A Craftsman Home Has Character, Style and Lots of History

A craftsman home is a highly sought after type of house. Lots of people who go house shopping look for a place with character.

Craftsman Homes

Usually, that means something old and a little bit worn around the edges. The kind of place that feels like home before you even move your boxes in. A true and honest craftsman-style home has that draw among all the old houses on the street.

It exudes personality from every nook and cranny, beckoning you to sit awhile on its strong stone steps. So while you’re on the market for a new home, keep your eyes open for those beautiful old homes. Here’s everything you need to know about craftsman-style architecture. Also, you can check other house-style ideas.

What Makes a House a Craftsman House?

What Makes a House a Craftsman House

Most people, when they think of a Craftsman-style house, imagine a quaint log cabin. But that’s not exactly the case. The term Craftsman refers to a home, regardless of materials, with key design aspects. These include:

  • A front porch that’s totally covered
  • Tapered columns for supporting the roof
  • Roof eaves that overhang more than standard eaves
  • Large, peaked triangle-shaped roofs (low-pitch gable)

What’s the Difference Between Bungalow and Craftsman?

The craftsman-style architecture features all of the elements we’ve mentioned above. Whereas a Bungalow style home can include these aspects. However, they are usually plain in design and always a single-level. Bungalows sometimes have a basement, but never two stories. 

A Craftsman is often a two-story home but can be a bungalow. So, to sum it up, you can have three types: a bungalow, a Craftsman, and a Craftsman bungalow.

Craftsman History

Craftsman-style homes began appearing in the late 1800s to early 1900s in several styles with the advent of the Arts and Crafts Movement. They gained popularity because people were ready to put mass production behind them in favor of homes with character and durability. Moreover, the arts and crafts style fits the bill perfectly.

At the same time, many wanted to move away from the cluttered look of Victorian architecture. The craftsman movement was fresh and new, and so people took to the craftsman style to fill the void. The simple, clear-cut lines of the home’s exterior walls were a refreshing change from all the Victorian frills.

How Craftsmen Homes Got Their Name


These homes earned their name from a craftsman magazine published in 1901 called The Craftsman that featured homes and furniture styles of the day.

The arts and crafts style continued in popularity until the World Wars when modernists took over the trends but even then, the craftsman wouldn’t be forgotten, making a comeback in the 1990s.  You probably recognize it more recently from many classic 90’s movies. Creating a home that feels warm and cozy is a goal for all of us, but craftsman-style architecture makes this extra easy.

How to Identify Craftsman Homes

There are four kinds of craftsman-style homes: Prairie, Mission, Four-Square, and Bungalow. The bungalow is the classic arts and crafts style we all know and love. Usually, they are wood or stone and have broad roofs.


One of the easiest ways to identify Craftsman-style architecture is from the wide porches supported by masonry or wood pillars.

Interior Characteristics of Craftsman Style Homes:

Indoors, craftsman homes feature many wood elements like built-in cabinets, wood floors, and open beams.

Craftsman-style homes usually boast a grand fireplace which is a major selling point for those living in cold climates.

Here’s a rundown of what you can expect on the inside of a Craftsman home:

  • Lots of wood trim, often stained a dark brown
  • Large picture window or bay window on the front of the house
  • Built-in benches, shelves, and cabinets to increase storage space
  • Stone fireplace
  • Exposed wood ceiling beams
  • Neutral, earthy color palettes

How a Craftsman Living Room Looks

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

When we said “grand fireplace,” we really meant grand. This stone arts and crafts beauty stretches two stories high, making you look up and notice all the exposed beams and natural materials that this craftsman-style room embraces.

Many craftsman-style fireplaces are flanked by built-ins like bookshelves or cabinets. In craftsman house plans, the fireplace layout is fairly standard for the arts and crafts style. One of the main stone accents in the house is the fireplace. 

Wood Trim and Beams

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Wooden trim is a major highlight in a craftsman-style home or craftsman bungalow, sometimes making its way up the ceiling. Wood is the main natural material that dominates craftsman-style houses.

Some homeowners choose to paint the thick trim in craftsman-style homes.  If you’re finding your space is looking too dark and heavy, consider painting your trim white. It will give you that sweet farmhouse look that many are so eager to adopt.

Craftsmen Built-Ins

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Sometimes, when built-ins are mismatched, it can be tempting to tear them out altogether. Resist the urge. Many craftsman house plans have very little storage space. So you’ll want all the built-in bookshelves you can get.


Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Arts and Crafts style homes feature unique windows. Some are stained glass, while others may be large with multiple panes. If you’re replacing windows, consider the house plans carefully and assess how your home will look without the extra panes.

One great way to save on window replacements is to thrift your windowpanes and have them installed by professionals. Look for those stained glass arts and crafts beauties from other buildings to add a bit of flair to your craftsman-style space.

Craftsman House with Built-in Benches

Craftsman House with Built-in Benches

Built-in benches were another element of the craftsman movement. Some might see them as inconvenient, but when used correctly, they add depth and extra seating to the room. If your craftsman-style house doesn’t have them already, consider adding them to your fireplace.


Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Coffered ceilings and exposed beams became popular during the craftsman movement. If you have a coffered ceiling in your craftsman-style home, consider yourself lucky. 

Craftsman House with Character

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Speaking of character, many craftsman-style homes have so much that you want to preserve as much of it as possible. This means finding interesting ways to use those nooks and crannies that won’t fit a regular couch. 

Shiplap in a Craftsman

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Want to combine your craftsman-style home with farmhouse style? Add some shiplap. When you let the grain show through, it will help to blend with the rest of the wood around your home.

Craftsman Kitchen Decor

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

A classic craftsman-style kitchen is bound to hold two things: wood flooring and wood cabinetry. Along with all the arts and crafts wood trim, it’s a lot of brown, so making contrasting color choices is important to make your countertop and your backsplash stand out.

Craftsman Home Lighting

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Pay close attention to your lighting in such a warm, woody space. Hanging sconces help you get the light where you want it.

While we’re talking about the ceiling, let’s focus on those gorgeous beams for a minute. When you already have them in your craftsman-style living space, it makes sense to continue them in the kitchen for that rustic arts and crafts look.

Wall Color

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Pining for some color in your traditional craftsman-style kitchen? Take a leap and paint your kitchen walls a contrasting shade. It will bring personality to your space and draw attention to the craftsman details of the room.

Adding a Modern Touch

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

It’s pretty amazing what a good set of cabinetry hardware can do when you want to blend two styles together. Sleek modern pulls on wood cabinet doors can be just the touch of modernity that your craftsman-style kitchen needed to bring it up to date.

White Craftsman Style Kitchen

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Is all that wood too much for you? That’s okay. It’s your house, so paint those cabinets a creamy white that makes you happy. You’ll still keep all the craftsman architectural style, just in a lighter color.

Large Craftsman Kitchen

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Big families require more space. If your family is finding it hard to fit into your kitchen, consider opening it up to your other living areas and adding a large island. Your craftsman kitchen will be a space the whole family can enjoy.

Another great option for extra seating space is to replace cabinets with a breakfast nook area. It will blend into your craftsman-style kitchen and provide that necessary coloring and homework zone for dinner prep time.

But, don’t think that just because you live in a craftsman-style house, you have to continue with the craftsman style completely. Paint your cabinets, replace doors and lighting, and do whatever you need to do to make your craftsman kitchen a space you will enjoy.

Bedroom Inspiration Design Ideas

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Consistent with the rest of the home, even a craftsman-style bedroom is decked in wood trim. You can’t get away from gorgeous woody windows, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have some built-ins too. It certainly makes styling more fun.

Many times, a craftsman bedroom will be tucked away beneath the eaves of the house. This was very typical of the arts and crafts movement, which created pitched ceilings and odd little corners. Embrace the unique space and find a way to use the area as best you can.

Opening Up the Ceiling

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

If you’re really squished into your little craftsman bedroom, consider opening the ceiling to the roofing beams above. As long as your home’s climate doesn’t get too hot in the summer months, your space should stay comfortable even without the extra padding.

If you like the exposed beams look but can’t manage to tear out your insulation, put up some beams of your own. Make sure you match the rest of your craftsman’s wood, and no one will know they aren’t original.

Craftsman Home Closets

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Let’s not forget about storage. When you live in an old craftsman, you might need to add a closet to your bedroom, and this is where those strange sloped nooks come in handy.  Often in this architectural style, the space by the window can become a window seat, a common feature in houses of the arts and crafts movement.

Fireplace in a Bedroom

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Every so often, a craftsman bedroom comes with a fireplace. If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your bedroom, make it the arts and crafts focal point of your space.

Like the downstairs rooms, sometimes, an authentic craftsman can have small bedrooms that don’t quite fit modern-day furniture. Don’t be hesitant to tear into the next-door bedroom for that extra space if need be.

Paint and Trims

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

It’s a general rule that as long as you’re keeping the unique aspects like old arts and crafts movement window frames, wide trim, and squeaky doors, you can do whatever you want. So when you want to paint your bedroom a more modern color, you don’t have to worry about it.

Craftsman House with Shiplap Bedroom

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Shiplap in the bedroom? You’ve got it. It’s a great way to hide the past mistakes that you’re prone to find in the bedrooms of old homes. Meanwhile, it blends in with the heavy trim like it was meant to be there all along.

Exterior of Craftsman Homes

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

One major advantage of older craftsman homes is the landscaping. When the home comes with age, you get mature trees and large landscaping to go with it. It means an instantly gorgeous house without breaking your back to get there. In many ways, landscaping completes what the arts and crafts movement is all about.

Craftsman House with Large Shrubs

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Bushes are fun landscaping options because they’re so versatile. This is especially true for the ones that you can shape yourself. Let yours grow a little bigger than average to create some privacy on your big craftsman front porch. With the right kinds of bushes, you can enhance the look of the home’s exterior walls.

Feel free to keep things simple if you prefer. With one sprawling bush on each side of the porch, you have instant beautiful landscaping, and all you have to do is add more mulch in the spring.

Plant a Tree

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Want your beds to make a real statement on the block? Plant a tree by the porch. Not a very large one but something that will help give your view more height and interest.

When you have large landscaping beds and not a lot of time to care for them, it’s time to think of a different way to fill them. Ivy will do just that. Such a low ground cover allows for other bushes and trees to stand tall and create effortless beauty. This type of landscaping also highlights the tapered columns on the porch.

Big Beautiful Garden Beds

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

If you have a green thumb and love to be out in your garden, by all means, make your beds even bigger. Bright floral beds will give your craftsman a cottage-y feel, not to mention nurture your gardening hobby. It will go right along with the heritage of the arts and crafts movement and help highlight the wood siding.

Natural Landscaping Border

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

You might think that little bushes have no place in the yard of your stately craftsman. You can however use them as a neat and tidy border rather than putting up a fence. All the green makes the white tapered columns stand out prominently.

Another option is a rose bush. By filling your flower beds with them, you can get away with tending only roses instead of needing three or four kinds of plants to round it out.

Mixing Up the Plants

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Looking for a contrasting yet complementary kind of landscaping? Try something that’s wavy and feathery. Ornamental grasses, ferns, or palms will all add a touch of gracefulness to your broad craftsman porch and thick craftsman beams.

Related: 50 House Colors To Convince You To Paint Yours

Don’t forget to add layers for dimension. Even if all your plants are green, choosing them at different heights will give your beds a professional look, even if you have no idea what you’re doing.

Elevated Craftsman Home

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

If your house is set high up with a sloping front yard,  think of layers in a literal sense. Creating stair step beds lets you make the most of your square footage, plus you won’t have to mow the hill.

However, if you’re not into the stair step idea and would rather have a lawn, consider raising the entire lawn to match the front of your house. It might be a little pricey, but you give yourself a little more privacy in the process.

Grow Veggies in Your Garden

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Some people prefer to use their yard space more productively. If that’s you, instead of filling your space with frivolous flowers and bushes, build raised beds for a vegetable garden and use the mulched areas for herbs. 

If your craftsman offers all the opportunities for wrap-around landscaping, take it.  The added plantings will highlight the wood siding as well.

Newer craftsman homes need to be careful with landscaping. It’s tempting to make your beds according to the size of your bushes now. However, when they grow, they will be crammed together. 

Craftsman House Front Door Idea

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

Last but certainly not least, think long and hard about your front door. When the rest of your home is old, it can help freshen the place up to paint your front door a bright color. Something that whispers of your own personality and your family. It’s the perfect welcome on any craftsman front porch.

Craftsman-Style Home Decor Ideas

Now that you know about craftsman homes, their history, and what makes them special, it might be worth checking out a few examples of actual homes designed to follow the arts and crafts movement.

Charming Minnesota craftsman on a private nature preserve

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

This beautiful home was a project by studios Aspect Design Build and Vintage Elements, who worked together to create a place that has lots of character and fits well into its surroundings. The site is part of a private nature preserve in the Deephaven region of Minnesota and has lots of greenery, big trees, and a beautiful pond stretching around it.

The house has five bedrooms and features a dark color palette on the outside, which helps better blend into the landscape. Inside it’s bright, featuring a big living area filled with natural light, a large kitchen with access to a screened porch, and big windows that invite the beautiful views to become a part of the interior décor.

A Craftsman-Style Mountain Home in North Carolina

A Craftsman-Style Mountain Home in North Carolina

This is a pretty big craftsman-style home that offers a total of 5,130 square feet of living space. What helps it stand out the most, however, is not its size but the diversity in its design.

Beautiful Craftsman Style Landscaping

This was a project created by studio Living Stone Design + Build in collaboration with ID.ology Interiors & Design.

An Updated Craftsman Cottage in Portland

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

The renovation of a craftsman-style home can be quite tricky and usually involves preserving some of the original details while adding in a few modern elements.

This craftsman cottage from West Hills, Portland, was remodeled by studio Garrison Hulliger Interior Design and can now be characterized as a wonderful and organic blend of contemporary and traditional design elements, as well as natural materials.

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

The idea was to maintain the character and charm but also to make it look a bit more interesting. The new bright yellow front door is a perfect reflection of how the old and the new have been combined in an updated arts and crafts movement.

Layered craftsman wood garage stone steps

The interior is filled with lots of natural light and has quirky furnishings and decorations

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Do craftsman-style homes have basements?

Not always, but they can. It’s not a determining factor of the style. 

Are craftsman homes good quality?

Absolutely. They’re built to be strong and sturdy with large beams and tapered support posts. 

Why are they called craftsman houses?

There was a craftsman magazine created and published back in the early 1900s by designer Gustav Stickle. It was called “Craftsman” and featured custom-built homes with an artsy, unique vibe that fell in with the arts and crafts movement.