Americana Decorating: Adding a Touch of Appeal to Your Home

Updated April 23, 2021
Front Porch and gardens with American Flag

Americana decorating describes a style that is both appealing and casual. It is full of easy to care for materials that make it perfect for families with children. This style can be patriotic, primitive, or country farmhouse, but most often is a combination of the three. Americana decorating includes many different motifs, including geography, folk art, and history, which can be adapted in a number of ways.

Patriotic Theme

Patriotic home decor is probably one of the easiest to recognize in the Americana decorating style:

  • Red, white, and blue color combination
  • Stars
  • Flags
  • Stars and stripes in combination
  • Uncle Sam
  • Statue of Liberty
  • 1776 motifs
  • Advertising from World War I and World War II

Start with a beige or tan wall, or even a faded denim color if you are more adventurous. A wallpaper or stenciled border will add visual appeal. Red, white and blue throw rugs on the floor add layers of interest, or set apart a seating area. Add wrought iron elements sparingly. Other items to look for to complement the Americana decorating style would be:

  • Antique tin soldiers
  • Checkerboards
  • Vintage advertising
  • Old quilts

Another aspect of patriotic Americana is a nautical motif. Because much of Americana decorating is centered on the symbols of New England, nautical things fit in perfectly:

  • Lighthouses
  • Ships in bottles
  • Old lobster traps
  • Fishnets
  • Fishing weights
  • Carved shore birds and decoys
  • Shells
  • Anchors
  • Lanterns

Commonly overlooked decorating items are vintage maps. Find old maps in magazines, in antique shops, and in bookstores that carry antique books. Once framed, these worn, yellowed maps are a fantastic wall accent. If you like to do handcrafts, you might decoupage a few to an old desk top. Using these materials in unusual and unexpected ways brings character to your home.

Display of American flags decorating for patriotic holidays

Primitive Americana Decorating

Primitive Americana most often includes folk art, tramp art, and vintage advertising signs. A dried flower arrangement in an old watering can or fresh flowers in a mason jar looks perfectly at home on a distressed, pine top table. Faded, checked fabrics, or fabrics made to look like old flour sacks are perfect for this style. Some other motifs are:

  • Baskets
  • Twig furniture
  • Primary colors, especially muddied or faded
  • Patchwork
  • Yellow-ware
  • Red-ware
  • Spinning wheels
  • Balls of homespun yarn
  • Wooden kneading bowls
  • Gourds, pumpkins, sunflowers
  • Braided rugs
  • Two-toned stoneware crock jugs (whiskey jugs)

Texture is a key ingredient to primitive Americana decor. Rusted and worn metal items add character to rooms. Coarse textured fabrics like burlap and homespun cotton are good for pillows and curtains. Berber carpet lends itself well to the flooring needs of a primitive room.

Handcrafted objects are perfect in primitive rooms. Shaker style furniture, pottery, and lanterns work together to bring warmth and coziness to primitive decor. Distressed book shelves are a great way to organize and display books and collectibles. Other types of distressed furniture are options for the Americana decorating style as well.

The Pitcher Inn: Western Room

Farmhouse Americana

Country farmhouse decor is a style that encompasses several decades and is, probably, the single most used decorating style. Colors can be anything from primary to faded peach, and the style can lean from Colonial to kitschy, or be an enthusiastic mixture of all. The farmhouse style of Americana will often include:

  • Red and white color
  • Checked and gingham fabrics
  • 1940s decor, especially colorful fruit fabrics
  • 1950s decor, especially red kitchen items
  • Wallpaper for kitchen breakfast rooms in fruits, vegetables, kitchen utensils, or roosters and chickens
  • Chintz fabrics
  • Overstuffed furniture
  • Vintage china and pottery
  • Eyelet lace
  • Claw-foot tub
  • Iron bed
  • Natural flooring materials like stone, wood, and clay tiles and linoleum flooring
  • Heavy metal kitchen worktable
  • In-kitchen dining

Some of the accessories you can add are farm-related. These items are considered classic for a farmhouse décor.

  • Large milk cans and milk bottles
  • Wire egg basket
  • Milk glass (white or green), especially Hobnail
  • Metal signage for Fresh Eggs, Milk, and other related items
  • Rooster, chicken, cow, and pig motifs
Americana dining room

Find Your Americana Decorating Style

Overall, Americana decorating is an easy look to achieve. Using objects found in nature, worn items picked up in secondhand stores, and items you make yourself are all frugal ways to decorate your home.

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Americana Decorating: Adding a Touch of Appeal to Your Home