Throughout the different periods of Interior Design, it seems to be that when one design evolves with an abundance of materialistic elements, another design style comes along to simplify – or counteract – that materialism. The Mission Interior Design was one such style that was introduced in the late 1800’s to offset flashier styles that were so prominent during the Victorian era.
A Craftsman Influence
As part of the Art’s and Craft’s movement, Mission Design has its roots deep in history and rich in culture. The Craftsman movement, which had started earlier over in England, heavily influenced the style of Mission as it implemented the Craftsman’s perspective of high quality, natural materials and blended it with it’s own simple, clean lined, linear approach to interior design.
Although the Mission Style was appreciated and incorporated by many, it really became a prominent means of decorating after books about the Southwest were published applauding the Missions and the simplistic life style they represented.
Mission Style Designing Elements
- Furniture: Most of us think of Mission furniture when we think of the Mission Design Style.The simplistic elegance of it’s furniture comes from using handcrafted dark wood that creates a simple but stylish element in your room. Choose upholstery in neutral, basic shades using soft materials such as leather and comfty cottons. Many reproductions on today’s market easily fit the basic element needed to achieve this look, however, as always, choosing to consult a Mission Interior Designer will take much of the guess work out of this process for you.
- Flooring: Hardwood is the preferred choice as it pulls in the Craftsman element. Choose a darker stain to compliment the other natural elements in the home. The use of Terra Cotta tiles is also an option. Floor coverings such as throw rugs will add warmth and color to the neutrality of the room while providing comfort from the hard elements.
- Windows: Stained glass was a popular element as it allowed the window to be decorative without having to be covered. However, in today’s Mission Styled homes, stain glass isn’t practical and many opt to use alternative Window Treatments such as shades, blinds, or shutters crafted from a dark wood to compliment the color and wood choice of the flooring and furniture.
- Lighting: Due to the nature of dark wood being so prominent in a Mission Design, lighting was a crucial element. Choose table and floor lamps that are made with brass or iron and utilize square, colored glass shades to mimic stained glass. Wooden bases for lamps were also common as a cohesive means of decorating within the elements.
- Accessories: Less is more with this simplistic design. Decorating with a Mission style is quite similar to Art Nouveu with it’s “less clutter, simple lines” approach to decorating. Try selecting pieces that reflect more of an arts and crafts approach, but not to the extreme where you would consider flea market finds as in a Shabby Chic Design. You can’t go wrong with using mirrors, simplistic photo frames or streamlined artwork.
Less is More with a Mission Style
Today’s Mission Style has evolved to incorporate more modern materials, colors and ideas, – however, the basis for the original Mission Design remains the same: Simplify your surroundings with natural, handcrafted (but elegant) furnishings and accessories that reflect quality and pride in workmanship. Choose to downplay the clutter, focus more on the substance of the room, and you’ll discover what those before us did – less is more.
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