Drawing Design Inspiration From Frank Lloyd Wright

Aug 29, 2022, written by Dennis Shirshikov

“Less is more.” You’ve heard it countless times– and you know there’s truth to it–, but the call of that new arm chair from a late-night Instagram ad or that vintage entryway console from a local store feels irresistible. You find yourself carefully examining your living room, thinking, “what can I move around to make room for that new piece I have to have?”

Our tip to overcome the “gotta-have-it” mindset that can easily lead to furniture dominating your space? Channel your inner Frank Lloyd Wright. Having designed over a thousand pieces of furniture himself in his lifetime, Wright undeniably mastered the art of interior design.

Home Design inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright

Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's philosophy of harmonious design, Summer extends its expertise beyond mere inspiration. Our team of design experts not only ensure our home design projects follow Wright's principles of simplicity and functionality but also embody your unique aesthetic to create a timeless design property owners and renters can appreciate. Learn more about Summer’s property management (Managed by Summer) and homebuying solutions, which cover home design and renovation for our members by clicking here.

Wright’s influences: Louis Sullivan and the Birth of a Design Vision

Frank Lloyd Wright's journey into becoming America's greatest architect began under the mentorship of Louis Sullivan, often hailed as the "father of skyscrapers." Sullivan's influence was pivotal in shaping Wright's design philosophies, embedding in him the belief that 'form follows function.' This principle became a cornerstone in Wright’s work, emphasizing that the purpose of a building should always dictate its design.

“The space within becomes the reality of the building.”

Over the course of his 70-year career, American architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright designed over a thousand spaces, spearheading over half of them from inception to completion– furnishings included. Adamant that “the space within becomes the reality of the building,” Wright’s interior designs– from furniture, to lighting, to decorative embellishments like artwork and stained glass– were notably characterized by simplicity, functionality, and modernity, much like his iconic exteriors.

A Philosophy of Form and Function

Throughout his career, Wright stayed true to the belief that form and function are one. His designs go beyond aesthetic appeal, focusing on the utility and practicality of each space. Wright’s buildings are not just structures; they are carefully thought-out environments designed to enhance the quality of life for those who inhabit them.

Having heavily inspired the midcentury-modern design movement– and having trained many of its most notable designers–, Wright’s interior style is not only seminal, but also timeless in itself. The aesthetic is widely coveted and consistently popular, with interior brands both big and small unmistakably drawing inspiration.

Embracing the Landscape at Taliesin West

One of Wright's most renowned works, Taliesin West, embodies his design philosophies in its purest form. This masterpiece, now the headquarters of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, is a shining example of organic architecture. Here, Wright masterfully demonstrates how buildings can be harmonious with their environment. The use of natural materials and allowing for abundant natural light to permeate the space shows his commitment to ensuring that the 'hill and house should live together each the happier.'

The Essence of Prairie Style Homes

Wright’s creation of prairie style homes marked a significant shift in American architectural design. These structures, characterized by their horizontal lines and flat or hipped roofs with broad overhanging eaves, reflect Wright’s love for the natural landscape. The style is an ode to the vast, flat prairie lands of the Midwest and showcases Wright's talent in designing buildings that appear to grow organically from their sites.

Organic Architecture and Natural Materials

Organic architecture was Wright’s philosophy of creating structures in harmony with humanity and its environment. This concept is evident in his use of natural materials, which helped to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces. Wright believed that the use of materials such as wood, stone, and glass could bring the outdoors in, creating a tranquil and natural environment for inhabitants.

Influence of Japanese Arts on Wright’s Work

Wright's appreciation of Japanese arts significantly influenced his architectural style. His visits to Japan and the study of Japanese architecture's simplicity, respect for natural materials, and the integration of nature profoundly impacted his approach to design. This inspiration is evident in many of his works, where he harmoniously blends the indoors with the outdoors, creating tranquil spaces that encourage reflection and peace.

Summer's Frank Lloyd Wright Inspired Decor & Furnishing Favorites

Summer has put together some team-favorites to inspire your living space a la Frank Lloyd Wright, whether you’re starting from scratch in a new home or have decided to give your interior a refresh.

For the Living Space

We love this Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired chair from Inside Weather for its understated clean lines, neutral wood tone, and eye-catching pop of color. The under-seat storage space for books, magazines, or your laptop checks both the functionality and versatility boxes, making the piece practical as a desk chair or living room accent, and eliminating the need for excess space-occupying pieces like magazine racks and side tables.

This sofa from Rove Concepts pays homage tenfold to Wright’s interior aesthetic. Modular, eye-catching, but incredibly simple, we love this sofa for its thoughtful, space-saving and functional design. It eliminates the need for a free-standing side table with its interchangeable built-in one, and stands on understated barely-there legs.

“The architect should strive continually to simplify; the ensemble of the rooms should then be carefully considered that comfort and utility may go hand in hand with beauty.”
For the Dining Space

A bold, architectural oak piece was often Wright’s design choice for the focal point of a dining area. We love this timeless and functional dining table from AllModern for smaller dining rooms and eat-in kitchens. The unique design of the intersecting angular legs lends just the right amount of noticeable creativity, with a natural wood finish in keeping with Wright’s lifelong consideration of incorporating natural elements into each and every one of his designs. Pair it with a set of minimal, curved-back dining chairs, like this classic, affordable design from Target.

For larger, more formal dining spaces, we love this solid 86” table from West Elm, paired with a set of vintage high-back chairs from your local vintage shop, or sites like AptDeco.

For the Bedroom

This bed from Article caught our eye for its functionality– built-in storage and an out-of-the-way landing pad for decor–, and we can only imagine that Frank Lloyd Wright would have been the first to dream up such a convenient phone-charging setup. The chevron-like wood pattern lends a natural element, and you can expect variation in each piece, making it uniquely yours.

Widely known for his love of stained glass, it’s common to find light fixtures that incorporate color throughout Wright’s existing homes. Hang a vintage stained glass pendant light– like this one from Chairish– above your bed.

"Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art."

Wright’s Legacy as the Greatest American Architect

Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy as the greatest American architect is undisputed. His innovative approach to architecture, from the Prairie House to the Guggenheim Museum, showcases a range of styles yet a consistent philosophy. Wright's work remains a testament to his belief that architecture should be more than just building design – it should be a means of enhancing human life, making every inhabitant 'live together each the happier.'

Remember: less really is more! Find pieces that will last you a lifetime– or close to it–, and that you are really in love with. Whether you’re working from home for the foreseeable future and have decided it’s time to finally make your home an oasis, or taking steps to make an investment property more appealing to short-term renters, it’s important to remember not to be impulsive when it comes to purchasing furniture for your home. Don’t settle; timeless, thoughtfully-designed, functional, and unique pieces are key– and they’re out there!

Frank Lloyd Wright influencer on Summer's Home Design

We understand that creating a space that feels like home involves more than selecting the right pieces; it's about crafting an environment that resonates with your personal style and functional needs. This is where Summer's professional design services shine. Our team takes care of everything from design to furniture delivery, including the setup of all essentials and finishing touches. We work closely with you to ensure Wright's principles of simplicity and functionality output a stylish and unique aesthetic to elevate your home and turn it into a top performing destination. 

Moreover, for homeowners looking to upgrade or undertake new projects, Summer efficiently manages these enhancements with a network of seasoned professionals. And the best part? We offer these comprehensive services at no upfront cost, ensuring that your journey to a beautifully designed home is as effortless as it is rewarding. Click here to learn more about Summer’s flexible, affordable homebuying solutions and seamless design process. Let Summer transform your space into a timeless haven, blending Wright's iconic style with your personal touch. Already have a home? Click here to become a member of Managed by Summer and elevate your home to a top performing, expertly designed short term rental. 

Click here to book a free consultation with Summer’s experts.

Cover photo courtesy of Andrew Pielage, an Arizona-based photographer on an ambitious mission to photograph each and every remaining Frank Lloyd Wright design.

This article was written by
Dennis Shirshikov

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