Arts and Crafts style kitchens are characterized by their emphasis on high-quality natural materials, artisanal craftsmanship, and simple yet striking architectural details. Embodying the aesthetic philosophy of the late 19th and early 20th century Arts and Crafts movement, these kitchens offer an inviting warmth and rustic charm that never seems to go out of style.

Characteristics of Arts and Crafts Style Kitchens

Natural Materials

Arts and Crafts kitchens showcase natural materials like wood, stone, and clay used in their raw, unadulterated form. Wood surfaces are left plain or finished with a simple oil or wax to reveal the natural grain. Stone surfaces are unpolished and rough-hewn. Terracotta, fired clay, and glazed ceramic tiles add handcrafted textures and earthy colors. Metals are wrought iron or hammered copper. Natural linen, burlap, and cotton provide soft contrast. The overall effect places an emphasis on organic textures and harmony with nature.


The hallmark of Arts and Crafts style is quality craftsmanship, with an emphasis on handiwork and artisanal construction techniques. Wood joinery is precise and exposed to highlight the masterful skill of the carpenter. Stone and brickwork patterns add structural details. Forged metal hardware and handmade tilework add artistic expression. The craftsperson’s mark is left intentionally visible instead of concealed. This gives Arts and Crafts kitchens a sense of enduring, lovingly-made construction meant to last for generations.

Architectural Details

Clean lines, geometric forms, and structures reduced to their essential elements define the architecture of Arts and Crafts style. Yet within this simplicity is intricate handcrafted detail. Exposed wood beams and braces, conditioned on large brackets add textural interest and a feeling of solid craftsmanship. Multi-pane windows and leaded glass built-ins filter light beautifully. Niches, arches, and alcoves create charming spaces for displaying handmade pottery. A thoughtfully planned layout with quality finishes results in an efficient kitchen that feels like a piece of functional art.

History of the Arts and Crafts Kitchen

The Arts and Crafts movement originated in England in the 1860s as a reaction against the mass production and inferior quality of the Industrial Revolution. Led by designers such as William Morris, the movement called for a return to traditional craftsmanship and simple forms inspired by nature. Arts and Crafts ideals were closely aligned with social reform efforts, emphasizing the dignity of craft labor and high-quality workmanship.

The architectural style spread internationally, gaining popularity in Europe and North America from the 1890s through the 1930s. In the United States, it was a major influence on the American Craftsman style. Well-known architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes emphasizing Arts and Crafts principles. The open layouts, natural materials, and handcrafted details were perfectly suited to kitchen spaces.

Arts and Crafts kitchens were designed as efficient, beautiful places conducive to preparing and enjoying meals with family and friends. They represent a celebration of craft, nature, and community that continues to inspire kitchen design today. Many elements have come to define the quintessential cozy Arts and Crafts kitchen.

Key Designers and Influences

  • Greene and Greene – Brothers Charles and Henry Greene were leading architects of the American Arts and Crafts style in California, designing elaborately detailed homes emphasizing fine woodwork. Their kitchens had built-in cabinets, shelves, and seating nooks, as well as large stone fireplaces for cooking.
  • Gustav Stickley – His magazine The Craftsman spread Arts and Crafts ideas nationwide. He sold furniture and home plans featuring open-spaced kitchens with attractive storage solutions.
  • Julia Morgan – She designed idyllic kitchens in Arts and Crafts homes, using unfinished wood, colorful tiles, windows, and skylights to bring nature indoors.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright – His prairie-style homes emphasized horizontal lines, natural light, and cozy hearths in kitchen spaces.
  • William Morris – The leading figure of England’s movement, his wallpaper and textile designs featuring natural forms became hallmarks of Arts and Crafts style.

Defining Features of Arts and Crafts Kitchens

Natural Wood Cabinetry

The abundant use of wood in cabinetry, countertops, and architectural accents is an essential part of an Arts and Crafts kitchen. Rich wood grain left unpainted and unfinished creates a warm, organic feel. Popular choices are oak, maple, cherry, and fir, generally left plain or treated with a light stain, oil or wax to protect and subtly enhance the wood’s natural beauty.

The most common cabinetry style features visible hinges, knobs or handles in a metal like wrought iron. Doors and drawers have inset panels surrounded by wide frames instead of a seamless flat surface. Embellished wood corbels and brackets support open shelves. Drawers might include hand-hammered copper pulls. Simplicity and functionality are key, but with finely crafted touches.

Stone and Brickwork

Natural stone and masonry add organic texture and earthy hues that complement the wood cabinetry. Fieldstone, flagstone, or rough-cut limestone form backsplashes, hearths, and accent walls. Weathered bricks make attractive fireplace surrounds and nooks.

Granite, soapstone, or slate provide sturdy countertop surfaces. Natural clay tile in earthy reds and soft neutrals cover walls and floors. Stone and tile with visible veining, chips, and imperfections add to the handmade, Old World charm.

Windows and Lighting

Arts and Crafts kitchens are designed to welcome in natural light and views of the outdoors. Multiple windows, skylights, and glass-front cabinets keep the space bright and airy. When artificial lighting is needed, fixtures tend to be wrought iron or hammered metal pendants, sconces, and chandeliers with exposed bulbs or candles.

Many kitchens incorporate stained or leaded glass panels in cabinets or windows for beautiful, diffused light. Handblown glass lamps and vases designed in the Arts and Crafts aesthetic add to the ambiance.

Cozy Fireplaces

Masonry fireplaces serve as a focal point, providing warmth on chilly days. Arts and Crafts kitchen fireplaces are designed with care, showcasing natural stone, exposed brick, or stucco surrounds. They often include built-in cabinetry, shelving, and ovens to integrate into the cooking workflow.

Copper pots and handmade ceramic bakeware adorn the mantle, with iron hardware like cranes, hooks, and kettle holders adding functionality. The fireside provides a welcoming spot for relaxing and becomes the heart of the kitchen.

The Allure of Arts and Crafts Kitchens

The popularity of Arts and Crafts kitchen design has endured thanks to its timeless, welcoming style. The emphasis on craftsmanship and natural materials creates kitchens with rustic warmth and an authentic feel. Open layouts promote togetherness, made even cozier with a fireplace hearth to gather around.

While Arts and Crafts style is rooted in simplicity, the thoughtful details add character and artistry. The final effect is an informal, livable kitchen space equally suited to preparing hearty family meals or hosting joyful gatherings with friends. It’s no surprise many homeowners today seek to emboss that handmade charm in their own kitchens.

Design Ideas for Achieving the Look

The most authentic Arts and Crafts kitchens are found in well-preserved homes originally built between 1900 and 1930. Homeowners desiring the cozy style in a modern home have ample opportunities to incorporate it in creative ways. While high-quality natural materials are at the foundation, several key elements can achieve an inviting Arts and Crafts feel.

Natural Wood Cabinets

The must-have element is genuine wood cabinetry, finished to accentuate the wood grain with light stains and oils. Stock cabinetry comes in Craftsman-style designs, with visible hinges, inset doors, and simple hardware. Custom-built cabinetry offers more options for specialty woods and built-ins tailored to your space.

Open shelving, glass cabinet fronts, and interior lighting show off handmade pottery and beautiful craft pieces. Warm wood instantly creates the rustic yet refined Arts and Crafts ambiance.

Stone and Brickwork

Natural stone or exposed bricks around a wood-burning stove or fireplace make a bold statement. More budget-friendly ways to incorporate stone and brick include backsplashes, range hood surrounds, and accent walls or niches.

Handmade subway tile, stacked stone tile, or reclaimed bricks add organic texture. Include natural greys, tans, brown, and red tones for an earthy feel.

Leaded Glass

Stained, leaded, or textured glass panels make a big decorative impact. Use clear leaded glass cabinet inserts, pendant lights, or a kitchen window pane to filter incoming light beautifully.

Look for designs with vines, flowers, leaves, and other Arts and Crafts motifs. Display colorful glassware in open cabinets to enhance the handcrafted charm.

Metal Accents

Wrought iron fixtures, handles, and decorative accents add an antiqued, hand-forged look. Hammered copper pots and pans reference Arts and Crafts metalworking skills. DisplayStatement lighting like an iron chandelier or sputnik pendant makes a striking focal point.

Arts and Crafts Accessories

Handmade ceramic tiles, pottery, baskets, and textiles rooted in Arts and Crafts design complete the look. Paintings, posters, and prints by William Morris add recognizable patterns and colors. Use authentic touches and materials without veering too far into rustic kitsch. Aim for simplicity with high-quality craftsmanship.

Tips for a Seamless Design

  • Choose multi-purpose furnishings like an island with bench seating and storage to save space.
  • Incorporate natural greenery and flowers to accentuate the connection with nature.
  • Add warmth with textures like cotton throws, linen curtains, and cozy area rugs.
  • Select durable materials to stand the test of time, like solid woods, oil-rubbed metals, and natural stones.
  • Include handmade pottery, woodcuts, weavings, and glasswork by local artisans.
  • If desired, adapt the old-fashioned look with modern conveniences like concealed appliances and LED lighting.
  • Display favorite books, crafts projects, and specialty cooking tools to enhance the handmade personality.

By thoughtfully blending authentic and contemporary elements, Arts and Crafts style can be adapted to suit modern homeowners while preserving its nostalgic, craftsman charm. The natural materials and intuitive design result in kitchens meant to be lived in and enjoyed for years to come.

Common Questions about Arts and Crafts Kitchens

What is the difference between Craftsman and Arts & Crafts style?

Craftsman refers specifically to the American Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1900s, influenced by the English movement. The terms are often used interchangeably when describing Craftsman-style architecture and furnishings emphasizing simple forms, natural materials, and craftsmanship.

What colors are best for an Arts and Crafts kitchen?

Natural wood stains, earth tones like sage and mossy greens, deep reds, soft yellows, and neutrals like stone, tan, and black establish the organic, Craftsman palette. Pops of darker teal, copper, or navy blue add character. Avoid stark whites and very light colors that feel too modern.

What flooring works best for this style?

Natural stone like slate, travertine, or limestone, as well as handmade ceramic tile, brick, and hardwoods complement the natural look. Wide planked oak or hickory floors stained in an earthy tone are typical.

What countertops work well in Arts and Crafts kitchens?

Butcher block, concrete, soapstone, and granite suit the raw, organic style. Tilecountertops with an uneven handmade feel or a mosaic pattern also align with the aesthetics. Avoid sleek surfaces like quartz or solid surface that feel too refined.

Should backsplashes be included?

Definitely. Stone and handmade tile backsplashes provide texture and color behind ranges or around prep areas. Use natural materials like stacked slate and multicolored ceramic accents that feel aged and organic.

How can I add character to standard cabinetry?

Swap out hardware for wrought iron pulls and hinges. Remove doors entirely for open shelving. Add handmade ceramic knobs. Install leaded or colored glass in cabinet doors. Use butcher block for a wood counter accent. Display collectibles to personalize.

What about kitchen appliances and fixtures?

Aim for an unfitted look. Select appliances in classic white, stainless, or muted colors like grey-blue that blend in. Have visual clutter like pipes, wires, and vents concealed. Choose pendant lights or sconces with exposed bulbs to keep a vintage vibe. Let architecture details like stone and wood take center stage.

Is this style only suited to large kitchens?

Not at all. Clever storage solutions like larders, butler’s pantries, and built-in cabinetry prevent clutter. Multi-purpose island carts that store tools save space while adding charming style. Use glass-front cabinets only where needed. The key is thoughtfully planning the layout and editing down to the essentials.


With their timeless emphasis on craftsmanship and organic textures, Arts and Crafts kitchens create a warm, welcoming place to gather for meals and memories. The enduring popularity of this humble yet beautiful style pays tribute to the enduring values of quality workmanship. Arts and Crafts kitchens remains as relevant today as a celebration of family, nature, and the simple act of cooking and sharing wholesome food.

By incorporating natural materials like stone, wood, and tile with handcrafted details and an efficient, intuitive layout, the Arts and Crafts aesthetic can be adapted beautifully to suit modern lifestyles. The charm lives on in any kitchen thoughtfully designed to nourish both the body and the soul.