The Arts and Crafts movement was instrumental in bringing good design to the masses during the industrial revolution. It was an alternative to the poorly made products people had been used to and allowed them to add good design to their homes for little money.
The key to the Arts and Crafts movement was simplicity. It often exposed the way things were made, showing off technique and design rather than covering it. Nature was an important source of inspiration too, with many designs being copied from the flora and fauna people found around them. The great British countryside was brought indoors for the first time.
Typically in an Arts and Crafts designed homes you will see box sash windows, bare stone and brick work, wooden flooring and rustic fire hearths. The overall feel is warm and cosy. Tiles in strong colours were also popular and colour patterns were created using vegetable dyes and wooden blocks.
Arts and Craft architecture is characterised by exposed beams and low roof lines. Bare brick and stone work is very common too, with window and door openings often being dressed in the stone work style. The movement was often thought to be a gothic revival.
Its most famous member William Morris was dedicated to improving the lives of ordinary people. He founded the first company to produce Arts and Crafts objects. Stained glass and bold fabrics became commonplace in people’s homes for the first time and design became an important part of their lives.
Today, the Arts and Crafts movement is itself going through a revival as people relearn skills like woodworking and stained glass making. More and more of us are learning how to improve our homes by creating self-made design features. It is in large part thanks to the Arts and Crafts movement that these traditional skills continue to make an impact on our lives today.