A timeless souvenir of the American Arts-and-Crafts movement, the craftsman design style (also called Shaker or mission style) is a thoughtful exercise in craftsmanship and quality. Simple and practical, mission-style furniture places a heavy emphasis on the artistry of woodworking and the value of well-made pieces. We’ll walk you through the basics of this clean and classic style …
The Elements of Craftsman Style
The Industrial Revolution brought with it many things: steam power, machine tools, chemical manufacturing, and, of course, the factory system. And as an act of resistance against this rapidly evolving industry, the craftsman design movement was born.
Champions of the movement chose to embrace the hand-crafted over the mass-produced, as a rejection of both commercialized manufacturing practices and extravagant Victorian designs. Arts-and-crafts styles can be identified by their clean, practical pieces and traditional woodworking methods.
While contemporary pieces aren’t always hand-crafted by artisan woodworkers, traditional design elements and functional practicality keep the principles of the early movement alive and well. We’ll walk you through some of the basic elements of the style …
Warm, Refined Woods
Craftsman furniture is most easily identified by its solid wood construction. Hard woods such as oak, cherry, and walnut are often finished with a warm, rich stain that emphasizes the wood’s natural grain. You’ll rarely see paint or matte finishes on craftsman furniture.
Slats, Panels & Metal Latches
Parallel slats, Shaker-style panels, and simple metal hardware are the signature elements of craftsman and mission design. Stained glass details and exposed joinery are some of the other hallmarks of mission style, and even when mass-produced are essential for achieving the style’s thoughtfully crafted look.
Function Over Form
Practicality was the top priority in the earliest craftsman homes, which often had shelves, cabinets, and benches built right into the walls. You can still see this emphasis on functionality today; most mission-style tables, benches, and bookcases include extra shelves, drawers, or hooks to maximize storage.
Craftsman & Mission Style Furniture
To get the craftsman look in your own home, look for pieces of furniture that incorporate the traditional elements of grainy stained woods, vertical slats and panels, metal hardware, and simple, clean lines. We’ll show you how to get the look in the living room, bedroom, dining room, and office …
Living Room Furniture
When it comes to incorporating the craftsman look, the living room provides plenty of opportunity. Mission style tables with slatted sides, bottom shelves, and included drawers are perfect for providing the storage you need in the style you love. For an extra touch of inviting craftsman flair, add a wooden rocking chair with mission-style slats.
While eclectic and bohemian designs continue to trend in home décor, matching mission bedroom sets provide a timelessly warm look. Pair a slatted wooden headboard with a set of craftsman dressers, then add a mission-style nightstand to complete the look. To keep the look from going too 19th-century, add a few modern touches such as a chic rug, lamp, or comforter.
The dining room is one of the best spaces to play around with craftsman design. Everybody needs to eat, after all, so dining tables and chairs have been part of the craftsman tradition since its inception.
Since the dining table is often host to multiple plates, dishes, and place settings, you’ll need one that’s sturdy and reliable – a perfect opportunity to incorporate craftsman style. Pair it with slatted mission dining chairs and a handsome wooden buffet to complete the look.
While the austere Shakers of the 19th century probably didn’t have dedicated home offices, you can easily apply the design principles of their time to modern work spaces. Look for a practical wooden desk with plenty of storage, or a mission bookcase with ample shelving. Use a slatted-back desk chair to complete the look, or add a modern twist by using a stylish side or dining chair.
Craftsman Style Outdoor Décor
The humble charm and artistry of mission-style design is perfect for outdoor spaces, adding an inviting touch of coziness and warmth.
A Craftsman Front Porch
A welcoming covered porch is one of the hallmarks of craftsman architecture – and whether you live in a classic Arts-and-Crafts bungalow, a sprawling ranch-style home, or an urban townhouse, you can create your own inviting craftsman porch with just a few key pieces.
Use comfortable rocking chairs, benches, or a swing to provide front-porch seating. Potted plants, craftsman light fixtures, and cozy outdoor pillows or cushions add character to the space.
A Craftsman-Style Patio
To add Arts-and-Crafts flair to a patio space, choose mission-style outdoor furniture in warm wood finishes. The iconic slats and panels of craftsman design can easily be incorporated through patio conversation sets or an outdoor dining set.
Craftsman & Mission Style Inspiration
If you’re ready to start infusing your home with craftsman style but still need a little inspiration, look no further. We’re sharing three of our favorite arts-and-crafts-inspired looks to help you bring your vision to life …
While breezy coastal style and no-frills craftsman design may seem somewhat incompatible, this clean and bright dining space proves the two can easily come together. We love the contrast between the rich wood of the dining set and the crisp blue-and-white color palette.
While many people think of as masculine and no-nonsense, this serene bedroom proves that the style can go a little soft, too. The dark wood bedroom set provides classic mission style, while the soothing shades of blue, gray, and white keep the space cool and calm.
Now that you’ve mastered the basics of craftsman design, you can start shopping for the perfect pieces for your home. Explore Hayneedle’s wide selection of mission style furniture, or check out our curated Idea Gallery for additional inspiration.