Primitive Decor: A Primer

March 30th, 2016 Primitive Decor

It’s tempting to look a couple hundred years in the past and think “Those were simpler times.”

What we mean by that isn’t so much that life in, say, 1878 was easier – it wasn’t – but that it was a less complicated time: no cars, no mobile phones, no Facebook, no 24-hour news cycle.

That’s why primitive décor is so appealing: it takes us back to a quieter time, one that seems warm and cozy and safe. At the same time, it reflects an era before goods were mass produced. Furniture was worn hard and built to last, and items were often re-purposed instead of being thrown away.

It’s a style marked by a more rustic, darker palette: think of the dark red of cranberries, the black of a crow’s feathers, or a faded mustard yellow. Homes decorated with primitive décor tend to contain images that depict life in the country, with plenty of animal motifs.


Let’s take a look at a few basic steps you can take to give your home a more country primitive feel:

  • Start in your living area, with a colorful rug to help give the room a feeling of warmth. If you search through our collection of oval and rectangular braided jute rugs, you’ll find a number of darker shades.

  • If you’re stuck for other ways to decorate your living area, consider using throw pillows, particularly ones featuring birds, stars, farm life, or other typical country primitive imagery.

  • A few antique items in your living room can give it a primitive feel, but use caution: too many pieces can make your home feel like a museum or a rummage sale. Consider using an old crate or trunk as a coffee table, or hanging a large barn star or sign on the wall.

  • If you’re feeling especially daring – and have the budget for it – consider replacing your kitchen table with a vintage farm table. You can often find these at flea markets, antique stores or country auctions. With enough work, a vintage table can become a focal point of your room, and show your commitment to primitive décor.

  • Not everyone has the time or inclination to replace their kitchen table, and that’s fine. You can make a smaller statement by decorating your counter with vintage baskets and crocks. It’s a good idea to give those decorations a job. Use them to store utensils or fruit or baking and cooking supplies.

  • In your bathroom, consider adding an aged peg rack shelf that can hold your towels and give you a place to display other items.

  • Other washroom possibilities: A wooden bowl to hold your soap, old crocks to hold towels or washcloths, or Mason jars to serve as containers for small items such as Q-tips. If you have enough space, add an old chair where you can keep a fresh towel or hang your clothing while in the shower.

  • We’ve been stressing coziness and authenticity as an important element to primitive décor. There’s nowhere in your home that should feel as cozy as your bedroom. Start by decorating your bed with a few layers of country quilts.

  • At the foot of the bed, keep an antique blanket chest. Once again, this idea goes back to the utilitarian roots of country décor: the chest is decorative, but also serves a more practical purpose, giving you a place to store extra blankets.

  • Remember that you can re-purpose items from your home. For example: Do you have an old dresser that you don’t use anymore? Repaint it and distress it, then turn it into a bathroom storage item. There are a number of tutorials online to help you give furniture a primitive look.

If you’re ready to start giving your rooms a primitive look, check out Piper Classics’online store. We can help simplify your mission to have your home reflect a simpler time.