Do you remember similar lyrics to this song from way back in the seventies? It was in protest to all the signs that surround us telling us what to do, what not to do, where to go, etc. Well, everything old is new again and primitive signs have become a desirable way to dress up the walls in your country home.
The term primitive basically refers to something from the past. It can be a rustic wooden sign that once hung outside a country market during the depression years, a rusty metal sign selling war bonds from the 1940’s or something as recent as a peace sign from the turbulent sixties. Perhaps you enjoy unique or iconic sayings that appear on signs. Of course, one of the most famous sayings is “Uncle Sam wants you” or
Make love, not war”.
How to decorate with primitive signs
The list of available signs is endless. The ones you choose are determined by your own personal design style and in what room or manner you would like to display the signs. Here are ten easy ways to decorate with your primitive signs:
- Primitive wooden signs with names of old businesses abound. They can be purchased at antique stores, flea markets, barn and garage sales and, of course, from online retailers and auction sites. Be sure to check out your grandparent’s garage because you are sure to find an old sign or two tucked away. It is fun to find a sign that is personalized with your family name, references a favorite vacation spot or has sentimental meaning like the name of the hotel where your parents spent their honeymoon. These signs can be hung above a doorway, for example, or if they are large enough, can even act as a unique headboard.
- Nostalgic signs that bring back memories of times gone by are always fun to collect and display as primitive artwork. These can be logo signs from a favorite cereal you ate as a kid, the soap your mother always used or even the name of the town newspaper. Again, depending on the sign, these can be used as wall art or grouped together in gallery fashion for a unique display. For example, country signs that advertise soap, detergent or other cleaning supplies work well in a bathroom, laundry area or kitchen while a sign from your hometown is a special find and can be placed on the shelves in the den or home office.
- Signs featuring specific country motifs are popular as well. Did you know that a pineapple is a colonial sign of welcome and the large stars you see displayed on the side of a barn or the front of a house are meant to bring good luck? Crows appear on many different signs and were often used in the name of a business i.e. Crow’s Tavern, Black Crow Restaurant, Old Crow Boot Shop, etc. Search for these special motifs so you can welcome your guests in a traditional, primitive manner.
- Rustic signs made from tin or other metal often advertise gasoline or soda pop or identify the entrance to a large ranch. Soda pop and beer signs look great grouped together over a bar or in an outdoor kitchen or barbecue area. Other ideas include a “no swimming allowed” hung near a pool or ‘Beware of dog” attached to your pet’s crate or kennel.
- Primitive sayings that feature old fashioned blessings or simple prayers are often hung in a child’s room, at the front door or in the family room. Some examples include “bless this house”, “faith, family, friends” or “bless all who enter”.
- Following a similar theme, country samplers often featured entire prayers and blessings sewn onto a simple muslin background. These samplers look sweet as artwork in a nursery or a special greeting to those staying in your guest room. Again, Grandma probably has several of these old samplers hidden away.
- While not exactly a “sign” old game boards make unique and interesting artwork. If you have several of them, hang them in a game room or family room. If your collection is not large then hang them on the wall with similar memorabilia.
- Kids will enjoy a collection of whimsical signs hung in their playroom, bedroom or study area. Farm animals appeared on signs advertising dairy, feed and other farm equipment. Kids can relate to the colorful and fun advertising mascots like superheroes, the Michelin man or the Foster’s Freeze ice cream cone.
- Pop culture might include rock and roll stars from the 50’s, Rosie the Riveter from the 40’s or those wonderfully elegant flapper ladies from the roaring 20’s who appear on metal, wooden and paper signs.
- If you have a large collection of primitive signs, the garage is a great place to display them. They do not need protection from varying temperatures and will cover those bare walls with something pleasant to look at.
There you have it… ten ways to display primitive signs in your country home.