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Interior Design Style Guide: Mission/Arts & Crafts

Learn about mission arts & ccrafts style with our ultimate guide

You enjoy handcrafted, functional pieces (or at least pieces that look like they could be handcrafted). You eschew ornate design and heavy lines for furniture with clean lines and subtle details to enhance the rich finish of natural wood. Quality and history are important, so you make an effort to fill your home with pieces that reflect your attention to detail.

Mission Arts & Crafts Dining Set

Standard Furniture Sonoma 5-Piece Dining Set ($699.95) no longer available

Mission vs. Arts & Crafts

It can be difficult to define the mission and arts and crafts styles because they appear to draw on the best of traditional and colonial styles while also including some elements of casual comfort. The two terms are often used interchangeably because both styles are pretty similar. So what exactly is the difference between the two styles?

The arts and crafts period began around the end of the nineteenth century in Great Britain as a reaction to the poor quality of factory-produced furniture of the Victorian era. Tired of the ornate designs of mass-produced pieces, reformers began to reintroduce traditional craftsmanship into furniture making. Arts and crafts furniture and décor featured simple, clean lines offset by subtle details such as inlays and hand-carved designs.

The arts and crafts movement spread to the United States by the beginning of the twentieth century where it was adapted to become the craftsman style. The writer of a furniture catalog at the time thought some of the craftsman pieces seemed inspired by Spanish colonial mission architecture and called it “mission style” in his catalog. The name stuck and has come to refer to both craftsman and mission styles. Although similar to arts and crafts in its celebration of clean lines and handmade quality, mission-style pieces tend to have thicker lines and less detail than arts and crafts.

If the history of these styles seem confusing, don’t worry! Even though the styles are technically different, the terms are all used today to refer to many of the same design elements.

Mission Arts & Crafts Bedroom Set

Elements of Mission/Arts & Crafts

  • Clean lines
  • Handcrafted details
  • Subtle designs
  • Solid wood
  • Rich finish
  • Organic colors
  • Functional

A home decorated in the mission and arts and crafts styles showcases beautiful pieces made from wood in finishes that emphasize the natural grain and color. In fact, there are probably very few surfaces in your home that aren’t made of wood, including the floors. This doesn’t mean it’s not comfortable! Leather-padded seats or soft upholstered cushions make living spaces comfortable while adding a touch of casual style.

The color palette of a mission or arts and crafts style home contains mostly organic, earth-tone shades, brown, green, gray, etc. Add warmth to living spaces by using red, gold and orange as accent colors.

Mission Arts & Crafts Home Office

Show Us Your Mission/Arts & Crafts Style!

Is your home decorated in the mission/arts and crafts style? We want to see your pictures on social media. Use the buttons below to share your style with us!

Looking for more style inspiration? Check out our Interior Design Styles 101 series to learn about everything from traditional to casual style!

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