How to Decorate a Colonial Style Home

When it comes to home décor, there are few styles as timeless and elegant as colonial. The allure of colonial style homes lies in their rich history and architectural beauty. From New England saltbox houses to Georgian mansions, these homes exude charm that transcends time. Decorating a colonial style home allows you to embrace the past while creating a warm and inviting space for modern living.

Colonial style homes have a deep-rooted historical significance. They were originally built during the colonial era, which spanned from the 1600s to the late 1700s in America. These homes showcase distinctive architectural features like symmetrical facades, multi-pane windows, and pitched roofs. They often boast intricate details such as crown moldings, wainscoting, and exposed beams that add an air of sophistication and character.

What makes decorating a colonial style home so special is its timeless appeal. Whether you live in a historic house or want to recreate the charm of bygone eras, colonial style provides a perfect backdrop for your creativity. By understanding its unique characteristics and melding traditional elements with modern touches, you can create a space that not only celebrates history but also reflects your personal style.

In this article, we will guide you through the enchanting world of decorating a colonial style home. From researching and gathering inspiration to selecting authentic furniture pieces and incorporating colonial architectural features into your decor, we will explore every aspect of turning your home into an ode to elegance. So join us on this journey as we embark on creating a truly captivating colonial-style oasis that you’ll love coming back to every day.

Researching and Gathering Inspiration

Before embarking on the journey of decorating a colonial style home, it is important to spend some time researching and gathering inspiration. By doing so, you can gain a deeper understanding of the style, explore different ideas, and ensure that your decor aligns with the historical charm and elegance of colonial homes.

One valuable tip is to turn to online platforms and magazines for inspiration. Websites dedicated to interior design, such as Houzz or Pinterest, can provide an abundance of ideas and images to spark your creativity. Additionally, flipping through magazines that feature colonial-style homes or historical architecture can give you a sense of how others have successfully incorporated this style into their own spaces.

Another great source of inspiration is visiting historic homes or even attending house tours in your area. These opportunities allow you to see firsthand how colonial homes were decorated during different time periods and gather ideas from the authentic details found within these properties. You may be inspired by the color schemes, furniture layouts, or decorative accents used in these homes.

To keep all your design inspirations organized and easily accessible, consider creating a mood board or Pinterest board specifically for your colonial style home decor. This allows you to collect images, color swatches, fabric samples, and any other visual elements that catch your eye in one place. Having a physical or digital collection will help guide your decision-making process as you move forward with decorating your home.

Online PlatformsWebsites like Houzz or Pinterest provide an abundance of ideas and images for colonial style home decor.
MagazinesFlipping through magazines featuring colonial-style homes offers inspiration from professionally styled spaces.
Historic Homes and House ToursVisiting historic homes or attending house tours allows you to see authentic colonial decor firsthand.

Key Elements of Colonial Style Decor

Colonial style decor is characterized by its timeless elegance and historical significance. To successfully decorate a colonial style home, it is important to understand the key elements and characteristics that define this style. By incorporating these elements into your home, you can create a space that exudes the charm and sophistication of colonial architecture.

One of the most important aspects of colonial style decor is the color palette. Commonly used colors in colonial homes include warm neutrals such as whites, creams, beiges, and browns. These colors provide a classic backdrop for the other elements of colonial decor. Additionally, bold accent colors like deep reds, blues, and greens can also be used to add pops of color and create visual interest.

In terms of furniture and materials, colonial style decor typically features pieces made from natural materials such as wood or wicker. Furniture styles tend to be classic and traditional with influences from European designs of the time. Wingback chairs, four-poster beds, trestle tables, and spindle-back chairs are common choices for a colonial style home. Accessories such as antique maps, brass candle holders, and artwork from the colonial era can also enhance the overall aesthetic.

Symmetry and balance are important principles in colonial style decor. This can be achieved through pairings of furniture or accessories on either side of a room or by creating symmetrical arrangements on walls using paintings or mirrors. The use of architectural features such as crown molding, wainscoting, and exposed beams also adds to the sense of balance and enhances the overall look.

By incorporating these key elements into your home’s decor, you can achieve an authentic colonial style that combines timeless elegance with historical significance. Paying attention to details such as color schemes, furniture choices, symmetry, and architectural features will help you create a space that captures the charm of colonial design.

Choosing the Right Colors for your Colonial Style Home

When it comes to decorating a colonial style home, selecting the right colors is paramount in creating an authentic and cohesive look. The color palette of a colonial home is often influenced by its historical origins and the era it represents. To capture the essence of a colonial style, it’s essential to choose colors that reflect the time period while also complementing your personal taste and lifestyle.

To begin, it’s important to consider historically accurate color palettes commonly used in colonial style decor. These palettes typically include warm, earthy tones that evoke a sense of tradition and nostalgia. Shades of red, yellow, brown, and green are commonly associated with colonial homes. For instance, deep reds and burgundy were popular for dining rooms and formal spaces, while pale yellows were commonly used in bedrooms and kitchens.

Incorporating both neutral and bold colors is crucial for creating a balanced colonial look. Neutrals such as white, ivory, or cream can be utilized as base colors on walls to create a clean backdrop for highlighting architectural details. Bold or deeper hues can then be used strategically on accent walls or as statement pieces of furniture to add drama and interest to space. This combination creates depth and visual appeal in your colonial home decor.

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To maintain consistency throughout your home, consider using a common thread of color that flows from room to room. Using different shades or variations of the same color family can help create harmony while still allowing each room its own unique character. By doing so, you’ll establish a sense of continuity that is true to the timeless elegance found in colonial style homes.

Remember that lighting plays an integral role in how colors appear in a space. Take note of natural light sources within your home as well as the type of artificial lighting you have chosen. It’s important to test paint samples under different lighting conditions before committing to a particular shade.

By carefully selecting your color choices, you can create a colonial style home that exudes timeless elegance while reflecting your personal style. The right colors will enhance the architectural features and historical significance of your home, creating a space that feels authentic and inviting.

Colonial Style Furniture and Accessories

To truly bring the charm and elegance of colonial style into your home, it is important to carefully select furniture and accessories that align with this timeless design aesthetic. Colonial style furniture is known for its traditional and classic appeal, and incorporating these pieces into your decor can instantly transport you to a bygone era. In this section, we will provide a comprehensive guide to selecting furniture pieces that perfectly complement the colonial style.

When choosing furniture for a colonial style home, it is essential to incorporate traditional colonial pieces that were prevalent during the time period. Some iconic examples include wingback chairs, four-poster beds, trestle tables, and Windsor chairs. These pieces often feature rich wood tones, intricate carvings or detailing, and luxurious upholstery. Consider investing in high-quality antique or reproduction furniture that accurately captures the essence of colonial design.

In addition to furniture, accessories play a crucial role in achieving an authentic colonial look. Antique maps are an excellent choice for adding character to your walls. Brass candle holders and chandeliers can elevate the ambience while paying homage to the era’s lighting fixtures.

Colonial-era artwork featuring landscapes or portraits can be used as focal points in your decor. Don’t be afraid to mix in modern touches or personal mementos to add a contemporary twist to your colonial styling.

Colonial Style FurnitureDescription
Wingback ChairsThese chairs feature high backs and winged sides for added comfort.
Four-Poster BedsA staple of colonial bedrooms, these beds have tall posts at each corner with a canopy frame.
Trestle TablesA rectangular table that features a solid, horizontal beam supported by trestles or legs at each end.
Windsor ChairsThese chairs have a curved back with multiple spindles and a solid seat.

Incorporating these furniture pieces and accessories into your colonial style home will help create an inviting and sophisticated atmosphere. Remember to strike a balance between authenticity and personal style, allowing your unique taste to shine through while still honoring the timeless elegance of colonial design.

Incorporating Colonial Architectural Features into the Decor

Colonial architectural features are an integral part of the charm and character of colonial style homes. Incorporating these features into the decor can elevate the authenticity and evoke a sense of history in your home. Here are some tips on how to embrace and enhance colonial architectural features to create a truly authentic colonial-style decor.

Embracing Crown Molding

Crown molding is a hallmark of colonial architecture and can add a touch of elegance to any room. Embrace this feature by highlighting it with a fresh coat of paint or stain that complements the overall color scheme.

Consider choosing a shade that contrasts with the wall color to make the crown molding stand out, or opt for a shade similar to your wall color for a more subtle look. Keep in mind that historically accurate crown molding usually features intricate designs, so consider adding decorative elements if you want to stay true to authentic colonial style.

Enhancing Wainscoting

Wainscoting is another architectural feature commonly found in colonial homes. It not only adds visual interest but also provides protection to walls from everyday wear and tear. Enhance this feature by painting it in a contrasting color or staining it to highlight the natural wood grain.

To maintain authenticity, opt for traditional paneling styles such as beadboard or raised panels. You can also experiment with different heights and styles of wainscoting throughout your home to add variety while still staying within the colonial design aesthetic.

Treating Windows, Doors, and Fireplace Mantels

Windows, doors, and fireplace mantels are focal points in any room and should be treated with care when decorating a colonial style home. Consider using window treatments that reflect historical accuracy such as plantation shutters or simple curtains made from natural fabrics like linen or cotton.

Look for door styles that mimic those from the colonial era, such as panel doors with brass or wrought iron hardware. Enhance the fireplace mantels by adding decorative elements like brass candle holders, antique clocks, or colonial-era artwork above them.

By embracing and enhancing these colonial architectural features, you can create a truly authentic and charming colonial style decor in your home. Remember to pay attention to detail and stay true to historical accuracy when choosing colors, furniture, accessories, and treatments for windows, doors, crown molding, wainscoting, and fireplace mantels. With these tips in mind, you can transform your space into a timeless oasis that reflects the elegance and historical significance of colonial style homes.

Creating a Colonial Outdoor Space

Creating a colonial outdoor space is an essential part of bringing the timeless elegance and historical charm of colonial style decor into your home. This section will discuss the importance of extending the colonial aesthetic to the outdoor areas, provide ideas for landscaping and porch decor, as well as offer suggestions for incorporating colonial-style outdoor lighting, seating, and traditional plant selections.

Landscaping and Garden Structures

When it comes to landscaping your colonial outdoor space, simplicity and symmetry are key. Opt for classic, structured garden beds with neatly trimmed hedges or boxwoods to create a polished look that complements the architectural style of your home. Consider incorporating symmetrical elements such as pathways and focal points like fountains or statues to enhance the overall design. For added colonial charm, consider adding a picket fence or trellises adorned with climbing vines.

Porch Decor

The front porch is a quintessential feature of many colonial homes and can be used as an extension of your interior decor. Embrace classic porch furniture styles such as rocking chairs or porch swings made from materials like wicker or wood. Add comfortable cushions in muted tones or traditional patterns like toile or plaid to create a cozy atmosphere. To complete the look, place potted plants along the porch railing or hang baskets filled with cascading flowers.

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Outdoor Lighting and Seating

Incorporating colonial-style lighting fixtures into your outdoor space can greatly enhance its authenticity and charm. Consider installing lantern-style wall sconces beside your front door or opting for period-inspired lampposts along walkways or driveways. Additionally, create inviting seating areas by placing benches made from wrought iron or wooden slats in strategic locations throughout your yard.

Traditional Plant Selections

Selecting plants that were popular during the colonial era can further enhance the historical feel of your outdoor space. Popular choices include flowering perennials like peonies, roses, and lilies, as well as shrubs like boxwoods and hydrangeas. Incorporating fragrant herbs such as lavender, rosemary, or thyme can also add a delightful touch to your colonial garden.

By incorporating these ideas into your landscaping, porch decor, lighting, seating, and plant selections, you can create a stunning outdoor space that complements the historical charm of your colonial home. Embracing the timeless elegance of colonial style in every aspect of your home’s design will ensure a cohesive and truly enchanting atmosphere.

Maintenance and Care Tips for Colonial Homes

Once you have successfully decorated your colonial style home, it is important to keep up with the necessary maintenance and care to preserve its authenticity and beauty. Taking proper care of both the decor and architectural features will ensure that your colonial home continues to exude its timeless elegance for years to come.

Preserving antique furniture and artwork is a crucial aspect of maintaining a colonial style home’s decor. When caring for antique furniture, it is important to avoid direct sunlight and excessive heat, as these can cause wood and fabric to fade or warp. Regularly dusting furniture with a soft cloth or using a gentle vacuum attachment can help prevent dirt build-up. Applying beeswax polish will not only enhance the shine but also provide protection for the wood.

When it comes to preserving colonial-style architectural features such as crown molding, wainscoting, and exposed beams, regular cleaning is essential. Use a mild detergent mixed with warm water and gently wipe down these surfaces with a soft cloth or sponge. Be mindful of using abrasive cleaners or harsh chemicals that could damage the paint or finish.

Windows, doors, and fireplace mantels are iconic colonial architectural elements that require special attention. Regularly inspect windows for any cracks or gaps in the caulk/sealant, which should be promptly repaired to maintain energy efficiency. Cleaning windows with a vinegar-water solution will help remove dirt build-up without causing any damage.

For doors, periodically check hinges and knobs for any loose screws or other issues. Lubricate hinges as needed to keep them functioning smoothly. Fireplace mantels should be cleaned regularly by dusting them with a soft brush or cloth. If there are signs of wear or damage on the mantel’s finish, consider refinishing it to rejuvenate its appearance.

By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure that your colonial style home remains in pristine condition while retaining its historical significance and charm. By taking care of the decor and architectural features, you are preserving a piece of history and allowing future generations to appreciate the timeless elegance of colonial style homes.


In conclusion, decorating a colonial style home allows homeowners to bring timeless elegance and historical significance into their living spaces. Throughout this article, we have explored the charm and appeal of colonial style homes, as well as provided guidance on researching inspiration, incorporating key elements of colonial decor, choosing the right colors, selecting furniture and accessories, embracing architectural features, creating an outdoor space, and maintaining the authenticity of a colonial home.

By understanding the historical significance and architectural features of colonial homes, homeowners can create a space that exudes charm and sophistication. The symmetrical designs, balanced proportions, and classic color palettes that define colonial style offer homeowners endless possibilities for creating a truly elegant atmosphere. And by incorporating traditional furniture pieces such as wingback chairs and four-poster beds, along with accessories like antique maps and brass candle holders, homeowners can further enhance the colonial aesthetic.

Furthermore, extending the colonial style to the outdoor areas through landscaping and porch decor helps to create a cohesive look that complements the historical charm of these homes. By carefully selecting traditional plant selections and incorporating colonial-style lighting and seating options outdoors, homeowners can truly bring their love for colonial style full-circle.

In closing, decorating a colonial style home is not just about creating a beautiful living space; it is about preserving history and embracing timeless elegance. By following the tips and suggestions provided in this article, readers can confidently embark on their journey to transform their homes into a reflection of classic beauty. So go ahead and embrace the charm of the past by decorating your home in stunning colonial style.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you decorate a traditional colonial home?

Decorating a traditional colonial home involves incorporating classic and timeless elements that reflect the historic style of colonial architecture. One key aspect is to prioritize symmetry in the design, both inside and outside of the house. This can be achieved by placing matching furniture pieces on either side of a room or using pairs of lamps or artwork.

Traditional colors, such as soft neutrals like whites, creams, and grays, can be utilized on walls, while deeper hues like navy blue and forest green can be incorporated for accent colors. Wood furniture with elegant detailing is often used to complement the colonial aesthetic. Adding antique pieces or replicas of historic artifacts can also enhance the overall ambiance.

What is colonial decorating style?

Colonial decorating style refers to an interior design theme that draws inspiration from the homes built during the colonial period in America—specifically from approximately 1600 to 1800. The style has its roots in European influences brought by early settlers, including British, Dutch, and French traditions. Colonial decor emphasizes simplicity, elegance, and functionality.

It typically features symmetrical layouts, straight lines, and balanced proportions. Natural materials such as wood are frequently used for furniture and flooring. Classic patterns like toile or striped fabrics may be incorporated into upholstery and curtains.

How to decorate American colonial style?

To decorate in American colonial style, it’s essential to embrace simplicity and blend historical charm with modern comfort. Start by focusing on architectural details such as moldings or wainscoting if they exist in your home; these elements highlight the colonial style’s grandeur when left unpainted or painted in a classic color scheme mentioned before – whites or creams work particularly well here. Incorporate antique or reproduction furniture pieces with elegant silhouettes like wingback chairs or Chippendale-style tables into your decor scheme.

Textiles should feature traditional patterns such as gingham checks or floral prints to evoke nostalgia for simpler times. Finally, add finishing touches with vintage-inspired accessories like pewter candlesticks or brass sconces to enhance the overall colonial charm of your space.

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