There are many facets to primitive country decorating. At the core of this unique and cozy decorating style is the feeling it creates for those who live in your home as well as your family and visitors. The overall impression is one of simplicity, warmth, and rustic comfort. Primitive country is more than just a style of home décor; it’s about creating a lifestyle you’ll love.
Primitive country is a very approachable decorating style that’s a great outlet for your creativity. As you think about your decorating projects, there are several major themes to keep in mind.
- Creating interesting displays is all about imagining vintage things in new ways. When you source your decorative items, keep in mind that you’re going to use them in non-traditional ways (i.e. antique tools may be displayed in the living room).
- The hunt is half the fun! Primitive country décor has a variety of sources, from boutiques and online stores to tag sales, flea markets…even your grandmother’s attic.
- When you select the items you purchase or source to decorate your home, keep in mind that the idea of primitive, or ‘prim,’ decorating is to look back to a time when things were built to last, and made by hand. Quality, not quantity, should be your watchword as you source your items, whether they are vintage, antique, or tomorrow’s heirlooms.
Country Comfort for Every Room in Your Home
Primitive country décor works for any type of home. You don’t have to have a period home or log cabin to bring a bit of Colonial style and comfort into every room of your house. Check out the primitive country décor in this Chicago apartment.
Primitive country style porches are so welcoming that your guests might never make it into the house! Common themes include rocking chairs, gliders, or porch swings, flanked by converted milk pails, crocks, or barrels serving as planters or end tables. Just one look evokes memories of homemade lemonade and the squeak of a spring or chain with the ease of days gone by. For the fall season and holidays, a rustic grapevine wreath decorated by hand provides a festive touch.
For your foyer or entryway, classic American antiques such as a Windsor chair or well-worn wooden bench make a handy place for family or guests to change their shoes or set their bags when they walk in the door. An antique early American hall tree or wooden board with iron hooks or pegs is a handy place to hang coats and purses. And of course, a lovely sideboard or hall table is a wonderful place to create a display to set the mood of your home. (photo courtesy of juanitacrossing.com)
2. Living Area
The living area is where you invite your guests to make themselves at home and stay a while, and primitive style is the perfect way to illustrate this visually. If you can, use the original wood floors in your home, even if they are not perfect. The vibe here is well-loved and cozy. Colorful braided rag rugs will help you create intimate yet comfortable seating areas.
For upholstery, choose fabrics that evoke colonial times such as checks, plaids, or printed patterns featuring country elements such as small calico prints, pineapples, and hearts. Make sure you have plenty of lap quilts on hand for those chilly nights!
Rather than end tables, get creative with early American artifacts. Large wooden spools, steamer trunks, and crates make excellent stand-ins for coffee tables and end tables. A pie safe or hutch is a wonderful place to display a much-loved quilt collection, collection of antique sewing items, or needlepoint pillows. Above the mantel, choose rustic barn décor items (stars are especially popular) for an attractive contrast in color and texture.
3. Kitchen and Dining Area
The kitchen and dining area was a family focal point during colonial times, and not much has changed since then! Although kitchens were simple and useful during those days, some of their items are an affordable luxury today. Handmade vintage crocks can still be found at antique malls and in flea markets for very reasonable prices, and baskets, old or new, are useful as well as decorative works of art. Local Amish markets or websites are a great source of these because they are still made with time-honored techniques. Treenware, hand-hewed wooden cooking and serving utensils as useful and durable as they are beautiful, can still be found made by hand in many areas of the country or online.
For the perfect early American table, choose simple plank bottom chairs with a farm table and decorate both with simple checked or solid cushions. Simple wildflowers in a tin vessel re-purposed as a vase, or a plant in a small metal pail, adds a colorful natural touch to the center of the table.
For the window, dried herbs and flowers hanging in bunches are a fragrant reminder of a working kitchen. Simple but elegant classic single panel curtains finish the look.
Primitive style creates the ultimate retreat in the bedroom. Try an iron bed topped with layers and layers of quilts and pillows with quilted shams to mix and match. A chest at the end of the bed is consistent with early life and works as a handy seat while getting dressed as well as extra storage. Flowing, semi-sheer muslin or cotton curtains make a great option for bedroom windows. And the bedroom is a wonderful place to show off whimsical antique finds such as vintage teddy bears, gowns, baby shoes, and mementos. These can be framed or displayed overflowing from the top drawer of a dresser or hutch.
As we mentioned previously, collecting is part of the fun of creating a primitive country home, but there are also great reproduction items out there. Mix and match, and above all, have fun and put your own unique personal variations into the theme. It’s all about creating the ultimate retreat to a cozy and cherished family life at home.