How Did the Cherokee Decorate There Homes

The Cherokee people have a rich and vibrant history, including the way they adorned their homes with decorative elements that reflected their culture and traditions. This article will explore how the Cherokee decorated their homes, from the construction of their traditional house styles to the use of natural materials and symbolic motifs in their interior decor.

We will also delve into the significance of home decor in daily life, as well as its role in ceremonial and sacred spaces. Additionally, we will examine how contemporary Cherokee individuals continue to honor and preserve their legacy through home decor.

The Cherokee nation was known for its unique and distinctive approach to decorating their homes, reflecting a deep connection to nature and a rich cultural heritage. Their decor choices were not only aesthetically pleasing but also held significant meaning within their community. From intricate rugs to beautiful pottery and basketry, the Cherokee brought artistry into every aspect of their living spaces.

The use of natural materials played a crucial role in Cherokee home decor, with an emphasis on incorporating elements from the surrounding environment. Understanding these traditional practices provides invaluable insight into the lifestyle and values of the Cherokee people, offering a glimpse into a world where decoration was more than just ornamentation-it was a reflection of their beliefs and way of life.

Through this exploration, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the artistry and symbolism behind Cherokee home decor.

Traditional Cherokee House Styles

The traditional Cherokee homes, also known as “chickees,” were typically made from wooden frames covered with a thatched roof. These structures were designed to be well-ventilated and cool, making them suitable for the hot and humid climate of the southeastern United States where the Cherokee primarily resided. Additionally, the Cherokees also used a building technique called “wattle and daub” where woven saplings were plastered with a mixture of mud and clay to create sturdy walls for their homes.

In terms of decoration, the Cherokee incorporated various elements into their homes to make them aesthetically pleasing and functional. One way they decorated their interiors was through the use of handcrafted rugs made from natural fibers such as animal fur or plant materials.

These rugs not only added warmth and comfort to the home but also served as decorative elements with intricate patterns and designs. Additionally, pottery played a significant role in Cherokee home decor, with skilled artisans creating beautifully crafted vessels for cooking, storage, and ceremonial purposes.

The Cherokee also excelled in basket weaving, creating intricate baskets that were both utilitarian and decorative. These baskets were used for storing food, carrying items, and even as wall decorations in their homes.

The craftsmanship involved in creating these pieces showcased the Cherokee’s respect for nature and their ability to transform natural materials into beautiful and practical objects. Overall, the traditional Cherokee homes were not only functional shelters but also served as spaces for artistic expression through various decorative elements rooted in nature and cultural symbolism.

Cherokee Home Decor ElementsDescription
RugsHandcrafted from natural fibers with intricate patterns
PotteryArtisan-made vessels for cooking, storage, & ceremonial use
BasketryIntricate baskets used for storage & decoration

How Did the Cherokee Decorate Their Interiors

The Cherokee people were known for their rich and vibrant culture, and their homes were no exception. When it came to interior decoration, the Cherokee used a variety of materials and techniques to adorn their living spaces. From rugs to pottery to basketry, every aspect of Cherokee home decor was steeped in tradition and meaning.


One of the most prominent features of Cherokee home decor was the use of handwoven rugs. These rugs were not only functional, providing warmth and comfort to the inhabitants, but they also served as decorative pieces.

The intricate designs and patterns woven into these rugs often held symbolic meaning, representing aspects of nature or important events in Cherokee history. Natural dyes derived from plants were used to create a palette of earthy colors, further connecting the rugs to the natural world that held great significance for the Cherokee people.


Pottery was another essential element in Cherokee home decor. The Cherokee were skilled potters, creating both functional vessels and decorative pieces adorned with intricate designs. These designs often featured symbols that held spiritual or cultural significance for the Cherokee people. Pottery was not only used for practical purposes but also played a role in ceremonial practices, making it an essential part of Cherokee home life.


Basket weaving was another traditional craft that played a significant role in Cherokee home decor. The intricate baskets created by the Cherokee were both beautiful and practical, used for storing food and other household items. The patterns woven into these baskets often held symbolic meanings related to nature or daily life, reflecting the deep connection that the Cherokee felt with the world around them.

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The Importance of Nature in Cherokee Home Decor

The Cherokee people have a deep connection to nature, and this is reflected in the way they decorate their homes. The use of natural materials plays a significant role in Cherokee home decor, as it not only reflects their cultural traditions but also highlights their respect for the environment. From the construction of their homes to the decorative items within, the Cherokee prioritize sustainability and harmony with nature.

One of the most prominent features of Cherokee home decor is the use of wood and bark for construction and decoration. The Cherokee traditionally built their homes using natural materials such as logs, tree bark, and branches. These materials were not only abundant in their surroundings but also provided insulation and durability. In addition to using wood for structural purposes, the Cherokee also decorated their interiors with intricate carvings and designs, showcasing their reverence for nature.

Another essential aspect of Cherokee home decor is the incorporation of plant-based elements. For example, natural dyes derived from plants were used to color textiles, creating vibrant rugs and fabrics that added warmth and beauty to their living spaces.

Additionally, pottery made from clay found in the local environment was another significant decorative item in Cherokee homes. The intricate designs on these pottery pieces often featured symbols and motifs inspired by nature, further emphasizing the importance of the natural world in Cherokee home decor.

Overall, the use of natural materials in Cherokee home decor not only served practical purposes but also held deep cultural significance. By incorporating elements from their natural surroundings into their homes, the Cherokee honored their close relationship with the environment while creating beautiful and functional living spaces that reflected their unique heritage.

Cherokee Home DecorUse of Natural Materials
Wood and BarkUsed for construction and decoration
Natural DyesDerived from plants for coloring textiles
PotteryMade from local clay with nature-inspired designs

Symbols and Meanings

The Cherokee people have a rich tradition of incorporating symbols and meanings into their decorative motifs, creating a unique and meaningful aesthetic within their homes. From intricate patterns to symbolic imagery, Cherokee home decor reflects the deep spiritual and cultural beliefs of the community.

Sacred Symbols in Cherokee Home Decor

Cherokee decorative motifs often incorporate sacred symbols that hold deep spiritual significance for the community. These symbols may include representations of animals such as the bear, deer, or eagle, which hold special importance in Cherokee mythology and folklore. Additionally, geometric patterns and designs are used to convey traditional stories and teachings, with each motif carrying its own distinct meaning.

Nature-Inspired Motifs

The natural world plays a central role in Cherokee culture, and this is reflected in their home decor. Nature-inspired motifs such as plants, clouds, and water are commonly found in Cherokee homes, symbolizing the interconnectedness of all living things and the importance of harmony with the natural world. These motifs are often depicted in textiles, pottery, and basketry, utilizing organic materials to further connect the decor to the earth.

Decorative Techniques

Cherokee artisans employ various decorative techniques to infuse meaning into their creations. Intricate beadwork is used to adorn clothing and household items with symbolic patterns, while woodcarving and stonework feature elaborate designs that carry cultural significance. The use of natural dyes derived from plant materials adds an additional layer of symbolism to textiles and pottery, creating a multi-dimensional visual language within Cherokee home decor.

Understanding how the Cherokee decorated their homes provides insight into their values, beliefs, and traditions. By preserving these decorative motifs and honoring their meanings, contemporary Cherokee individuals continue to celebrate their heritage through meaningful home decor that connects them to their cultural identity.

Daily Life in a Cherokee Home

The Cherokee people had a deep connection to their homes and used them not only as shelter but also as a central space for daily activities, gathering, and socializing. The design and decoration of their homes played a significant role in creating functional spaces for these activities. Here is an overview of how the Cherokee decorated their homes to accommodate their daily life:

  • Engaging Cooking Spaces: Cherokee homes were often equipped with open fireplaces or hearths where cooking took place. The interiors were adorned with handcrafted pottery, which was both decorative and functional. Clay pots, bowls, and other vessels adorned with intricate designs were used for preparing and serving food. Additionally, woven mats made from natural materials served as protective coverings for the floors while cooking.
  • Gathering Spaces: The interiors of Cherokee homes featured open floor plans that allowed for multifunctional spaces. Common areas were adorned with colorful rugs made from dyed plant fibers or animal hides that provided comfortable seating for gatherings and storytelling. The walls often displayed intricate basketry made from river cane, oak splints, or honeysuckle vines that served as storage containers or decorative elements.
  • Socializing Spaces: For socializing and ceremonies, Cherokee homes had designated areas where community members would come together. These spaces were decorated with symbols and motifs representing the Cherokee culture and heritage. Symbols such as the seven-pointed star, water spider motif, or the four sacred colors were commonly incorporated into the home decor to convey spiritual meanings during social gatherings.
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Overall, the Cherokee’s approach to decorating their homes reflected their deep connection to nature, spirituality, and community life. Their use of natural materials and symbolic motifs not only contributed to the functionality of their living spaces but also upheld cultural traditions within the home environment.

Ceremonial and Sacred Spaces

The Cherokee people held their homes in high regard, treating them not only as living spaces, but also as places for spiritual connection and ceremonies. Every aspect of Cherokee home decor had a purpose, and this was especially true for the design and decoration of ceremonial and sacred spaces within the home.

In traditional Cherokee homes, a specific area was designated for sacred rituals and ceremonies. This space was adorned with symbolic decorations that held profound meaning within Cherokee culture. These decorations often included items such as handcrafted pottery, intricately woven baskets, and elaborately designed rugs. The symbolism behind these decorative elements varied, with each motif holding significant spiritual importance to the Cherokee people.

One of the most important aspects of ceremonial and sacred spaces in Cherokee homes was the use of natural materials. The Cherokee believed in honoring nature and incorporated elements such as wood, clay, feathers, and plants into their home decor.

These natural materials were not only visually appealing but also held deep significance in connecting the inhabitants with the natural world around them. The careful selection and incorporation of these materials into their ceremonial spaces reflected the Cherokee’s deep reverence for the earth and all its gifts.

Contemporary Cherokee Home Decor

In today’s modern world, many Cherokee individuals and families strive to preserve the traditions of their ancestors while also incorporating contemporary elements into their homes. This blend of the old and the new is evident in the way Cherokee people decorate their living spaces. By honoring their heritage through home decor, they are able to maintain a sense of connection to their cultural identity.

One way contemporary Cherokee individuals preserve traditions in their modern homes is by integrating traditional crafts and artwork into their interior design. This can include handmade pottery, intricately woven baskets, and colorful rugs, all of which add a touch of authenticity to the living space. Additionally, these items serve as meaningful reminders of the rich history and expertise of Cherokee artisans.

Another aspect of preserving traditions in contemporary Cherokee home decor is the use of natural materials. Traditional building techniques like wattle and daub may not be feasible in modern construction, but incorporating natural elements such as wood, river cane, and stone into home decor provides a link to the past. Whether it’s using these materials for furniture or incorporating them into decorative elements, maintaining a connection to nature is an essential part of Cherokee culture.

Furthermore, symbols and motifs that hold cultural significance are often featured prominently in contemporary Cherokee home decor. Designs inspired by nature, animals, and geometric patterns are not only visually appealing but also carry deep meaning within Cherokee tradition. By integrating these symbols into their homes, Cherokee individuals continue to honor and respect their heritage while adapting to modern lifestyles.


In conclusion, the Cherokee people have a rich and vibrant tradition of decorating their homes that is deeply rooted in their culture and connection to nature. From the use of natural materials like wood and clay to create traditional house styles such as chickees and wattle and daub structures, to the intricate decoration of interiors with rugs, pottery, and basketry, the Cherokee have long valued the importance of creating a warm and welcoming living space.

The symbols and motifs used in Cherokee home decor are meaningful representations of their beliefs and traditions, further showcasing the deep connection between their homes and spiritual practices. Whether in daily life or during ceremonial gatherings, Cherokee home decor serves as a reflection of their cultural identity and values.

As contemporary Cherokee seek to preserve their traditions in modern homes, it is important to continue honoring the legacy of Cherokee home decor. By understanding how did the Cherokee decorate there homes an embracing these traditional practices, they can ensure that this important aspect of their heritage continues to thrive for generations to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Did the Cherokee Set Up Their Homes?

The Cherokee set up their homes in small clustered villages, with each family having their own wattle and daub house. These houses were typically circular or rectangular in shape and had thatched roofs.

How Did the Cherokee Decorate Their Clothes?

The Cherokee decorated their clothes using a variety of techniques such as intricate beadwork, shells, and fringes made from animal hides. They also used dyes made from natural materials to add color and designs to their garments.

What Did the Cherokee Use for Art?

The Cherokee used various materials for art, including woodcarving, pottery, basket weaving, and stone carving. They created intricate designs and patterns on their crafts, often incorporating symbols and motifs that held cultural significance for the tribe.

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