Today we’re exploring country decor origins (in case you’d rather focus on the past instead of all the things you need to do today!)
When you hear the words country home decor, what comes to mind? Is it Americana woodwork? Miniature windmills and roosters? Maybe the words evoke images of earth tones, natural fabrics, distressed wood, and galvanized metal.
Country decor origins
According to SFGate Home Guides, American folk art gained a following with art collectors in the 1920s and 30s:
The style features a relaxed arrangement of furniture and accessories with a homemade sensibility. The use of salvage and craft-inspired pieces can make decorating a fun scavenger hunt or afternoon project for antique lovers and artistic types.
And Hunker.com says the look isn’t just for homes in the country. “It’s an adaptable style that can skew more towards an industrial or even boho look. At its core, it’s a simple yet elegant look that creates a cozy mood.”
Like many styles and practices we now embrace, early farmhouse and country decor originated more out of necessity than aesthetic. People used whatever they had available to them.
As we mentioned in an earlier post, the Candlewicking style originated from a 19th century American style of embroidery method that made use of the colonial knot. This knot required less thread, was sturdier, and held up to heavy use and washing.
Braided rug and quilting origins
As you might already know, early braided rug patterns made use of whatever scraps were available; often, wool and cotton left over from old clothing (source).
The Valley Forge Rug Braided Guild traced the term braided rug back to Massachusetts in 1822. But they noted rugs of any sort were rare at that time, and no records document Colonial era braided rugs. It was not until the early 1900s, the Guild says, that the use of braided rugs became widely documented.
Too, quilts of any kind were rare in New England in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Womenfolk.com notes textiles did not become widely available to settlers until the 1840s.
What about those applique curtains we adore so much?
After reading about early American settlers using rugged fibers and fabric from scraps of old clothing, it probably comes as no surprise that the use of the applique method in America also had humble beginnings.
According to Sew Daily, applique was a long-established custom used centuries earlier in African and Native American cultures. In early America the technique was used as a way to strengthen or patch worn areas of an item to extend its lifespan, and evolved into an artform much later.
A brief history of plaid
Plaid as we know it today has origins in Scotland, so how did it come to be associated with Americana and country home decor? Stitch Fix says Scottish immigration at the end of the 18th century likely contributed.
According to Blue Ridge Outdoors the origins of our beloved Buffalo Check is in 1850 Pennsylvania, when Woolrich introduced the iconic two-tone pattern. Plaids continued to gain popularity into the 1900s n America, emblematic of pioneers and the working class carving out a new frontier.
What country decor origins do you want to learn more about? Shop for your country decor favorites at primitivehomedecors.com.