Tile by Style: The Spirit of the Craftsman 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, handpainted or subway tile backsplashes, and breakfast nooks and islands with bar stools made for gathering, Craftsman-style kitchens are highly functional while showcasing exceptional handmade artistry.
Discover the fundamentals while browsing 10 of our favorite craftsman kitchen ideas.
What is Craftsman Kitchen Style?
Also known as the Arts and Crafts Movement, Craftsman style originated in Britain at the turn of the 20th 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.
Tile Shown: Bryce Canyon 4x4 // Design: Sabrina Alfin Interiors // Image: Tim Coy
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.
Craftsman Kitchen Finishes
Craftsman kitchen design celebrates natural, locally sourced handmade materials.
Dark wood is hands down the champion of Craftsman style. The key building block throughout the home, wood will traditionally be stained to highlight the natural variations in the wood grain. This includes wood cabinets, wood floors, wood beams, and wood built-ins.
Since craftsman celebrates things handmade, custom cabinetry, like shaker cabinets, or at least custom cabinet doors will really bring home the craftsman details you’d like to create or preserve.
Today you’ll often find white cabinets or wood painted over with other colors for a more updated look, but the elements of Craftsman style will still shine through.
Tile Shown: Salton Sea 4x4 // Install: Arthur Krikor Halajian // Image: Stuart Lirette
Stone is also a dominant material found in an arts and crafts kitchen. Stone can be incorporated with marble, soapstone or granite countertops, flagstone floors, or a stone fireplace (every Craftsman needs at least one fireplace and not just in the living room).
When it comes to lighting, natural light is highly prioritized but square and pendant lighting will keep things lit after dark with a classic craftsman look.
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.
A farmhouse sink is a perfect pairing in a Craftsman kitchen.
Tile Shown: Salton Sea 2x8 // Design & Image: Max Lowe
Modern appliances didn’t exist at the dawn of Craftsman style but in today’s renovations, we tend to think stainless steel appliances work best with the materials and color palettes of Craftsman kitchens.
Craftsman Kitchen 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.
Our favorite tile colors to complement a Craftsman kitchen are Antique, Hunter Green, Feldspar, Sand Dune, Carbon, Cardamom, Tempest, and Magnolia w/ Black Patine.
Tile in the Craftsman Kitchen
Because of the versatility in today’s Craftsman designs, the possibilities for tile designs are virtually endless.
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.
Tile Shown: Handpainted pattern shown: Kabuki Sphere in the Dark Motif // Install: Kristin Reisinger & Space Craft, LLC // Image: Benjamin Hale
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.
Brick also goes perfectly with the natural elements of a Craftsman kitchen. Especially when a home is dominated by dark earth tones and wood, a Glazed Thin Brick in a light color can add a refreshing counterbalance.
Glass tile also gives a Craftsman home an updated quality while still staying true to the core principles of the design style.
Tile Shown: 2x4 Egret Matte // Design: Ollie Pop Design // Image: Belu Photography, Ollie Pop Design