Victorian Homes

Arts and Crafts-style interior decorating ideas

arts and crafts

In the 19th century, Arts and Crafts interior design was all about quality over quantity, moving away from mass-produced furniture and furnishings.

Designers hankered for handmade furniture and fittings and eschewed the Victorian visual overload in favour of light-filled, serene clutter-free spaces in the home.

In Britain, William Morris and his associates, “The Firm”, were leading exponents. They aimed to restore traditional methods of creating furniture and furnishings and created homes that were practical yet beautiful.

Gone were the over-the-top wall hangings, paint finishes, factory-made furniture, jewel-coloured rugs and oppressive Gothic elements of design. In came hardwood floors, wallpaper that showcased designs from the natural world, and furniture that was made for the job but great to look at too.

This Arts and Crafts look remains popular today. Here are seven ways you can get the look in your home.

1. Choose simple but high quality pieces of furniture

Simplicity, durability and craftsmanship were key to Arts and Crafts furniture. Often created from solid oak, it was built to be passed down through the generations. It was high quality, comfortable and functional. Look for straight lines, simple arches and curves, rich, solid, natural woods, and simple decoration.

2. Pick up some arts and crafts-style tiles

William De Morgan tiles were typical features of Arts and Crafts homes and many companies still produce tiles in a similar style. Topps Tiles has a range which includes designs featuring fish, flowers, grapes and fruit palms. All can be used in kitchens or bathrooms, while fireplace surround tiles can also add a touch of Arts and Crafts charm.

3. Get replica Morris wallpaper

In the 1860s, William Morris began designing wallpapers hand-printed using wooden blocks and mineral-based pigments. He created stunning patterns, many of which are still commercially available, although today they are produced by machinery. A replica Morris wallpaper is a quick, efficient and beautiful way to incorporate the Arts and Crafts look in your home.

arts and crafts

download the full victorian homes ebook

Download Victorian Homes, a free ebook created by Adrian Flux insurance services. It is full of Victorian house facts, tips on how to create a Victorian style house — even if you live in a new-build home — and advice on where to source original Victorian and reproduction fixtures, fittings, furniture, accessories and art.

4. Choose earthy colours

Arts and Crafts celebrated nature and encouraged earthy hues of wood, rock, bark and foliage, lighter shades of ash, sandstone and lilac. The colours highlighted the natural beauty of unpainted wood. Patrons of Farrow and Ball the paint manufacturers are advised to try three-tone combinations such as Olive, Stone White and White Tie, or Lichen, Stone Blue and Straw.

5. Create a comfortable and practical living room

Arts and Crafts reformers abandoned the concept of a formal parlour and introduced the living room, which was a multi-purpose space furnished with items that were comfortable and practical rather than ornate and formal. The built-in bookcase became a must-have and furniture was placed against walls to create more room within the house.

6. Add stained glass style

Your house may boast original stained glass art from the period. In older or more modern homes, you can inject stained glass style by using terrariums,  panels hung at windows (occasionally you can find original panels at salvage yards or antique shops), or by commissioning your own panel from an artist.

arts and crafts

7. Choose fabric curtains

Curtains were hung on plain wooden or brass curtain poles and were free from frills and flounces. Fabric designs might include natural prints on linen or cotton patterned with stylised animals or flowers. There are still many William Morris fabric designs available and Liberty is a rich source for fabric inspiration.

Get more Victorian-style inspiration

Download our ebook, which is full of Victorian house facts, tips on how to create a Victorian style house — even if you live in a new-build home — and advice on where to source original Victorian and reproduction fixtures, fittings, furniture, accessories and art.

Looking to insure your Victorian Home?

Adrian Flux is a specialist insurance compnay offering bespoke cover for all period and Victorian homes. Call 0800 369 8590 got a fast and hassle-free quote.

Our home insurance customers saved an average of 31% in 2021 when taking out a policy with us. See how much you could save by giving us a call.

Providing a more detailed look into the Victorian Home

Please enter your details below to download the full Victorian Homes ebook.