Tile by Style: The Spirit of the Craftsman Kitchen | Fireclay Tile
Quick Ship Products ship in 5 days or less! >
Get five free samples >

Project Spotlight

Tile by Style: The Spirit of the Craftsman Kitchen

By Pearl

Tile by Style: The Spirit of the Craftsman Kitchen

Glass shown: 2 x 4 in Dew Drop, Forget Me Not, Spearmint and Plankton; Image: Dan Cutrona

What is Craftsman Style?

If your footwear of choice is Birkenstocks and you’re prone to taking long walks in the woods, you’ll likely fall in love with Craftsman style. But even if you consider yourself more of an urbanite, chances are you’ve been exposed to Craftsman style to some degree (and might even find it in your home).

Also known as the Arts and Crafts Movement, Craftsman style originated in Britain at the turn of the century as a response against the over-decorated, mass production of the Victorian style. Instead, followers of the Craftsman aesthetic valued hand craftsmanship and believed in truth to materials inherent to nature. Revering authenticity, simplicity, and harmony, the Craftsman movement was an important transition into modern design as we know it today.

Architectural Elements

Craftsman style’s rejection of Victorian style is evident in its strong lines. You’ll recognize a Craftsman home’s exterior by its low-pitched roof, supported by exposed rafter beams and decorative brackets beneath overhanging eaves. Tapered columns will flank the front door, which is also covered by the roof and is usually adjacent to a front porch. Shingle siding wraps around the exterior and is supported by a stone foundation.

Strong lines will continue to be a dominating theme as you enter the home, marked by exposed beams, multi-paned windows, rectangular lighting, and paneled walls. The Craftsman movement valued function over ornamentation, so you’ll often find built-in storage and shelving throughout the home.


Wood was hands down the champion of Craftsman style. The key building block throughout the home, wood will traditionally be left untreated to highlight the natural variations in the wood grain. Today you’ll often find the wood painted over with white or other colors for a more updated look, but the elements of Craftsman style will still shine through.

Stone is also a dominant material found in Craftsman style homes. From the exterior’s foundation to interior flooring, stone grounds the space and brings the beauty of the outdoors indoors.

Despite its general lack of ornamentation, Craftsman style homes frequently incorporated tile as a decorative element in the home. Handpainted tile was commonplace and depicted scenes from nature or designs inspired by the Art Nouveau movement. Today, authentic Craftsman tile is highly coveted and can be hard to come by. However, you can find an array of Handpainted tile at Fireclay to get the authentic Craftsman style you love.

Color Palette

Because it never wanted to stray too far from nature, the traditional Craftsman color palette featured warm and earthy tones. Rustic browns and muted greens dominated the space in an effort to blend in with the surrounding environment. Wood was left unpainted, allowing the natural beauty of the wood grain to be the main design element. In today’s Craftsman interiors you’ll find wood painted over in white, giving the traditional style a breath of fresh air while still paying tribute to its key structural characteristics.

Tile in the Kitchen

Craftsman kitchens are probably one of the most recognizable and sought-after kitchen styles. Defined by rich wood finishes, paneling, antiqued metal hardware, extensive built-in storage and cabinetry, tile backsplashes, and breakfast nooks and islands made for gathering, Craftsman style kitchens offer a seamless bridge between classic and contemporary.

Because of the versatility in today’s Craftsman designs, the possibilities for tile designs are virtually endless.

Glass shown: 2 x 4 in Dew Drop, Forget Me Not, Spearmint and Plankton; Image: Dan Cutrona

If you’re looking to achieve an authentic Craftsman look, a Handpainted backsplash can add just the right amount of ornamentation while keeping the rest of your space neutral.

Handpainted pattern shown: Kabuki Sphere in the Dark Motif

Check out some of our exclusive Handpainted tiles for a statement backsplash in your traditional Craftsman kitchen:

Handpainted patterns shown: Snow Flower, Kabuki Sphere, Elephant Star, San Carlos, Old Cairo, and Murietta

Since a traditional craftsman home is dominated by wood and stone finishes, tile can also be a way to inject a splash of color to your space.

Explore our favorite nature-inspired hues that can still add a kick of flavor to your kitchen:

Tile colors shown: Basil, Spruce Gloss, Clover, Sea Foam and Martinique

Stone backsplashes were also common throughout Craftsman kitchens. Although we don’t offer stone tile at this time, you can replicate the look by using a blend of gray and white tile.

Want to get a stone-inspired wall? May we suggest:

Tile colors shown: Halite, Oyster Shell and Driftwood

Love this look? Order free samples now. Need some help? Simply call, chat or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly.