When you hear the words “Americana design style” what comes to mind? By its name, one might think that this design style is simply about stars and stripes and only suitable for patriotic holidays. While it certainly is a wonderful way to give a nod to patriotism, there’s much more to it than that. Let’s take a deeper look at what the design style is all about and why its beauty is something worth considering for the interior of your home.
What is the Americana design style?
When we talk Americana style, we’re referring to interiors that encompass everything and anything that deals with America’s cultural heritage, history, folklore, and geography through the creative use of color, pattern, and design. Being a homegrown style, Americana touches on the nostalgic aspect of the unique American spirit, making it the perfect way to display the patriotism, ideals, and values many of us hold so dear. At its core, Americana is a classic style that never becomes dated. In essence, timeless.
Does this mean an explosion of red, white, and blue or an abundance of gingham and plaid? If that’s what you prefer, yes. But that’s not the only option. In fact, a successful Americana look is often achieved by a more casual and diverse approach. Before we get to some common Americana design themes, let’s first look at how Americana came about in the first place.
The Influences of Americana Style
To truly understand this particular design trend, it’s important to acknowledge other design movements that influenced the development of what we consider Americana.
One particular movement that comes to mind is Arts and Crafts (also known as Mission style). This simple and straightforward style began as a rebellion of sorts against the reliance on manufactured mass-produced furnishings, as well as the excess of Victorian decorating. Since then, it has become a style that’s incredibly unique. While Arts and Crafts style tends to favor minimalism, it highlights that folk style of decoration, which was, and still is, highly influential to Americana style.
Retro design also had a huge influence on what we consider Americana. Retro, or vintage, purposely imitates certain pieces of the past— a throwback to an earlier way of doing things. And when it comes to Americana design style, that’s what it’s all about— a focus on ideals tied to a simpler time gone by.
Common Americana Design Themes
As mentioned earlier, Americana decorating includes many different motifs, including geography, folk art, and history. This means your decorating can easily be adapted in a number of ways. Because of this, it is very important to have a solid idea about how you want the space to look— otherwise, your finished product could end up looking a bit too over-the-top.
In a broad sense, Americana design can be broken down into three main categories: patriotic, primitive, and farmhouse. Under each of those categories, however, you'll often find much more specific themes, which are really just built from a vision, creativity, and a desire for something unique and fun.
Here's a quick rundown on elements that make up the Patriotic, Primitive, and Farmhouse Americana design styles:
This form of Americana is probably the easiest to recognize. Patriotic Americana typically includes:
- Stars (or stars and stripes in combination)
- 1776 motifs
- Antique tin soldiers
- Old quilts
- Vintage advertising from World Wars I and II
- American symbols like the Statue of Liberty and Uncle Sam
- Red, white and blue color combination
A nautical motif is also popular within the patriotic theme. A lot of Americana decorating is centered on symbols of New England, so nautical decor blends into a design style like this flawlessly. Some items to consider include things such as lighthouses, old lobster traps, ships in bottles, fishnets, birds, shells, anchors, and lanterns. Vintage maps could also work.
You can get this look easily. Just start with a beige, tan, or faded [denim] blue wall (an antique white will work beautifully too) and then layer in your red, white, and blue. Fabric and area rugs featuring this color scheme are two quick ways to pull the look together.
Primitive American can often be recognized by its historical feel, folk art, and vintage advertising signs. Faded, checked fabrics, or fabrics that resemble old flour sacks fit perfectly into this theme. Old watering cans and mason jars filled with dried or fresh flowers look great on top of distressed furniture.
Other motifs that fit well into this theme include:
- Twig furniture
- Yellow- and red-ware
- Muddied or faded primary colors
- Wooden bowls
- Spinning wheels
- Sunflowers, gourds, and pumpkins
- Balls of homespun yarn
When it comes to primitive style, it's all about texture. Rusted and worn metal items can really add a lot of character to the space. Coarse fabrics like burlap and homespun cotton are great choices for pillows and curtains. For flooring, consider Berber carpet.
Handcrafted objects make perfect additions to primitive-themed spaces. Bring in warmth with shaker style furniture, pottery, and lanterns. Display books or collectibles on distressed shelves.
Country style, more commonly known as Farmhouse Charm or Farmhouse Americana, these days, is a style that encompasses a number of decades and is one of the most used decorating styles. Colors vary, including anything from primary colors to pastel peach. Staples of this style often include:
- Rooster and chicken motifs
- Checked fabrics
- Chintz fabrics
- Red and white colors
- Decor from the 1940s and 50s, which include fruit fabrics and red kitchen items
- Overstuffed furniture
- Vintage dishware
- Natural flooring materials such as wood, stone and clay tiles
Americana: Patriotism All Year Long
Remember, patriotism doesn't have to be reserved for the holidays. That's the great thing about this design style. Its versatility and casual beauty can be adapted in a number of ways, making it a style that caters to one and all. Whether you bring Americana into a single room or into all of them, there's something that can be enjoyed all year round.
Ready to incorporate some good ol’ Americana style into your home? If so, come see us so we can help. We have great deals on accessories and discount designer fabrics that are sure to work with your interior. We look forward to seeing you!