ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Early American Design Style

Updated on November 17, 2011

The Early American design style is rooted in the independent spirit of the first colonists; they were inspired by the natural materials in their new environment and the traditions of the countries from which they came. The style now known as Early American is a collective of interior fashions with international roots.

European Influences
From the simply carved bench to the upholstered wingback chair, Early American decor has, and still does, include a multitude of styles. Influenced by English design, Jacobean furniture is large in scale with rounded corners and layered carving. The Shaker influence inspires simple, clean lines and minimal carving. The French bring a rustic appeal with what is now called French Country; the influence is seen in the country blue so often identified with Early American style. Even the Scandinavians from the northern regions of Europe helped shape the design, adding painted chests and chair backs to the style.

Brick fireplace surrounds are characteristic of Early American interior design
Brick fireplace surrounds are characteristic of Early American interior design | Source

Natural Materials
Man-made materials, such as plastic or resin, weren't available when settlers first came to America. Homes and public buildings were constructed from local woods and stone. This use of natural materials also influenced the interiors. Furniture was carved from local woods, fabric woven from raw materials such as cotton and wool, and pottery made from earthen materials such as clay and pewter.

To affect a contemporary Early American style, use cotton, linen and wool fabrics for window treatments, bed linens, rugs and upholstery. Ladderback and slat back chairs and benches carved from woods found locally add authenticity to the Early American design scheme as does stone flooring and stone or brick fireplace surrounds.

Color Schemes
Early settlers didn't have the advantage of going to the local hardware store for a can of paint, but they did bring color into their homes. Dyed fabrics for curtains and brightly colored quilts for beds added charm and were, of course, of practical use. As America became a more advanced civilization, the ability to expand on design grew proportionately.

As early as the 18th century, homeowners painted their wood trim in pale colors that coordinated with the lighter colors of plaster walls. Wood planks were used in flooring and stained to resemble the dark rich color of oak or walnut or the paler shades of pine or maple. It was fabrics, though, that brought color into the home. Made from natural materials, fabrics were brightly colored; deep reds and blues, rich purples and sunny yellows in quilts, bed linens, upholstered chairs, couches and window treatments made the colonists' homes cheery and aesthetically pleasing.

For a contemporary take on the Early American design style, add a "plaster" faux finish to the walls in a neutral shade, and install wide plank hardwood flooring. Bring in fabrics in bold, bright colors with simple patterns such as check or stripes, balanced with solid colors and floral prints.

Pulling It All Together
With such diversity in influence and variation in style, one might think the Early American style vague or lacking in distinctive characteristics. On the contrary, the use of natural materials, the bold color scheme and the eclectic mix of styles makes the design uniquely American and easily recognized.

Hardwood floors and textured walls make for a solid background. Add painted or stained wood trim to complement the walls and visually define rooms and entrances. Four poster beds layered in quilts and ruffled pillow slips for the bedroom; wingback chairs and round back couches for the sitting room; and a wood table with slat-back chairs and benches for the dining room all define the Early American style. Add painted chests and side chairs to accent the assembled furniture.

Printed fabrics are used for upholstery and drapery. Quilts are hung on racks and used as wall art as well. Wooden bowls, clay pottery and pewter platters add to the charm of this style. Early American home furnishing and decor reflect the mixing and melding of many national styles, just as America represents the melding of many nations.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Shelly McRae profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelly McRae 

      6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thanks for stopping my, RTalloni. I think Early American is such a great design style, precisely because it's as much a melting pot as our own society. Lots of room for fun accessories.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      6 years ago from the short journey

      The eclectic mix is indeed what makes the early American design style a treasure trove of interest! Thanks for a great overview of a fading theme. So glad to see it highlighted! Voted up.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)