If you enjoy natural elements, a strong, clean, linear look and informal style of decor, then a Mission style home may be the perfect choice.
A love of wood furnishings is also high on the list for this look, which is often called Arts and Crafts decor.
The two styles are very similar and share historical roots. A desire for a simpler and less ornate philosophy of decorating (enough of the Victorian curves, ruffles, swags and over-the-top finishes!) was the foundation and inspiration for mission style decor.
First, a little bit of history.
The Arts and Crafts movement emerged from England in the late 19th century. Workers with trades such as carpenters, glass workers and carvers found that their skills were no longer required as the Industrial Revolution took hold. So they began to use their abilities to craft furniture that was well designed and hand produced.
Today, the art of creating mission style furniture remains a highly regarded skill, and many of the original methods are still employed, including the use of quarter-sawn white oak that is cut, sanded, fitted, and joined by hand.
By the early 20th century this style found its way to North America and earned the name of Mission style decor.
While there are nuances that distinguish Mission style from Arts and Crafts, mostly in the use of the finishing touches and accents, both rely on heavy use of wood furniture as the foundation of the style as well as simple, clean lines in the design.
Let’s jump forward to current times and discuss how you can create an authentic Mission Style decor in your home.
Case goods are of wood construction, medium finish, linear in design (straight lines), with wood or sometimes glass tops. You won’t see any dainty, knock-me-over-with-a-feather looks here. Solid pieces, each with a presence of their own, characterize mission style decorating.
You’ll often see pieces with square wood spindles, as in the bedroom set pictured above, in this type of decor, and in fact is one of the most distinctive features found.
Each piece may include some interesting angles, but you won’t see much in the way of curvature in the construction.
Hardware such as drawer pulls are most often constructed of iron and may have a hand-forged look.
Upholstery may have a wood base and exposed wood arms. Fabric is simple and oftentimes a solid fabric as opposed to busy prints.
The most popular piece of Mission furniture in its day was the Morris chair. It was the first reclining/easy chair and is available in an updated version today, using original craftsmen construction methods if you want an authentic piece.
The color palette of Mission and Arts and Crafts style is natural and found in the colors of nature. Certainly neutrals are in order, with shades of brown, tan and cream finding a place in the room’s decor. Soft shades of tan could be a great choice for wall color.
Shades of green, gold, burnt orange and rusty red would make great accent colors.
However, the overall look of Mission style decorating is not wild and crazy colors, but rather the furnishings themselves that take center stage. Remember...simple, natural styling is the decorative road to travel here.
Window treatments should be simple and functional without an abundance of fabric. Wood blinds, side fabric panels, perhaps a valance...these are all viable options.
Finishing touches would include area rugs, lamps with wood or iron bases and perhaps a beveled glass shade.
Accessory pieces, including artwork, should be kept to a minimum, so don't go overboard and cover every inch of space with nic-nacs or wall art.
Remember that Mission style decorating is meant to respect nature, simple lines and classic colors of the outdoors. Stay true to these simple guidelines and create your own unique Arts and Crafts home.
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