History and context
Craftsman style furniture (also called Mission style furniture) is a furniture style developed towards the end of the 19th century. It started as a counter-movement to Victorian and Civil War and antebellum-style furniture. These styles are characterized by the use of many curves and ornaments. Rebelling against those curves and ornaments means that craftsman style furniture is characterized by clear horizontal and vertical lines, and often decorated only with a set of straight parallel spindles.
The reason for the two different names is the result of clever marketing efforts. As more and more people started traveling throughout the United States after the Civil War, the architecture and furniture of the Spanish missions started to appeal to them. In order to piggy bag on the popularity of this new found interest, some manufacturers called their craftsman style furniture ‘mission style’. This name stuck so well that this type of furniture is often called mission style furniture to this day.
To the main contributor of the craftsman style furniture, Gustav Stickley, this name neglected the handcraftmanship that went into making the furniture. He preferred to focus on the craftsman and his work. For those reasons, everything about craftsman style furniture should appeal to a furniture maker and appreciator. The main characteristics are the use of oak wood (not the sexiest wood, but very well-suited for long lasting furniture), its simplicity in design, and the focus on beauty of craftsmanship rather than decoration.
The craftsman style that came up in the United States can also be seen in the early works of Frank Lloyd Wright. Both his architecture and his furniture designs started out using the same principles of straight horizontal and vertical lines, and his furniture certainly could remind you of classic craftsman style furniture in his use of the straight parallel spindles.
Design and decorating tips
Because of the basic design, craftsman style furniture fits a wide array of decorating styles. The straight lines can either accent the existing interior design, or bring a balancing touch to a room. Its crafty look, combined with the use of oak wood looks particularly great in a room with exposed beams. The horizontal architecture of bungalow homes also make them the perfect candidate for craftsman style furniture.
The design features of craftsman style furniture are best combined with colors found in nature: shades of brown, green, and orange are excellent colors to work with. Floral patterns in throw pillows or curtains also go very well with this type of furniture.
If you’re looking to combine pieces of art with your craftsman style furniture, you may want to consider the very recognizable style of Art Nouveau pieces (like these posters on Etsy). Art Nouveau is almost the European cousin of the American mission style, but is a bit less ‘rigid’ in its shapes. Other recommended accessories include bronze or pottery, keeping close to the color scheme mentioned in the above paragraph.
Remember, these are only suggestions, and the rebellious background of craftsman style furniture combined with its basic design makes it the perfect style to combine with anything you’d want. The most important thing in designing your home is making your own decisions, and getting the furniture you like. Currently, we have the following kits available in craftsman/mission style:
Would you like to read more? This is where we got our information: