Decorating Style: Mission, Craftsman or Arts and Crafts Design

Mission, Craftsman and Arts and Crafts all refer to a style of furniture and architecture born in the early 20th century as a rebuttal to the mass produced and heavily ornate items from the Victorian period.  These pieces feature simple, straight lines, craftsman details like mortise and tenon joinery, are often made of dark wood and their primary function is to be functional.

If you like masculine furniture with a clean and simple form, beautiful wood and nature inspired colors then this may be the style for you.  Stickley is a name that often comes to mind when one thinks of mission or craftsman style.  Along with the identifiable furniture styles, this period also focuses on specific colors, fabrics and patterns that tie the whole look together.


The colors found in nature are most often used when decorating in a mission, craftsman or arts and crafts style.  These include deep shades of green, blue, deep russet reds, muddy golds, purples and all shades of beige, tan and brown.

Fabric and pattern

Common patterns used to decorate a craftsman style home feature nature motifs such as leaves, trees, birds and stylized flowers like tulips and ginko leaves.  These patterns can be used in fabrics but are more commonly found in rugs and wallpaper borders.  Furniture is upholstered in durable and functional fabrics like chenille, leather or faux leather, and suede or faux suede.


Along with the simple furniture designs a home decorated in this manner may include pottery lamps with mica shades, lots of hand thrown pottery, colorful blown glass items, stained glass inserts in furniture pieces and lots of built in bookcases and hutches.

This is a warm and inviting design style that works well with other styles.  For example, a brightly colored piece of modern art would be a nice contrast to all the wood pieces.  Plaid fabrics coordinate beautifully with the floral patterns used.  A collection of colorful glass bottles will brighten up the dark wood.

Whether you stay true to the style or mix it up a bit, you are sure to create a home that people will feel welcome in.

For a durable upholstery option, check out faux leather vinyl by Nassimi.