What is a Craftsman Style Home?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

The Craftsman style home was a revolution in American architectural design, and houses of this style were built all over the nation between 1905 and 1930. In the late part of the 20th century, the style became popular again, with architects restoring older houses and building new replicas. Like many design elements of the Arts and Crafts period, the Craftsman home is a work of art as well as a functioning dwelling. It has a distinctive style that is instantly recognizable to architecture students, contractors, and aficionados of the Arts and Crafts movement.

A Craftsman-style home.
A Craftsman-style home.

Several designers, including Gustav Stickley, Charles Sumner Greene, and Henry Mather Greene, popularized this style of home. All of these men were iconic figures in the Arts and Crafts movement, and the style became a natural extension of the furniture and art they created. The Craftsman has its roots in the bungalow, a low slung, comfortable home that originated in India.

A Craftsman home is is typically one story tall and has a low, gentle sloping roof, although some also have attics and dormers. The house usually has wide eaves above a deep porch, which has distinctive square pillars. The roof rafters are traditionally exposed, while the inside of the home has many built-in cabinets, nooks, seating, and shelving. The interior beams of the house are usually exposed and used as decorative elements as well.

Houses in this style usually have an open floor plan, which facilitates the display of large art pieces as well as big gatherings. In addition, the house plays with negative space to highlight accents of the home, while also using space very efficiently. Most also incorporate Arts and Crafts style light fixtures, which are an integral part of the home design rather than an afterthought. Some also feature stained glass windows to provide a play of light as well as privacy.

A traditionally built Craftsman is modest, and takes advantage of the site it is located on. Usually, the home is positioned to greet the sun and is surrounded by a large garden. In addition, the home uses local materials where possible, and sometimes even materials from the site of the home, such as timber or rock. Natural materials play a big role in the style, with local stone lining fireplaces or local woods being used for decorative accents.

Patterns for Craftsman homes are readily available, with many publishers reprinting original designs from the turn of the 20th century. The style is designed to be a home for life — a solid, beautiful, and simple dwelling that will serve homeowners well.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


My daughter has a home with natural wood doors, molding and arches between dining/living room and living room/hall. It is not a craftsman, but seems to lend itself to this style of decorating.

She has a piece of stained glass as a focal point in the front window. We are repainting, beginning with the bedrooms, and are having trouble picking colors. Suggestions?


We live in a condo on the ground floor of a 2-story, 3000 square foot craftsman-style home built in 1901 in Berkeley, CA. I am just wondering if it's a real craftsman. The upstairs unit still has original inlays, such as bookshelves, fireplace, and storage areas in their dining room.

I'm assuming whoever renovated the house ripped out everything on the ground floor to make room for two units.


I have a Classic Dutch Craftsman Style home and love it! I was wondering where I can find accenting furniture and fixtures for our home. I am looking for antique stuff as well as new replicated furniture and fixtures .

-Thank You


Good morning, We have a 1914 Craftman Home and we love it. However, my wife and I are curious to know if you could answer this question? In our home the closets all have locks so you can lock them from the outside, we are perplexed. Why would you want to have a lock on the outside of a closet door? It is not a keyed lock. Just a simple toggle style.

thank you


Many of the older homes in California, known as California Bungalows, are built in the craftsman style. There are Chicago Bungalows too.

Post your comments
Forgot password?