Decorating in the Americana Folk Art Style Decorating in the Americana Folk Art Style

Americana style refers to American culture embodied by some stereotypical motifs like apple pie, baseball, Statue of Liberty, barns, automobiles, Rock and Roll, and Norman Rockwell prints. In terms of visual art, Americana items are usually denoted by historic American designs used by early Americans like colonists and pioneers. Americana style is also characterized by specific facets of American life like carnivals, depots, general stores, farms, jazz clubs, diners or sections of the country like the Old West or the Deep South.

Just as America as a nation is varied and multifaceted, Americana décor can achieve far more than simply displaying the stereotypes of American life. A varied array of Americana and folk art objects means decorators have a considerable range of items, accents and designs to choose from. Folk art pieces are created today all over the country, meaning that home décor can install many items of interest from the past as well as the present for a look that is visually appealing as it is affordable.

Consequently, to design your décor according to Americana style is more about your specific tastes and interests. Try to narrow down your Americana style by focusing on natural America or city and town life. You might focus on a specific region of the country like the Southwest or rural Appalachia. You might focus on a specific group of Americans such as Native Americans, Colonial Americans, African Americans, Louisiana Creole-Americans or perhaps Floridians with their pink flamingos and convertible cars. Naturally, to blend all such items together will make for lots of fun style too.

For the purpose of discussion, we'll take an Americana tour moving from various geographical locations and historical eras denoting sample plans and example objects to consider for your own Americana house. Early American style most popularly characterizes the spirit of Americana. Search out objects for the walls like portraits of colonists, early town scenes and ports along the East Coast. Display authentic or replicated quilts of this period. Hanging candle boxes or wall boxes painted with Colonial American motifs provide interesting fixtures as well.

Some additional Colonial and early American items to consider are: spinning wheels, Connecticut Valley bed rugs, painted pine boxes with iron hardware, plaques of verses in the broken letter style, low blanket chests, cast iron weather vanes, linen samplers, pine pie safes, needlework tapestries, miniature portraits, fancy side chairs, early cradles federal side board tables, cast iron pans, early basketry, corner cupboards, etc. As authentic antiques from this era will prove quite pricey, consider good reproductions - there are many on the market and will still provide that characteristic early American charm.

Look for prints by early Americans or prints featuring even 19th century Americans like Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Henry David Thoreau or Betsy Ross. Consider prints that feature important early American locations or trades, such as Nantucket whalers, Walden Pond, a vintage map of New York City, Maine lobstermen, or a Pennsylvanian quilting bee.

Another popular slice of Americana decorating style is embodied by the 1950s. This fun style lends itself to kitchen décor. Think of a '50s diner or soda fountain. Chrome tables and stools with checked tablecloths, atomic bark cloth draperies, chrome napkin holder, vinyl floor along with prints of 1950s life - two kids sipping a soda, a jukebox dance, bobby-soxer in a poodle skirt, etc.

A great way to work with American style is to stick with an outdoors or natural America theme. Rough and knotty pieces of furniture; carved and painted folk art animals of the north woods like ducks, geese, moose or bears that serve as bookends or doorstops, for instance; pictures of the Rocky Mountains, Yosemite, northern Colorado River, or an old map of the northwest territory will add plenty of outdoor Americana charm.

Coney Island and the amusement parks of the New Jersey seaboard can be a great style to depict, especially for a child's room. Amusement park rides like Ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds make great props. Any carnival prizes or prints of amusement parks could be hung in collections on the walls. Popcorn machines and snow-cone makers make great additions to recreation rooms.

Hollywood style lends itself to the TV room. A collection of Laurel and Hardy movie posters, horror film posters, cameo portraits of early starlets, Oscar winners or pin-up girls makes for great fun. Consider framed portraits of Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly - all typify the American ideal.

Whether you stick to a certain era or focus on items from a specific location, consider adding the following to your Americana décor: needlework depicting the American flag, print of a one-room school-house, prints by Grandma Moses or Andrew Wyeth, coon-skin cap hung on hook, cupboard of old quilts, poster of Elvis Presley, lava lamp, hula-hoop, early toys like spinning tops, collection of fishing lures, tin signs showing vintage ads, Native American blankets, framed postcards of birds-eye views, Depression era glass, specific American collections (state license plates, domestic beer, old photographs, memorabilia), souvenir items from American places (glasses, plates, scarves), prints of farm scenes, horseshoes, gingham fabric, or Disney items. The list goes on and on, covering great and ordinary Americans as well as anything made in America by Americans.

Americana décor does more than decorate your house - it celebrates American history and the American way of life. From hobos and orphan trains of the Great Depression to photographs of American skyscrapers, Americana décor can be achieved by pairing traditional folk art with eclectic items denoting American themes. Décor choices are endless, so be prepared to have lots of fun selecting items for your home.

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