The British Arts and Crafts style came about in the mid 19th century and evolved from a movement by designers and writers, who wanted to revert back to hand-crafted goods as opposed to accepting the growth of mass-produced items. The leader of this movement was none other than William Morris, who along with other members, traded as before by selling their hand-crafted goods with their own companies. The major problem was, that only the very wealthy could afford these unique home-wares. The style itself was very much like the former Art Nouveau style.
Remember that in modern times it is more convenient to buy items that are low cost and good quality; a few handmade items may add a personal touch, but don’t feel you have to buy everything handmade! In those days, the first mass-produced goods were not always guaranteed good quality but times have changed. You can browse a fabric wholesaler UK online today and be overwhelmed by the low costs, brilliant quality and endless variety of fabrics and home-wares.
Some style aspects to take note of are the emphasis on simple forms and minimal décor – beauty was often found in items with practicality such as armchairs and window treatments. Natural materials were favoured over man-made so do look for wood, wool, cotton, glass, metals (particularly copper) and so forth in your home design. Some motifs/prints to look out for include Celtic motifs, upside down hearts and stylised flowers.
Furniture was always handmade but you can often find cheaper furniture which has the look of being handmade – yet costs far less; leather upholstery, rush upholstery and Oak wood were popular for this style. Oak floors were also common and so natural floorboards could be given a darker stain or polish for the appearance of Oak.
Your colour palette should try to include some of the following colours for the best attempt at this style – cream, dark yellows, greens, blues and crimson; terracotta was also seen. Walls were often found with wood panelling and wallpaper, but if you prefer to simply paint then we recommend a dark green, blue-green or cream to keep a space light; perhaps using the darker colours for feature walls to give a contemporary twist. Wallpaper designs could be anything inspired by William Morris – with some of his original designs still in print.
For window treatments, browse the vast amount of designs for curtain material online. Avoid frills or flouncy material and hang your curtains up with brass or wooden curtain poles. Finishing touches to your Arts & Crafts style home could be a touch of the Orient with blue and white china, screens and Chinese rugs; simple flower arrangements or potted plants would also add a little beauty and freshness to rooms.