There’s something comforting about the craftsman furniture style. You know you can count on it to be simple, clean and beautiful. You know, that if made with naturally strong woods and well-constructed joinery, it can last through generations. You know that no matter the latest design trend, there will always be a place for this timeless style.
What is Craftsman Style Furniture?
Originating well over 100 years ago, the craftsman style was born as a way to deviate from the heavy ornamentation and layers of decoration made popular by the Victorian era. Its dedicated craftsmanship was meant to challenge the desire for mass-produced pieces of the Industrial Revolution. While easily made, they lacked character.
With an emphasis on hand-crafted work, craftsman furniture was constructed from traditional woodworking techniques that embraced clean lines and practical, high quality materials.
Characteristics of the style include:
- Refined woods such as oak (typically quartersawn), cherry and walnut, highlighted grain patterns, and often finished with a stain in warmer tones
- Simple vertical or horizontal lines
- Parallel slats
- Exposed mortise and tenon style joinery
- Inset paneling - think rectangle shape with a smaller square-shaped box inside
- Metal drawer pulls, knobs and hinges - unornamented and simple
- Function over form - traditional built-ins, or furniture made with extra drawers, shelves or hooks that help to maximize storage
While you can find originals, the reproductions are just as gorgeous. Today’s craftsman furniture sold at Modern Bungalow is still constructed with traditional design elements that keep the principles of the original movement in mind with every finished piece.
Getting the Craftsman Look Room by Room
Whether you live in a historic home, remodel or new build, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to furnishing your living space with this style (or any style for that matter).
- Small spaces do not require lots of small furniture. To avoid getting the cluttered look, consider a few carefully selected larger pieces.
- Create balance by using heavier, chunky pieces with lighter, airier ones - especially if the room has built-ins that add visual weight.
- Other furniture styles, such as prairie and midcentury with their horizontal lines and simplicity, fit well in a craftsman home. Don’t be afraid to look outside the style!
Living Room Furniture
The living room is the perfect place to showcase craftsman style pieces that value functionality and craftsmanship. In most homes, this space (and its furniture) will be used frequently. You’ll want furniture that is not only durable but inviting and comfortable. If there’s a theme here, it’s simplicity. Too many patterns or design contrasts can overwhelm the space.
Consider furnishing this space with:
- Solid wood statement pieces such as a Morris Chair or the Monroe Credenza
- Furniture that includes bottom shelves or drawers for storage options
- High-quality leather or upholstered sofas and sectionals
- Patterned pillows (William Morris or craftsman style)
- A geometric rug (such as the Gingko Beige)
With the color palette, natural earth tones are always a good choice because of their simplicity. Don’t be afraid to use a pop of color as a sharp contrast to the wood hues. Dark green, gold, burgundy or even a burnt orange are fun to play with.
You’ll want your dining table and whatever other furniture is placed in this room to be sturdy and reliable, which just so happens to be a cornerstone of the craftsman style! With wood being the vital component of this style, you’ll want to have plenty of it with the option to add softer touches such as cushioned chairs or a colorful rug.
Here are some essentials to be used in your craftsman style dining room:
- Solid wood dining table - it might seem like a no-brainer, but no glass or metal here
- Add in warm decor in colors such as mustard yellow, deep beige or terracotta
- Use stained glass to play with the light in the room - this could be actual windows, lighting or decorative stained glass panels
- Incorporate metals such as brass or wrought iron on accent and decorative pieces
If you live in a historic Craftsman, you’ll want to be sure to balance the “heaviness” of both the table and the built-ins that are likely to be present in this room of the house. If you decide to add additional pieces, choose ones that look lighter.
Whether you’re seeking cozy and comforting or sturdy, simple and striking, craftsman style bedroom furniture will provide you with a timeless look and a good night’s rest. It’s easy enough to keep the look strictly period-specific or bring it forward with a few carefully placed modern touches.
To get the craftsman look in the bedroom, use the following:
- Choose beds with traditional slats, inset panels or a combination of both
- Keep things symmetrical, centered between architectural elements (such as two windows) and place matching nightstands on either side
- Keep the color scheme neutral or earthy and don’t be afraid to experiment with some period-specific William Morris wallpaper
- For a smaller bedroom, use beds with footboard storage or footboard benches with built-in storage
Remember that less is more. In a small bedroom, for example, don’t try to do a bed and a sitting area. It’ll only look cluttered. Lack of accessories, especially if the room still has woodwork, allows these features to be the main draw.
Dedicated home offices were not likely a priority at the turn of the 20th century, but luckily the design principles of the early craftsman style can be applied in this room today. Practical and durable furniture with lots of storage options are what to look for.
Here are some suggestions for the office:
- Wooden desks - consider the size of the room and the possibility of using a laptop cabinet to conserve space
- Add a bookcase with ample shelving
- A slatted-back desk chair will complete the look, or opt for a side or arm dining chair as a stylish option
- If there’s space, consider a comfy sofa or modern accent chair
We know in most homes there are more rooms than the handful mentioned above. Some kitchens may have eat-in nooks with space for small round tables or built-ins. You might have a sitting area in addition to a living room. There are kid’s bedrooms and nurseries as well as entryways. And, of course, outdoor living space is more popular than ever!
The same guidelines for furnishing these spaces in the craftsman style apply. Less is more, earthy tones are always a good bet and know that whatever you use to furnish these spaces will be made with care, craftsmanship and a whole lot of hope that you love this look as much as we do!