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The appeal of Arts and Crafts style is its simple design and straightforward values. The movement was a reaction to the overly ornate and industrialized excesses of the Victorian Era. Arts and Crafts style is based on natural materials, hand-made quality and pride of craftsmanship.

Arts and Crafts
Arts and Crafts is not only a specific interior design style, it also refers to the overall design movement, which began in England during the 1860s and is attributed to artist William Morris. Arts and Crafts crossed the Atlantic around the turn of the 20th century with American furniture maker Gustav Stickley at the helm and remained popular well into the 1940s and beyondu2014thanks to the design contributions of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

The movement encompassed art, interior design, architecture and a philosophy that embraced a simpler time. The Arts and Crafts aesthetic varied by region, but each showcased handcrafted objects, functional and affordable decor, warm, earthy colors, locally sourced materials and homes that blurred the line between architecture and nature.

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Craftsman style was the American offshoot of the British Arts and Crafts movement. The style was adopted and honed by California brothers and architects Charles and Henry Greene. This radical shift in design, referred to as Western Stick style, was publicized in magazines such as Gustav Stickleyu2019s, The Craftsman.

The modest style took hold and quickly spread from coast-to-coast. Craftsman house plans and furnishings flourished in the years between the world wars. Craftsman style was the antithesis of Victorian decoration. Craftsman homeowners subscribed to the ideals of simplicity and handmade artistry.

Natural woodwork was its hallmarku2014from dark oak chair-rail paneling, doors, trim, built-in storage units and furniture. Nature inspired stenciling and friezes adorned walls. Earth tones and muted colors were chosen in favor of bold hues. American pottery, hammered metal bowls, bronze lamps with mica lampshades and organic baskets were extremely popular but were used with great restraint as over-ornamentation was frowned upon.

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Mission was an offshoot of Craftsman style that had several different interpretations. In the southwestern U.S., the style referred to Spanish Mission design elements and Native American influences. In other parts of the country, Mission pointed to the earthy color palette and angular lines of the original Arts and Crafts movement.

When choosing a Mission style decorating scheme, stick with colors that evoke a natural feel with hints of the desert such as deep green, umber, dark gray, slate blue, soft rose and gold. Add pops of saturated colors that inject southwestern flavor like turquoise, deep red and goldenrodu2014especially in accessories or hand-painted tiles around the fireplace.

Mission style is characterized as casual and welcoming. As with Craftsman furnishings, natural woodwork is the star of the show. Painting wood is a no-nou2014a warm stain is all thatu2019s required. Furniture pieces, cabinetry and paneling are simple and play off of geometric lines and uninterrupted surfaces that display the beauty of the wood. Leather upholstery and hand woven textiles add a touch of softness to hard surfaces.

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Frank Lloyd Wright was at the forefront of Prairie School style in the early years of the 20th century. Prairie homes and furnishings echoed the geography of the Midwest plainsu2014flat and expansive. The style featured horizontal planes, low rooflines, geometric forms and natural materials.

Wrightu2019s interpretation of Arts and Crafts included many built-in furnishings such as seating, storage units and inglenooks to keep interiors free of clutter. Furniture was designed with Prairie architecture in mind. Minimal lines, low coffee tables and long benches mimicked the low ceilings and long lines of Prairie style homes. Oak, slate, decorative tile and art glass were materials common to Prairie School design.

Wright also drew heavily from the clean geometry of Japanese design and decorative arts, including Shoji-type screens, pocket doors, lacquerware accessories and Asian-inspired light fixtures. A subtle color palette in a Prairie style home might include terra cotta, cream, butter yellow and taupe. Handmade textiles and folk art with a southwestern flair played to Wrightu2019s deep appreciation of the American West, which in later years also became associated with Prairie School design.

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