Primitive Country Decor Stands the Test of Time

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The primitive country decor takes you back in time to when life was simpler and so was our homes. The main elements of this decorating style are handcrafted furniture and accessories and muted colors that create a comfortable and inviting space. Trends are ignored and value is placed on items that are functional and have withstood the test of time.

Primitive country decor styles

Primitive country decor encompasses many different styles.

  1. Americana celebrates the colors of our nation through the use of handcrafted items, artwork, needlework, and furniture. Our national colors of red, white and blue in muted and dusty tones can be found on old signs, cloth dolls, pillows, etc.
  2. Lodge decor is created through the use of items that reflect the natural habitat of the countryside. Rough-hewn wood in its natural state is used to create walls as well as to make furniture pieces. Natural fibers are found in window treatments, blankets, upholstery, and rugs. Furniture is built for comfort and is large and over-scaled and colors are warm and cozy and include red, brown, cream and hunter green.
  3. New England or early American primitive is what we often associate with the term primitive country decor. Rooms are decorated in a sparse manner with stiff-backed chairs, unadorned tabletops, and muddy and muted colors. Items for function and display are primitive in design, yet still, work in today’s homes. This is a comfortable and serene look that many enjoy.

Primitive furniture & finishes

Furniture is often hand carved and assembled out of hardwoods such as hickory, walnut, and cherry. The wood is left unpolished and unfinished, allowing the natural beauty of the color and grain to show. The design is simple and understated. Think of farmhouse tables and ladder back or spindle chairs.

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Metal furniture is also popular in primitive country design; the more rusted and distressed, the better. Old work tables, stools, cabinets, and carts can be used as storage items and seating in a kitchen or casual living space.


Fabrics used in primitive decor design are most often made of natural fibers and include linen, wool, cotton, and muslin. These durable fabrics can be used for window treatments, as upholstery fabric or for accessories that include table linens, bedding, accent pillows, and throws.

The most common patterns found on fabrics would include easy to weave checks, stripes and simple embroidered designs i.e. vines, leaves, etc. These simple patterns compliment the serene environment that is sought after in a primitive country home.

Primitive artwork and accessories

While the term primitive decor might conjure up visions of a bare and stark room, artwork and accessories are important to the overall design. There are many items available that will add personality and interest to your home.

  • Primitive signs are very popular and include rusted metal signs or hand painted wooden signs from old store fronts and businesses.
  • Needlepoint samplers with their simple verses and pretty embroidery add a personal touch to a kitchen, bath or bedroom area. Purchase a vintage sampler or, for a truly personal touch, make your own.
  • Primitive crafts such as hand-scraped wooden bowls and spoons, candlesticks made from old thread spools and reclaimed barn wood photo frames are just a few ideas. Don‘t forget beautiful quilts and handwoven blankets that pay tribute to the era as well.

Primitive wall art might include an oil painting of a simple landscape or perhaps a collection of silhouettes of your family members. Antique lace pieces or worn fabric scraps can also be framed to create an interesting wall display.

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Primitive decorating ideas

If you are looking to decorate just one room or an entire home in a primitive decorating style but do not know how to begin, here are some decorating ideas that might get you started.

  • Begin with just one inspiration piece. This might be a hand hooked rug, an old quilt or even something as simple as an antique cloth doll. Any one of these items will provide suggestions as to color or design for your room.
  • Antique furniture is always a good addition to a primitive space. They are not only decorative but functional as well. An old commode can store linens or an old chair fills an empty spot in your entryway. Sturdy dining room furniture that has stood the test of time can easily handle the activities of a busy, modern family.
  • Create a wall gallery of collected items. For example, an eclectic mix might include a grouping of old family photographs, a collection of tarnished keys, a framed quilt square and current photos of your family. Be sure to choose frames that match your decor and keep the mats uniform in color.
  • Start collecting items that please you and display them in your home. This might be a collection of antique pewter spoons, old quilts, furniture from a specific period, handcrafted dolls, old artillery….the list is endless. One tip: Do not spread your items all over the home; group them together so you and your guests can enjoy the fact that it is a collection.

The beauty of a home decorated in a primitive country style is that it is friendly and inviting, soothing and serene and avoids trendy colors and patterns…it withstands the test of time.

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