and muntins) to the upper sash of windows.
It’s time to get inspiration for your modern craftsman dining room by looking for handcrafted pieces and sticking with time-honored patterns.
One of the most cherished features of craftsman-era homes is the number of clever built-ins that are worked seamlessly into the architecture. Whether you already have them or plan to build your own, a pair of built-in china cabinets on either side of a wide arched room entrance are quintessentially craftsman.
If you don’t have any modern craftsman architecture in your home, add your own. Use trim wood to add board and batten to the walls or chair rail over wainscotting. Stain these pieces to ensure they match and play nicely with the existing woodwork.
It is especially fitting to use wallpaper inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement of the 19th century. William Morris's wallpaper is a classic for a good reason — the repetition of stylized organic motifs is a subtle and mesmerizing way to add natural geometry to your interior space.
Look for a table that displays its structural details, like a mission style or heavy trestle table. The sharp right angles of these styles anchor the dining room beautifully and offset the Arts and Crafts wallpaper flawlessly.
Like everything else in this style that dominated through to the mid-century, light fixtures come in clean lines. Light the way to the dining room with wall sconces of Tiffany-style glass. Try a mission-style slim profile rectangular glass chandelier or pendant above the table.
Even a modern geometric caged pendant light can have the same flair. You can source craftsman-style lighting and decor in Spoak’s discovery feed.
A traditional craftsman kitchen would have many of the features already discussed, but we’ve given you a few more ideas that are very kitchen specific.
Earthy fireclay tiles in muted greens, blues, or browns are a lovely companion to the detailed woodwork in the kitchen. Throw in an occasional tile with an acorn or ginkgo leaf motif for true craftsman verve. (You’ve got to love all of these natural elements that show up again and again!)
Your backsplash can be crafted of handmade white ceramic tiles with slim floral border tiles. These florals aren’t the curvy elaborate motifs of the Victorian era — instead, they are an angular, geometric style that keeps with the rest of the home.
Choose countertops in natural materials common to this era, even if you use them in more modern ways, to exude the same artisan charm as early twentieth-century homes. Today's marble and granite work nicely, but soapstone and handmade wood countertops can be equally stunning with contrasting backsplash and wall paint.
For vintage craftsman vibes, add mission-style stools to your bar top or Stickley’s shaped seat stools.
Builder-grade cabinets can be enhanced with new doors that feature an inlay of flat wood or a panel of wainscotting. You can add trim pieces to outline the edges of your doors for a DIY mission look. Take it a step further by adding cut glass or stained glass doors to upper cabinets.
Kitchens and backdoor entries are the perfect places to employ craftsman-style built-ins. Some solid wood storage cubby cabinets in the mudroom can catch hats, boots, and bags. Incorporate the trim work details that match your existing woodwork to make it look like it’s always been there.
The Arts and Crafts Movement was about more than one specific time period and or following a certain pattern of design. It was an attempt to change our connection to handcrafted items and create beautiful environments.
You can adopt these same principles with a hands-on approach to designing your own home interiors with natural materials. No matter what you pick, the perfect home might only be a mood board away.
Photo Credit: (Left) Ballard Designs
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