13 Arts & Crafts ideas

Use these Arts & Crafts ideas to create a beautiful interior that celebrates nature and nostalgia with archive prints

Arts & Crafts ideas Little Greene London New Bond Street wallpaper
(Image credit: Little Greene)

Looking to create a home full of vintage charm? Adding Arts & Crafts ideas through period-style prints, whether in the form of wallpaper, upholstery or accessories, can be a really quick and easy way to add plenty of character to a space. 

Taking inspiration from nature and a medieval aesthetic, the Arts & Crafts movement and its leading figures created stylised flora and fauna patterns for wallpapers and fabrics.  With enduring appeal, these beautiful prints, whether archive originals or recoloured designs, look just as effective today. Check out these top decorating tips for introducing this iconic style into your home...

1. Use Arts & Craft prints wall-to-wall

With a penchant for ornament, the Victorians used every surface as a vehicle for decoration and often pasted richly decorative papers floor to ceiling. Featuring one of Morris & Co’s most iconic Arts & Crafts designs dating to 1883, this Strawberry Thief wallpaper is a perfect backdrop for the curvaceous silhouette of a classic Chesterfield and deep-buttoned armchair.

For more inspiration check out these 15 inspiring traditional living room ideas

Strawberry Thief wallpaper, £68 per roll at John Lewis & Partners

(Image credit: John Lewis)

2. Liven up practical spaces with patterned surfaces 

Feature walls and floor? Why not? Occasional spaces are perfect for getting creative with busy prints. Combining a Victorian-style Minton tiled geometric floor with pastel panelling and an ornate, florid Morris paper, this downstairs cloakroom is a playful take on Arts & Crafts style. 

Find more decorating inspiration in this renovated seaside Arts & Crafts home

Arts & Crafts downstairs bathroom

(Image credit: Jody Stewart)

3. Bring country charm to the bedroom

Embrace the beauty of nature in a bedroom with a statement fabric wall hanging brimming with floral motifs. Inspired by May Morris’ Arts and Crafts embroideries,
this new Wilhelmina Weave linen from Morris & Co features scrolling acanthus leaves, honeysuckle and clematis. For a contemporary edge, team with Sanderson’s dramatic Graphite paint

May Morris Melsetter fabric

(Image credit: Morris & Co)

4. Add personality to a living room with a dramatic feature wall

Give a living room a sense of period drama by teaming rich, dark colours with an ornate wallpaper. A refreshed archive leather design from Little Greene’s London V wallpaper collection, this New Bond Street paper in Hide is tempered beautifully with True Taupe (on fireplace) and Chocolate Colour (on walls). 

Little Greene London New Bond Street wallpaper

(Image credit: Little Greene)

5. Give a subtle nod to heritage prints with ornate bedding

If you’re a fan of Arts & Crafts patterns, but don’t want to commit to wall-to-wall print, why not introduce it through bedlinen, which can be easily switched for a change of mood? One of William Morris’s most celebrated designs, Strawberry Thief is now available across a selection of bedlinen in a beautiful new brown/pale blue colourway. From £105 for a double duvet cover; Oxford pillowcases, £22; quilted throw, £275, all the Morris & Co collection at Bedeck Home

Morris Bedeck bed linen

(Image credit: Bedeck)

6. Create a unique kitchen with ornate features 

While not typical of the functional, modestly decorated kitchens of the 19th century, this statement design incorporates plenty of Victorian references. Bringing a decorative dose of kitsch, the House of Hackney Mamounia paper takes inspiration from an original by 19th-century French block-printed wallpaper company Zuber, while the Empress Beatrice wall tiles in Tourmaline from Fired Earth, are replicas of original Victorian designs. The Classic English kitchen cabinetry is by Devol. 

Devol House of Hackney Kitchen

(Image credit: Devol)

7. Combine prints with woodwork 

For an authentic feel combine stylised prints with wood panelling as often seen in Arts & Crafts interiors of the time. This Pimpernel wallpaper was designed in 1876 by Morris and adorns his dining room at Kelmscott House in Hammersmith, London.

Pimpernel wallpaper in Aubergine/Olive, £72 per roll, Morris & Co

(Image credit: Morris & Co)

8. Dress windows with florid fabrics 

Make a feature of your windows (and doors) in true period style with heavy curtains in richly ornate fabric. These curtains have been made using Pure Brer Rabbit Print Linen, and we actually love how to the traditional, quite busy, print looks in this minimalist space.

(Image credit: Britannia Rose)

9. Make the floor a feature

As well as across wallpapers, fabrics and bedding, the decorative motifs of Morris & Co are now available in a range of home furnishings. Check out this gorgeous Bachelors Button rug , paired with simple furniture and rustic touches. Love it!

(Image credit: TM interiors)

10. Create a beautiful bucolic scene with a leafy print

Archive wallpapers depicting a rich tapestry of natural motifs, work perfectly in this traditional kitchen, combined with vintage cabinets, natural fibres and artisan ceramics. Taken from the archive at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester this Vine wallpaper, dating to 1932, gives an unmistakeable nod to the Arts & Crafts movement.

Little Greene arts and crafts style wallpaper n kitchen

Vine wallpaper, £76 per roll, Little Greene

11. Opt for a statement sofa

A deep-cushioned seat covered in the blousy blooms and stylised branches of Arts & Crafts prints makes for a sumptuous statement piece. We especially love the pops of colour in the piping of this sofa that has been upholstered in Celia Birtwell's Jacobean Medieval by Blendworth. 

(Image credit: Blendworth)

12. Add a statement wall in hallway

Give guests a stylish welcome by pasting up feature wallpaper in the hallway. Depicting Persian style flowers climbing an overblown botanical trail this Montreal design was created by John Henry Dearle in the 1890s and was originally designed as a carpet. 

Dark green traditional wall paper in a period property

(Image credit: William Morris)

13. Combine Arts & Crafts prints with other styles

Incorporating Arts & Crafts prints doesn't mean you have to go all out and cover every wall, floor, window and sofa in traditional designs. Just check out this room – Pure Thistle wallpaper by Morris & Co has been used to add a feature wall and, combined with the Scandi-style furniture and the accents of black, this space actually looks super modern. 

(Image credit: Morris & Co)

Want more decorating advice for period properties?

Pippa is Style Editor for Period Living magazine and spends many a weekend exploring the Cotswolds for decorating shoot ideas. A collector at heart, she is currently looking for a vintage cabinet to store her favourite wares.