A reaction against industrialisation and factory-produced design, the Arts & Crafts movement championed beauty and craftsmanship and resulted in design work that's still admired and influential today. Flourishing particularly between 1880 and the First World War, in essence, the Arts and Crafts movement championed artisan design and sought a return to well-made, ideally hand-crafted workmanship. Although the movement looked backwards, drawing in particular on medievalism and gothic revival for inspiration, it was also influential on later styles including Bauhaus.
Surviving Arts & Crafts homes generally reflect the enduring quality of the craftsmanship that came out of the movement. Typically this will include hand made wood panelling and other woodwork such as carved staircases, as well as beautiful stained glass windows. Inside the home will be more beautiful but essentially practical furniture in sturdy, though attractive, medieval style. Fireplaces often dominate the main rooms, and often show beautiful hand-fired tile work. Tile work often continues in the bathroom, which may have wooden-finished units as well as copper details. Arts and crafts style often includes textile work that brings to mind medieval tapestries; with heavy, unfussy curtains without any frills or flounces. Colours are inspired by nature, so the palette is muted and includes terracotta, mustard yellow, duck egg blue and dull greens.
Handmade and handcrafted homewares and decorative items made by skilled artisans
Unfussy but elegant and finely proportioned items
Emphasis on natural materials such as wood and hammered copper or pewter
Drawing inspiration from nature, such as floral designed textiles
Celtic motifs and medieval or literary influences, with some Japanese influence
Craftmanship, rustic appearances.
William Morris - inspired by romantic literature and social reform. Morris paired medieval styles with bold forms and strong colours.
A.W.N. Pugin - a leader in Gothic revival in architecture. Favoured craftmanship and tradition and advocated structure and function.
Tips & tricks
Furniture - should be practical and unfussy, wooden and handmade in appearance. Oak, copper, leather and natural rush are popular in the Arts and Crafts movement. It's also common to find a motif of upside down hearts carved into chair backs and other furniture.
Floors - generally finished in dark oak.
Colour schemes - aim for natural but colourful tones such as cream, crimson, red/brown, mustard yellow, greens, and blues.
Walls - wood panelling and wallpaper is common, or dull vegetable shades of green or blue. Look for William Morris design wallpapers as many prints are still available.
Tiles - the look is close to the art nouveau style but the colours are brighter and show floral styles.
Accessorise - blue and white china, silk or paper oriental-style screens, ferns and potted palms, and oriental rugs. Stained glass. Tapestry-style heavy textiles for curtains, along with dark wood or brass poles.
Lighting - plain wall sconces or medieval style, or some art deco themes will also work.
Walls - cream rather than clinical modern white, or finished in tiles from the period.
Ceramics - quality bathroom taps, showers, baths and toilets finished in wood, with copper or pewter detail, traditional porcelain pedestal sinks and claw-foot tubs. Strand Bathrooms have a range of products that fit into this style.