Reckoning back to the early years of the 20th century, the craftsman house is full of charm and eclectic details. With painstaking decorative features, they provide art in small spaces. Cozy and full of quirks, the craftsman house dominated from 1905 to 1930.

Architectural exterior add-ons like gabled roofs, carved posts, and bracketed rafters show true artistry. Interior features include stained glass windows, carved doorframes, and built-in bookshelves and cabinets.

Many of the supporting structures — brackets, rafters, beams — were left exposed intentionally to show off the handiwork. Making the most of natural materials, hand-worked stone and wood are critical to the syle

Rising from the industrial revolution, the craftsman house is part of the Arts and Crafts movement in the U.S. and U.K. The builders focused on artistry over mass production. Craftsman homes feature hand-made detail by masters of their trade.

The traditional craftsman is a bungalow, considered on the small side by most modern Americans. They’re modestly sized, with high-peaked roofs featuring dormers and wide eaves. Large front porches supported by square, tapered columns are a hallmark of the traditional craftsman. As are the windows, many-paned on top, and often decorated with intricate framing and beveled glass.

Sometimes the style was expanded into the larger Four-Square style home. But as much as homeowners wanted the extras space for growing families, they aren’t considered as charming as the smaller versions.

The craftsman house is still high in demand for its beauty and utility. Popular with empty nesters and young couples, renovating a craftsman has a lot of appeal. The term “craftsman” alone drives more homebuyers to real estate listings, and garners higher prices.

Here are 15 great ideas to update your craftsman and make sure it keeps its original charm even when you upgrade and renovate.

1. Use a Color Scheme That Complements the Natural Materials.

Traditionally, craftsman homes are painted in neutral tones. This keeps the natural elements like stonework and brick from being overpowered.

But you can shake it up a bit by using muted tones of brighter colors on the trim. Shades of slate blue, warm caramels, and dusty reds all look fantastic.

great colors make good #bungalows awesome! #craftsmanstyle #bungalow Poughkeepsie, ny

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2. Add Vintage Lighting

Craftsman homes can seem dark to modern Americans because of their size. They’re small and use so many dark woods in the interior. This is the time to buy into the vintage industrial lighting trend.

3. Lighten Up the Kitchen

You can do the bright all-white kitchen in your craftsman and still retain the charm. Just choose natural materials, neutral contrast colors, and classic shapes for cabinetry. This will definitely add the feel of space.

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4. Build On to Existing Built-Ins

Built-in cabinetry was a hallmark of craftsman homes and part of their appeal. While the original hand-made built-ins are great, you can add more as you renovate the space.

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5. Stay in Proportion

Keep furniture small to stay in proportion to space. Benches with seating pads add storage on either side of a trestle dining table. Put them on casters so they tuck under neatly while not in use. Scrounge vintage stores for smaller furniture and an eclectic blend of styles.

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6. Combine the Old with the New

This combination of shaker cabinets with modern countertops and stainless steel appliances creates an updated craftsman look. The narrow width wood floors create length, making the room look larger. Against more utilitarian finishes, the arts and crafts door really shines.

7. Use Natural Materials

Period-appropriate materials for your renovations and any additions should be natural. When replacing flooring or adding cabinetry, use stained wood. Fireplaces and exterior paths and walls should be brick or stone.

8. Extend to the Outdoors

Add the feel of space by utilizing the outdoors as living spaces. Craftsman homes may seem cramped, so extend the design outside. Finish off the iconic front porch as a living space in good weather. Add a complimentary deck space in the back for entertaining. Using stained decking and stone pavers, you can create what feels like a whole extra room outdoors. Add some old rocking chairs for seating and a fire pit. Repurpose an old drafting table and stools for an outdoor bar.

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9. Sliding Doors

Barn doors and pocket doors fit right into the craftsman period while using up little floor space. If pocket doors are out of the budget, barn doors make an excellent substitute.

10. Whitewashed Wood

Sometimes the dark wood design can become overpowering. This whitewashed ceiling treatment adds light and height to the ceiling without obscuring any of the beautiful craftsman details.

11. Add Warm Light Throughout

Adding small, warm lights throughout the living spaces brings a homey glow to the craftsman home. Candles and cabinet lights bring out the texture of wood. Table lamps and scones complete the look.

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12. Keep Window Treatments to a Minimum

Let in extra natural light to open up a craftsman home. Sheer natural fabrics in light colors allow plenty of sunshine in.

13. Pay Attention to Detail

Craftsman style is all about the details. Source architectural salvage companies for in-period hardware. It’s time-consuming but otherwise easy to clean and refurbish. And so worth it.

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14. Keep it Quirky

Mix-and-match styles thoughtfully curated work well in a craftsman décor. Don’t get too stuck into era-accurate décor when it comes to decorative elements. Owners of Craftsman homes inherited Victorian era pieces and handed down their own. So a blend of styles in decorative pieces is expected. And so charming.

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15. Use Era Appropriate Color Tones

For both interior finishes and decorative pieces, look for popular colors from the era. Muted mauves and olive greens were popular holdovers from the Victorian age, but patterns were simpler.

The craftsman house is cozy and full of charm. With attention to artistry in every beam and rail, it’s no wonder they are becoming more popular with renovators. Just the right size for young or older couples, these homes offer Americana in every floorboard. Stick to authenticity in construction, but have fun with the details. Using period accurate materials and permanent finishes will preserve your craftsman’s authenticity and value. But, mixing it up with an eclectic style for furnishings and fixtures will let you keep it fresh and updated.

Featured Image: CC2.0 Creative Commons, Historic Craftsman House, Wallingford, Washington by Brew Books via Flickr

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