Common Arts and Crafts Design Elements

The terms "arts and crafts" and "mission style" are often used interchangeably, but the arts and crafts movement includes light fixtures, stained glass, pottery, wall coverings and textiles in addition to furniture.
arts and crafts popular fabric inspired by nature

arts and crafts popular fabric inspired by nature

Fabrics and wall coverings of the arts and crafts period exhibited curvilinear patterns and warm colors inspired by nature, as evidenced in this popular William Morris pattern.

Photo by: James Calloway

James Calloway

The arts and crafts movement, which originated in England during the last half of the 19th century, was also known as mission style in the United States. Mission style resulted in the blending of arts and crafts rectilinear forms with Hispanic and Native American architecture, furnishings and accessories of the American Southwest.

Common design elements of arts and crafts furnishings and accessories include hand-crafted items made of natural materials and earthy organic colors.

Furniture was made almost exclusively of oak, often heavy and square, with clean, simple lines; dark, masculine wood stains; and leather upholstery.

Earthy organic colors – mossy greens, mustard, terra cotta, warm brown and amber – show up in wall coverings, pottery, lamps, stained glass and textiles of the period.

Metals such as copper and bronze were combined with amber-stained glass in lighting fixtures. Hand-hammered metal hardware on furniture provided a decorative as well as a functional touch. Pottery, glazed tile and handmade textiles, such as Navajo rugs, reflected the warm, earthy feel of the period.

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