When Frank Lloyd Wright was designing homes in his "Prairie Style" in the early 20th century, many people believed that he was the father of this new form of architecture. As it turns out, the style goes back even further. Prairie style is the more modern version of something called Craftsman style. This design approach has its roots in 1860s England, when the natural materials and sleek lines of the Arts and Crafts Movement began to permeate homes.
A handful of architects that include Frank Lloyd Wright brought the style to the States at the start of the 20th century, and the rest is history. It's a style that manages to look both traditional and modern, even though it's 120 years later. Many homeowners seek out well-preserved Craftsman homes, giving contemporary updates to the living rooms. Sadly, not everyone is lucky enough to live in the real deal, but that doesn't mean that you can't enjoy the style, too.
1. Go modern with an airy palette.
A Craftsman living room is typically marked by heavy, dark woods, but to give your space a more modern feel, you can turn to white walls. In the heart of this home, belonging to Robert and Christina of New Darlings, even the fireplace has been painted white, creating a look that's fresh and still stays true to Craftsman style.
2. Choose vintage details.
To really honor Craftsman design, you can choose to incorporate furnishings and even lighting that nod to the style. Tiffany lamps have always been a popular choice for this aesthetic, so why not follow the lead of Joanna from Jojotastic and install a Tiffany-style chandelier? The final result will feel oh-so-charming.
3. Mix modern and throwback pieces.
The good news is that in a Craftsman living room, you don't need to go all modern or all vintage. In fact, we think a mix looks best nowadays. For instance, in this space by Bright Designlab, a vintage coffee table and midcentury-inspired armchairs live comfortably alongside a super-modern chandelier.
4. Make a fireplace the focal point.
If you want to go all in with a Craftsman living room, there's one detail you can't overlook: the fireplace. Known among devotees as the heart of the home, a fireplace is key. You can make it the anchor of the entire room by covering it in chic, contemporary tile, like the blue option selected for this fireplace surround.
5. Include stained glass.
6. Don’t be afraid to go heavy.
7. Play with shapes.
Sure, the retro style tends to stick to clean lines and old-school millwork, but that doesn't mean you can't put your own spin on your Craftsman living room. Experiment with abstract shapes to make it look completely unexpected, a look perfected in this space belonging to Holly Stack, spotlighted on the West Elm blog Front + Main.
8. Stay true to tradition.
9. Make it cozy.
10. Keep original elements.
When moving into a Craftsman home, don't be too quick to remove original features in lieu of new ones — maintain authenticity by keeping the original flooring and fireplace. You can always refresh things with a coat of paint while still upholding traditional visuals, which is exactly what Emily Netz did in this living room showcased on Retro Den.
11. Contemporary colors will work.
12. Be eclectic.
As is true in most situations, there are always opportunities to give your space unique flair by weaving in eclectic decor. This can be especially true of a Craftsman living room. For example, in this 100-year-old home, midcentury furniture and a traditional coffee table play well with the modern-meets-traditional Native American artwork above the fireplace.