How to Decorate Colonial Style Home

Colonial style homes have a timeless charm that continues to captivate homeowners and designers alike. With their classic architectural features and rich historical significance, colonial homes have stood the test of time as an enduring symbol of elegance and sophistication. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of colonial style homes, exploring their origins, characteristics, and most importantly, how to decorate them in a way that pays homage to their unique heritage.

The origins of colonial style homes can be traced back to the 17th century when European settlers brought their architectural traditions to North America. These homes are known for their symmetrical designs, often featuring a centrally located front door with evenly spaced windows on either side.

Colonial homes come in various styles, such as Georgian, Federal, and Cape Cod, each with its own distinct characteristics. Regardless of the specific style, colonial homes are characterized by balanced proportions and meticulous attention to detail.

Despite being rooted in history, colonial style remains as popular today as it was centuries ago. The appeal lies not only in the architectural elements but also in the opportunity to create interiors that exude timeless elegance.

In this blog post series, we will guide you through the process of decorating a colonial style home from start to finish. From choosing the right color palette and furniture pieces to selecting window treatments and lighting fixtures that enhance the overall ambiance, we will provide insights and inspiration for creating a truly authentic colonial interior.

So whether you own a historical colonial home or simply want to incorporate elements of this iconic architectural style into your modern space, get ready to embark on a journey filled with design tips and tricks that will help you achieve a beautifully decorated colonial-style home. Let’s begin.

Understanding the Key Elements of Colonial Style Homes

Colonial style homes are characterized by their timeless charm and classic architectural details. To successfully decorate a colonial style home, it is essential to understand the key elements that make up this style. By paying attention to symmetry, proportion, and balance, as well as incorporating traditional color schemes and furniture styles, you can create an authentic and inviting colonial interior.

Distinctive Features and Architectural Details

One of the defining features of colonial style homes is their symmetrical facade. Typically, these homes feature a centered front door flanked by evenly spaced windows on either side. The use of columns or pilasters is also prevalent in colonial architecture, adding an elegant touch to the exterior. Inside, you may find formal staircases with balustrades, wide-plank wood floors, crown molding, and fireplace mantels.

Different types of colonial homes have distinct architectural details. Georgian-style homes often have spacious rooms with high ceilings and elaborate moldings. Federal-style homes feature delicate detailing, such as slender columns and ornate plasterwork. Cape Cod-style homes are known for their cozy feel and charming dormer windows.

The Importance of Symmetry and Proportion

Symmetry is a crucial element in colonial design. It creates a sense of balance and harmony that is pleasing to the eye. When decorating your interior space in the colonial style, strive to achieve symmetry in furniture placement, artwork arrangements, and window treatments.

Proportion is equally important in colonial design. Pay attention to scale when selecting furniture pieces and decorative accessories. Aim for a balanced mix of larger statement pieces along with smaller accents to create visual interest while maintaining proportion throughout the room.

Historical Color Schemes

To create an authentic colonial interior, it’s essential to choose a suitable color palette. Traditional color schemes for colonial-style homes include warm neutrals such as ivory, beige, and cream. Deep reds, blues, and greens are also commonly found in colonial interiors. These colors reflect the natural surroundings and provide a timeless elegance.

When selecting paint colors for your walls, consider historical accuracy. Research period color palettes or consult with an expert to find historically accurate hues. For trim and accents, opt for crisp whites or muted shades that complement the overall color scheme.

By understanding the key elements of colonial style homes, you can confidently embark on decorating your own colonial interior. Embrace symmetry and proportion, incorporate historically accurate color schemes, and pay attention to architectural details. With these guidelines in mind, you’ll be able to create a harmonious and inviting space that reflects the timeless elegance of colonial design.

Creating the Perfect Color Palette for a Colonial Interior

When it comes to decorating a colonial style home, one of the key elements to consider is the color palette. Traditional color schemes used in colonial homes are known for their warmth and richness, evoking a sense of timeless elegance. In this section, we will explore how to choose the right paint colors and incorporate historically accurate colors into modern colonial interiors.

Traditional Color Schemes

In order to achieve an authentic colonial look, it is important to understand the traditional color schemes used in these homes. Warm neutrals, such as creamy whites, beiges, and taupes, serve as a foundation for creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Deep reds, blues, and greens are often used as accent colors to add depth and contrast.

Choosing Paint Colors

When selecting paint colors for your walls in a colonial-style interior, consider using shades that reflect the traditional color palette. Opt for warm neutral tones or deeper hues that will complement the architectural details commonly found in colonial homes. It is also important to select paint finishes that enhance the overall aesthetic – matte or eggshell finishes work well for walls, while semi-gloss or high gloss finishes can be used for trim and accents.

Incorporating Historically Accurate Colors

To truly capture the essence of a colonial style home, incorporating historically accurate colors can help create an authentic atmosphere. Research specific time periods or regional styles of colonial architecture to find inspiration for your color choices. Many historical societies provide resources on historically accurate paint colors that were commonly used during different periods.

Consider incorporating these historically accurate colors through accent walls, painted cabinetry, or furniture pieces. By carefully selecting and incorporating these colors into your space, you can bring an added layer of depth and historical accuracy to your colonial interior.

The color palette plays a significant role in capturing the essence of colonial style in your home. By selecting warm neutrals, deep accent colors, and historically accurate hues, you can create an inviting and elegant space that embodies the timeless charm of colonial design. Whether you choose to embrace a traditional color scheme or put your own unique spin on it, remember to stay true to the defining elements of colonial design for a truly stunning result.

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Choosing Colonial Furniture and Decor

When it comes to decorating a colonial style home, selecting the right furniture and decor is essential in capturing the timeless elegance of this architectural style. Colonial interiors often feature furniture styles such as Queen Anne, Chippendale, and Windsor, which complement the classic design elements of these homes.

One key aspect to consider when choosing colonial furniture is craftsmanship and quality. Colonial homes were built with an emphasis on durability and longevity, and this should be reflected in the furniture pieces you select. Look for items made from solid wood with intricate detailing and joinery techniques that showcase expert craftsmanship.

Mixing and matching different furniture styles can also help achieve an authentic colonial look. For example, pairing a Queen Anne dining table with Windsor chairs adds depth and interest to a dining room. Incorporating a mix of antiques or vintage pieces alongside newer items can create a curated and unique colonial interior.

In addition to furniture, selecting appropriate decor is crucial in completing the colonial aesthetic. Look for decorative accessories that reflect the time period, such as brass candlesticks, porcelain vases, or antique clocks. These pieces not only add character to your space but also evoke the historic charm associated with colonial homes.

By carefully selecting colonial-inspired furniture styles and complementing them with appropriate decor items, you can create an interior that exudes classic elegance while staying true to the defining elements of colonial style architecture.

  • Consider incorporating Queen Anne, Chippendale, or Windsor-style furniture into your space for an authentic colonial look.
  • Pay attention to craftsmanship and quality when selecting furniture pieces to ensure they align with the enduring nature of colonial homes.
  • Mix and match different furniture styles to add depth and visual interest to your space.
  • Choose decor items that reflect the time period of colonial style homes, such as antique clocks or brass candlesticks.
  • Remember that attention to detail is key in achieving a truly authentic colonial interior design aesthetic.

Adding Colonial-Inspired Window Treatments

Window treatments play a crucial role in enhancing the colonial aesthetic of a home. By choosing the right type of window treatments and selecting appropriate fabrics, patterns, and colors, you can elevate the overall colonial style of your interior. Here are some tips and ideas on adding colonial-inspired window treatments to your home:

  1. Shutters: Shutters are an iconic element commonly used in colonial homes. They not only provide privacy and control over natural light but also add a touch of traditional charm to the space. Opt for wooden shutters with louvers or panels that can be adjusted according to your preference.
  2. Swag curtains: Swag curtains are another popular choice for colonial-style interiors. These soft fabric curtains feature cascading swags that create an elegant yet cozy look. Choose fabrics with classic floral or damask patterns in warm colors to maintain the traditional appeal.
  3. Valances: Valances are decorative fabric panels that are installed above windows to conceal curtain rods or blinds. In a colonial interior, consider using valances made from lush fabrics like velvet or silk, adorned with intricate trimmings like tassels or fringes.

When selecting fabrics, patterns, and colors for your window treatments, it is essential to stay true to the colonial style. Consider incorporating historically accurate motifs such as toile or gingham prints in warm tones like deep reds, blues, or greens.

In addition to the window treatments themselves, be mindful of how you hang them. For an authentic colonial look, consider installing wrought iron curtain rods or brass hardware that complements other elements in your interior design.

By paying attention to these details and carefully selecting the right window treatments for your home, you can enhance the timeless charm of your colonial-style interior.

  • Shutters
  • Swag curtains
  • Valances

Enhancing Colonial Charm with Lighting Fixtures

In the world of interior design, lighting plays a crucial role in creating a specific ambiance and enhancing the overall aesthetic of a space. When it comes to decorating a colonial-style home, choosing the right lighting fixtures is essential in capturing the timeless charm and elegance that this architectural style exudes.

Colonial homes often feature an abundance of natural light, which was highly valued during this period. To enhance this effect, incorporate lighting fixtures that mimic natural sources of light. Candle-style chandeliers are a popular choice for dining areas and entryways, evoking a sense of colonial elegance. Look for fixtures with wrought iron or brass finishes that reflect the craftsmanship synonymous with this architectural style.

Wall sconces are another staple in colonial homes, providing both functional and decorative lighting options. Opt for sconces with candle-style bulbs or shades to maintain an authentic colonial look. These fixtures can be strategically placed throughout the home to create ambient lighting and highlight architectural details such as fireplaces or accent walls.

Lanterns are yet another iconic lighting choice to consider when decorating your colonial home. Hang lanterns by the front door or along exterior walkways to welcome guests with warm illumination reminiscent of historic times. Lantern-style pendant lights can also be installed in kitchens or over kitchen islands to add a touch of charm while providing functional task lighting.

When selecting lighting fixtures for your colonial-style home, keep in mind that simplicity and elegance are key. Avoid overly ornate fixtures that may overpower the classic appeal of your interior design. Instead, focus on designs inspired by traditional colonial silhouettes and materials.

By carefully choosing and incorporating appropriate lighting fixtures into your colonial-style home, you can create an enchanting atmosphere that captures the timeless beauty of this architectural style while illuminating your space with grace and sophistication.

Decorating with Colonial-Inspired Patterns and Textiles

Patterns and textiles play a crucial role in creating the authentic colonial aesthetic in your home. By incorporating traditional colonial patterns and textiles, you can add depth, richness, and historical charm to your interior decor. In this section, we will explore some popular colonial patterns, discuss their significance, and provide suggestions on how to incorporate them into your home.

One of the most iconic colonial patterns is toile. Toile is a fabric characterized by its intricate scenes or motifs depicting bucolic landscapes, historical events, or everyday life. Originating in France, toile quickly became popular in colonial America, with many homes featuring toile upholstery or curtains. When using toile in your decor, consider opting for muted colors like blue or green for a more authentic look.

Damask is another popular colonial pattern that exudes elegance and sophistication. Damask fabrics typically feature ornate floral designs woven into a richly textured background. This pattern was commonly used on upholstery, curtains, and bedding in colonial homes. Incorporate damask through accent pillows or reupholstering antique furniture pieces to bring a touch of luxury to your space.

Gingham is a classic checkered pattern that adds a cheerful and rustic feel to any room. Although gingham originated in Europe centuries ago, it gained popularity among American colonists as well. Use gingham for curtains or tablecloths to create a warm and cozy atmosphere reminiscent of early American homes.

When choosing textiles for your colonial-inspired interior, opt for natural materials like linen or cotton with delicate weaves and subtle textures. These fabrics not only evoke an authentic feel but also provide durability and longevity – essential qualities when decorating your home in this timeless style.

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To complete the look, consider adding other elements such as braided rugs or needlepoint cushions that showcase the craftsmanship and attention to detail characteristic of colonial design.

Incorporating these traditional patterns and textiles into your colonial-style home allows you to create a space that echoes the charm and elegance of the past. By carefully selecting fabrics, patterns, and textures, you can bring warmth and character to every room while paying homage to the timeless appeal of colonial design.

Colonial PatternSignificance
ToileDepict scenes of bucolic landscapes or historical events, adding depth and historical charm.
DamaskAdds elegance and sophistication with ornate floral designs on richly textured backgrounds.
GinghamGives a cheerful and rustic feel with classic checkered patterns.

Showcasing Colonial Art and Decorative Accessories

In the world of colonial style home decor, art and decorative accessories play a crucial role in completing the overall aesthetic. These elements not only add character and personality to the space but also serve as a nod to the historical significance of colonial design.

In this section, we will explore the various types of art and decorative items commonly found in colonial homes, provide guidance on sourcing and displaying them, and offer tips on how to add authenticity and elegance to your own colonial-style interior.

One of the key aspects of showcasing colonial art is understanding the types of artwork that were prevalent during that era. Portraits, landscapes, and historical artifacts are among the most popular choices for colonial-inspired decor. Portraits capture the essence of the time by portraying figures from history or prominent individuals from that era. Landscapes provide a glimpse into the natural beauty that surrounded colonial homes while historical artifacts serve as visual reminders of the past.

When sourcing colonial-inspired artwork, it is important to consider factors such as quality, authenticity, and relevance to the period. Look for pieces created by renowned artists who specialize in colonial-style art or opt for reproductions that faithfully capture the aesthetics of that time. Antique shops, estate sales, and online auctions can be great sources for finding unique and authentic pieces.

Once you have acquired your desired art pieces, displaying them properly is crucial to maintaining their integrity and enhancing their impact in your colonial-style home. Consider incorporating traditional framing techniques such as gilded frames or wooden frames with intricate carvings. Hang portraits at eye level or create gallery walls featuring a curated collection of artwork.

In addition to artwork, decorative accessories also contribute significantly to achieving a cohesive colonial look. Candlesticks, silverware, porcelain vases, maps, globes, and antique books are some examples of decorative items commonly found in colonial homes. Again, sourcing these accessories from reputable dealers or specialized stores will ensure their authenticity.

When arranging these accessories in your space, it is important to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetics. Grouping similar items together or displaying them on shelves, mantels, or side tables can create visually pleasing vignettes that evoke the colonial ambiance. Consider incorporating accessories with historical significance or personal relevance to add a personalized touch to your colonial-style interior.


In conclusion, decorating a colonial style home allows homeowners to cultivate timeless elegance and embrace the rich history and charm of this architectural style. Throughout this blog post, we have explored the key elements of colonial design, from the distinctive features and architectural details to the traditional color palettes and furniture styles that define this aesthetic.

By understanding and incorporating these elements into their interior decor, homeowners can create a space that exudes the classic beauty of colonial style while still reflecting their own personal taste and style. It is important to remember that while there are certain guidelines and principles to follow when decorating in a colonial style, there is also room for individual interpretation and creativity.

So whether you live in a Georgian, Federal, or Cape Cod-style home, it is essential to stay true to the defining characteristics of colonial design while infusing your own personality into the space. Pay attention to details such as symmetry, proportion, and balance when choosing furniture pieces and arranging them in your rooms.

Select paint colors that reflect the warm neutrals or deep hues commonly used in colonial interiors. Enhance the ambiance with appropriate lighting fixtures and window treatments that add both functionality and aesthetics.

Lastly, don’t forget to showcase your personal touch through patterns, textiles, artwork, and decorative accessories. Incorporate colonial-inspired patterns such as toile or damask through upholstery fabrics or throw pillows. Display portraits or landscape paintings that capture the essence of a bygone era. And ultimately, make your space feel like home by selecting meaningful decorative items that resonate with you.

We encourage you to take what you’ve learned from this blog post and apply it to your own colonial style home. Embrace the timeless elegance of this architectural style while adding your unique flair. We would love for you to share your beautifully decorated spaces. Submit pictures of your colonial home for a chance to be featured on our blog or social media platforms. Let’s celebrate together as we admire the enduring appeal of colonial design.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you decorate a traditional colonial home?

Decorating a traditional colonial home involves paying homage to the architectural style and historical significance of the era. Start by focusing on the interior colors, which are typically neutral or earth tones to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Incorporate elements such as wooden furniture with detailed carvings in rich mahogany or cherry finishes.

Mix in traditional patterns like plaids, stripes, or floral prints for upholstery and draperies. Use antique or reproduction lighting fixtures, such as brass chandeliers or candle sconces, to add an elegant touch. Enhance the charm of your colonial home by using colonial-inspired artwork, vintage maps, or portraits of notable figures from that period.

What is colonial decorating style?

The colonial decorating style takes inspiration from the 17th and 18th-century European settlers who brought their traditional design principles when establishing colonies in America. It combines elements from various European styles but adds an American twist. Colonial homes often feature symmetrical facades, simple geometric shapes, and sturdy construction materials like brick or wood siding.

The interior design focuses on incorporating classic aesthetics with functional furnishings. Key features include wood-paneled walls, exposed ceiling beams, large fireplaces, and wide-plank hardwood floors. Colonial decorating style exudes elegance with a touch of rustic charm.

How to decorate American colonial style?

To decorate your home in American colonial style, start with the color palette reminiscent of that period; choose warm hues like deep reds, rich browns, earthy greens, and creamy whites for walls and trimmings. Create a sense of history by adding architectural details such as crown molding or wainscoting to walls or paneling on hallways.

Choose furniture pieces made of sturdy woods like oak or maple with simpler designs reflecting traditional craftsmanship rather than ornate embellishments commonly found in later periods.

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