Mission Style Decorating for Your Home

A clean, simple, casual and comfortable style – the mission style of decoration is an excellent way to create a calm and beautiful interior. This style is characterized by geometric lines and flat panels that celebrated the beauty of wood grain and the elegant simplicity of understated items.

Mission style decorating is often also referred to as the Craftsman style. This style became a popular manifestation of the Arts and Crafts movement in America.

History of Mission Style

To help you understand and appreciate the style more, here’s a short history. The Arts and Crafts movement was a style and design philosophy created by the reaction of artists and thinkers to the wave of industrialization that arose over the English society in the mid-1900s. It was a set of ideals that recognized the value of craftsmen and appreciated the design and quality they put into furniture and style. During that time, mass-produced goods were becoming more popular, since they make things more cheaply and quickly, and craftspeople can’t compete with that. The Arts and Crafts movement was a reaction to the industrialized design that created items with cheap ornamentation. Their antidote was to create goods that are practical and affordable by the people. This also grew out of a backlash against the earlier Victorian style, which they thought as excessive, impractical and hideously ugly.

Just right before the 1900s, this philosophy was just beginning to take hold in the US. Architects and artists were influenced by the changes, as they traveled to other countries. The founders of Craftsman style Gustav Stickley, Elbert Hubbard, and Frank Lloyd Wright all went to England and returned with fresh new ideas. Each of them had a significant influence in the field of architecture and design and helped developed the American movement. Craftsman style became an American expression of the European Arts and Crafts movement. The name was coined by Gustav Stickley, which came from his monthly publication The Craftsman.

The term “Mission,” as referring to the Craftsman style, was introduced when Joseph McHugh in New York introduced his furniture line as “Mission Furniture.” This furniture espouses the styles and ideals of the Craftsman style, so the two terms became synonymous.

If you want to adopt the mission style of decorating in your home, here are some guidelines to follow:

1. Use an earthy color scheme.
The choice of color makes a great impact in achieving the style you wanted. The great thing about the mission style is that although it is not considered a modern style, it uses a current color palette in sync with today’s trend towards earthy tones. Arts and Crafts, as well as the Craftsman style, used a lot of materials that came from natural and local sources like wood and stone. Focus on the colors such as greens, browns, tans, blues, grays, burgundy, gold, burnt orange and muted rose.
Since the mission style is heavily influenced by the Prairie style of Frank Lloyd Wright, it has some room for bolder colors used as accents, such as bright yellow, bold red and deep turquoise. But only use them sparingly. Keep woods unpainted and with a natural finish or warm stain.

2. Keep furniture lines straight and simple.
Mission style furniture is all about straight lines, flat surfaces and simplistic designs. Remember, it stemmed from the Arts and Crafts movement that contradicted the intricate curlicues of the Victorian style. So in that case, avoid curved or overly ornate furniture. Bring in functional furniture made of wood with little ornamentation. Mission style furniture can include some simple carvings and exposed joineries.

The important mission style feature for wood furnishing is open vertical slats. Heavy pieces of furniture are added, but the open slat nature gives them a lighter visual look. These larger, heavier pieces help anchor the room and can come as a bookcase, cabinet or bench. Cabinets with stained glass panels are very much welcome too. Select pieces made from dark wood like oak, and bronze hardware to show off the style. Shaker-style furniture can also fit in the Mission style, because of their clean lines, bare wood and lack of carving.

Keep cabinet fronts simple or clear. You can opt for a solid cabinet door, or go for those with glass panels. Choose something with a stained glass panel once in a while to also double as decoration.

3. Add some built-ins.
The mission style is known for their built-ins. The style celebrates the artistry of local craftsmen who put a lot of effort hand-crafting their creations. If you’re a DIY woodworker, you may love decorating your mission-style home with your own craft. Built-ins are mostly functional, not decorative, so make sure it lives a purpose as either storage or seating, like cabinets, shelves, and benches.
This style also features a lot of Prairie style woodwork – it’s very important to keep your décor grounded. Let original woodwork in your home be a prominent feature in your interior. Besides, built-in and handcrafted furniture, including fireplace surrounds, wall panels, ceiling trims or newel posts. The woodwork must provide clean, dark lines characteristic of the mission style.

4. Include stained glass.
Include stained glass

Besides the earthy color scheme, Frank Lloyd Wright brought the stained glass look to the mission style. Abstract, angular stained glass pieces work well with a mission style décor. You can incorporate stained glass through a window, lamp, wall hangings, and furniture glass panels. The stained glass adds a pop of color to the room that makes a pleasing contrast to solid earthy colors and dark lines brought by the woodwork.

5. Incorporate angular lighting.

Mission style lighting helps emphasize the warmth of rustic wooden furniture while defining the balance within the space. Chandeliers, lamps, and panels with angular lines, straight designs and specialty glass look fitting for a mission style interior. Pendant lights or lamps with bronze finishes also add a touch of mission-style color and design. The specialty glass and bronze finishes add an inviting warmth and provide a conversational tone for your interior.

6. Keep fabrics in solids and use patterns occasionally.

Though the mission style relies on wood and glass elements, fabrics are important to it too. The style uses solid colors on its textiles, so leather couches work well with this design style. As much as possible, pick the majority of your fabrics in solid colors, but you can also introduce large-scale prints such as nature themes like vines, flowers, birds, and leaves; as well as geometric designs like stripes or abstract patterns. But make sure to keep them to a minimum as too much of them will clash with the strong and simple styling of mission style.

7. Bring in simple accessories.

When it comes to accessorizing a mission-style interior, simplicity is beauty. Add throw pillows with a nature-inspired color. Perhaps you can add in some pillows with floral patterns as an accent. Place a big area rug with a neutral color or with an angular, geometric design for your living room. Add simple plants like ferns in your interior. Hang a large Art Nouveau painting or print in a simple wooden frame above a fireplace or couch to act as a focal point. Just remember to keep accessories to a minimum.