Decorating Your Colonial Home

Colonial roots

While Colonial architecture appeared first when Europeans were settling America in the early 1700s, it didn’t cease to exist then. Over the course of the next 300 years, variations of Colonial design remained consistently one of the most popular and enduring styles of architecture.

Colonial décor was inspired by European country homes settlers lived in prior to immigration. However, early American décor was distinct, as it featured clean lines, white walls and minimal embellishments. Why was this so? Some attribute this austerity to the puritanical values held by early Americans, but there was a more practical reality: Very little in the way of material possessions could be transported over the Atlantic by sailing ships.

Minimalism the basis of colonial decor

Much of what is available to the modern colonial decorator is based on that which is practical. For example, the rooster weather vane for telling the direction of the wind, or a simple wooden coat rack, free of embellishment.

Shakers held the belief that watches were an unnecessary indulgence, so they took to keeping only one clock in a home, usually in the dining room or other common area. The fireplace was the heart of a Colonial home. A quality set of cast iron fireplace tools were essential to a warm home and can bring flair to a modern colonial, even if the fireplace was no longer in use.

Colonial revival

As Colonial architecture regained popularity in the 1870s, it was celebrated as an authentic alternative to the excesses of Victorian homes. Still, more ornate wallpapers and handcrafted brass pieces worked their way into the style, so that Colonial Revival was a more opulent impression of an earlier time.

These later homes tended to have florid crown moldings and great columns at the entrances. One element that remained consistent throughout colonial design was the hallmark window shutters. While most shutters are purely decorative now, in early New England they served a very practical purpose of offering additional shelter from the elements.

Modern methods to enhance colonial style

Light switch plates and electrical covers weren’t a feature of early American décor, but they are found in every room in every home across America today. Fortunately, you don’t have to outfit your charming colonial home with those beige plastic plates. From smooth copper to hand-hammered brass, you can buy light switch plates online that match your colonial motif.

Likewise, there are hundreds of other great options for colonial décor online such as rugs, firebacks, classic mail slots and more. You don’t have to haunt antique shops any longer to decorate your home, it is all available at the click of a button.

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