Colonial Style Decorating Ideas


A colonial style home conjures up images of box style homes with very simple decor. The colonial style--with its overall simplistic yet elegant look--has always been popular in home decorating. Rooted in 17th century English architecture, the colonial style spans from the 1600s to the early 1800s beginning with the early settlers in America. Homes were primarily built by local carpenters and had a clean, uncluttered look to them. The inside of a colonial home was modest in size and kept simple in decor using primarily dark woods for furniture and pine for flooring.


  • To create a colonial style look in your home, choose furniture made out of dark colored woods such as mahogany. Keep pieces simple with a rustic look. A rectangular dining table with bench seating, for instance, will give your kitchen a colonial look. In some homes in the colonial times you would find more ornate furniture such as rounded arms on couches and chairs in the living room, upholstered with a heavy fabric such as velvets and tapestries. Button tufting and elaborate trims were also popular.


  • Use colors that are representative of the colonial period in your home. Coloring should be soft and muted hues that are based on natural pigments. It was common to find cream colored walls and woodwork in a colonial home. Other colors that were common included deep green, mustard yellow, barn red, browns and taupes. These might be used in the fabric on couches, chairs or seat cushions.

    Stenciling on walls was popular because wallpaper was expensive and most new settlers could not afford it. Fruit and flowers were the most used motifs for stencils.


  • Use accents to complete the colonial style in your home. Hang cross-stitch samplers and embroidery pictures framed in dark wood frames and place iron candle holders on the walls. The eagle was a common symbol in a colonial home as were Oriental items such as jars and ivory.
    Add a chair railing around your dining room area. Chair railings were popular in colonial times because chairs were often moved around the small house and lined up against the walls. The chair railings protected the walls from the chairs.
    Hang window treatments such as curtain panels with tabs slipped over a wooden pole and hung above a window.
    Place braided rag rugs around the room. Rag rugs were commonly made to add warmth and color to the small homes.

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