Unveiling the timeless elegance of Colonial style interior decorating ideas, a canvas where every stroke speaks of history and grace. Imagine stepping into a space that whispers tales of the past while cradling comfort that feels undeniably here and now.

This article is a curated passage through the corridors of traditional colonial aesthetics, eased into the modern milieu.

Readers will embark on a transformative journey, where each paragraph sheds light on weaving the quintessential elements of Colonial architecture characteristics and historic interior renovation into contemporary living spaces.

What awaits is an anthology of chapters: from understanding the symmetry of Georgian style accessories to selecting the perfect Colonial color palettes; from choosing wood floor finishes that ground the space in authenticity, to accentuating with antique colonial light fixtures for ambiance.

By article’s end, the alchemy of past and present will no longer be a mystery; it will be an artform realized right within your walls.

Colonial Style Interior Decorating Ideas

Feature Traditional Colonial Spanish Colonial French Colonial Dutch Colonial
Color Palette Muted and earthy tones Warm and rich colors Light and elegant hues Dark wood with bright accents
Furnishings Sturdy wood furniture Rustic, heavy pieces Ornate and detailed Simple lines, minimal ornamentation
Materials Hardwood, brass, iron Terracotta, wrought iron Delicate fabrics, gilded wood Oak, pine, maple woods
Architectural Elements Symmetrical design, wainscoting Exposed wood beams, stucco walls High ceilings, tall windows Gambrel roofs, decorative shutters
Accessories and Decor Chandeliers, pewter candlesticks Pottery, religious icons Tapestries, gilt mirrors Delft tiles, blue and white pottery

Colonial home interior design

Both Early American and 18th-century themes were frequent occurrences found in classical colonial homes.


Americans have long selected their favorite styles from the best of European culture and incorporated them into their own decorative techniques, an example in this respect being the Dutch colonial style. During the latter half of the 19th century, many public buildings were designed with historical European architecture in mind and a strong lean towards the classical homes interior.

During this era, traditional American colonial-style decorating was considered to be dull and old-fashioned, but homeowners were still firmly rooted in the traditional concepts and clung to the colonial and, to their definition of a patriotic, design theme.

The Peak of American Colonial Interior Design


The traditional colonial style of decorating originated in 18th-century America, borrowing heavily from typical European residences of the day. The twist, however, was that the grandeur added to the farmhouses found here, in the New World.

English immigrants into the country brought with them a flavor of their old homes and much of the architectural and interior decorating style of the period was heavily influenced by the practical and simplistic lines of the day. This is how, for instance, the Dutch colonial house style was born.

There are two ways you could convert your home to a colonial style interior design masterpiece with a classical colonial living room. Either a very traditional, rustic feel theme or a more opulent touch that would have been evident in the grand homes of the colonial era. It is easy in the 21st century to create both modern colonial homes on a budget, so the choice is up to you.

The Early American Look


Contrary to the formality of the 18th century, the homes of the Early American era were more rustic and casual. Suited best to summer homes and small residences, the furniture was more comfortable and crafts were significantly outlined.

Ivory and grays were popular colors on painted woodwork and walls and all kinds of handicrafts were represented. During this era that also influenced the 1920s interior design, there was an expectation that women would be spending their spare time creating beautiful accessories for their home and therefore rag rugs, embroidered slipcovers, and the essential home stalwart – the hand-patterned traditional quilt were found in every self-respecting home. You can easily match this interior with fireplace mantels with windows on each side and window seats and doors.

Heavy, farmhouse style furnishings in a small colonial house were common, with traditionally styled blanket chests, ladder back chairs, and trestle tables all the rage. Simple fabrics such as linen, wool, and cotton featured heavily in all kinds of rooms of the Dutch colonial homes, with polished chintz being common informal settings while decorating techniques included the use of stenciling on pine paneled walls.

How To Get The Early American Look In Your Home

Quilting and Handicrafts


If you are gifted in terms of crafts, you could always use one of the many design books available to help you design and create your own quilt that will decorate outstandingly your colonial dining room. On the other hand, you could always purchase one made up according to your specifications, using samples of your favorite materials.

In the Early American style, quilts would be used on beds and walls to liven the space as well as to create warmth. You too, could emulate this style and capitalize on it by adding quilted cushions and pillows.

Other crafts have a place in the Early American inspired home too. If you knit or crochet you could make cushion covers or blankets that will beautify any colonial interior design setting. You can also try hand-making some simple drapes or turn your hand to making a rag rug. Handmade items were a strong feature of Early American style so if you aren’t crafty yourself, look for stores selling authentic items and scatter them liberally in your rooms.

Colors in Colonial decor


This era was represented by natural and somber shades which give a specific color pattern to the colonial house design. During this era, there was no room for anything vibrant or too colorful. Whites, browns, yellow, reds and grays are all perfect for recreating this style, so typical for the Georgian colonial homes.

Floors and walls in colonial home interior


Hardwood flooring is the key to recreating the look of the colonial home interior. Cherry, walnut, and mahogany are all good choices as long as covered with handmade rugs.

Walls may be paneled or whitewashed, preferably with a featured stenciled decoration of fruit or flowers in borders or murals. Crown molding and dado rails were popular in this period and are easy to recreate your colonial style homes interior.

Furnishings in colonial interior design


The rustic styling of the Early American period led to an emphasis on heavy and traditional furniture. Simple pine, birch or maple cabinets together with trestle tables, trunks and ladder back chairs all have an authentic feel, and should preferably be handmade.

Lighting should feature cast iron lamps, with chandeliers and candle holders to complete the period look. Should you have difficulty in locating genuine antiques distributing modern colonial items, there are plenty of excellent reproductions out there that will give the same effect.

Simplicity in classic colonial homes interior


The keyword of the Dutch colonial houses was simplicity. Everything was functional as well as versatile and clutter was a definite no-no. Clean lines were the order of the day and so accessories should be kept to a minimum.

A few pitchers of flowers, an embroidered sampler, a wicker basket or two and perhaps a linen runner will be enough to give a hint of colonial elegance. Make sure, however, that you don’t leave your room in colonial revival style too bare and minimalist – your home should retain a lived-in the warmth that makes it welcoming and inviting.



Pewter was the metal of the day for the modern colonial interior design. This material could be found everywhere in the traditional colonial home, from serving plates to utensils. Featuring some pewter serving pieces prominently displayed in your modern colonial house harks back to this simpler time and you could add to this look with some copper cooking pots or brass accessories.

Converting your home to adopt this colonial style interior decoration will serve to make your home elegant and simple. The style lends itself to creating bright, airy interiors that make a pleasant and attractive living environment.

Pick the details that suit your taste best, and enjoy creating the beautiful 1920s colonial look in your home!

FAQ On Colonial Style Interior Decorating Ideas

What Defines Colonial Style Interior Decorating?

Graceful and symmetrical, Colonial style interior decorating marries functional elegance with a nod to historical origins.

Characteristic features include muted color schemes, paneled wall accents, and furnishings that reflect early American and European influences, underpinned by the timeless appeal of Georgian style accessories and rich wood floor finishes.

How Do I Incorporate Colonial Colors into My Home?

Colonial color palettes are subdued yet rich; think deep blues, sage greens, and warm, earthy tones.

To integrate these hues, layer your space with complementary textiles, paint walls in period-appropriate colors, and highlight with traditional colonial décor elements, creating a historical tapestry that’s both authentic and inviting.

What Furniture Fits a Colonial Decorating Scheme?

Colonial furniture is strong and stately, with a presence that grounds a room. Seek out traditional colonial furniture pieces like Windsor chairs, pedestal tables, and four-poster beds.

Opt for craftsmanship that celebrates the era with hand-carved details and in those classic, sturdy materials that echo the period’s artisanal heritage.

Can Modern and Colonial Styles Blend Together?

Absolutely. Modern conveniences blend with the tradition-steeped flair when approached thoughtfully. Aim for a balance—meld sleek modern lines with the structural heritage of crown molding and wainscoting.

Introduce contemporary art within a framework of antique colonial light fixtures and Federal style motifs for a harmonious juxtaposition.

What Are the Essential Colonial Decorative Elements?

Essential colonial decorative elements capture the essence of the era with handcrafted wooden accents, wrought iron hardware, and handwoven textiles.

Colonial décor brims with the simplicity of Americana art, the formality of Federal style, and punctuates spaces with historical prints and the practical elegance of period lighting solutions.

How Can I Highlight Colonial Architecture in Interior Design?

Celebrate Colonial architecture in interior design by preserving or installing classic features like fireplaces and hearths, paneling, pilasters, and hardwood floors.

Allow the symmetry of the layouts to speak, accentuate high ceilings with chandeliers, and delicately frame windows with elegant colonial window treatments.

What Textiles Suit a Colonial Theme?

Textiles in a Colonial-themed decor reflect reserved opulence. Aim for natural fibers like linen, cotton, or wool. Patterns should be traditional, such as plaids, stripes, or florals, often seen in 18th-century interior design.

Choose curtains, rugs, and upholstery that complement rather than overwhelm, adding to the homely yet historical appeal.

How Do I Light a Colonial Inspired Room?

Enlightening a Colonial-inspired room requires a blend of ambient and task lighting. Antique colonial light fixtures such as lanterns, sconces, and candles in silver or brass finishes are quintessential.

For a touch of modern efficiency, retrofit these styles with LED candles or bulbs to maintain the aesthetic without sacrificing brightness.

What Kind of Artwork Complements Colonial Style?

Artwork in a Colonial setting should reflect the period’s sensibilities—think classic portraits, landscapes, and botanical prints.

Position pieces like these amidst Americana art and craft, serving as cultural vignettes that homage to the past. Frame artwork in traditional wood or gilt frames to enhance their period-correct vibe.

How Do I Balance Functionality with Colonial Aesthetics?

Balancing functionality with Colonial aesthetics revolves around choosing pieces that are both beautiful and practical. Colonial interiors aren’t museum pieces—they’re lived-in spaces.

Opt for durable materials, ready-to-use hearths, and comfortable seating that align with the traditional, yet accessible, nature of Colonial design philosophy.


As we draw the curtains on this expedition through Colonial style interior decorating ideas, it’s evident that the allure of this time-honored style is its remarkable ability to fuse history with the heartbeat of modern living.

  • The strategic placement of antique colonial light fixtures,
  • the thoughtful selection of plantation style interiors, and
  • the incorporation of handcrafted wooden accents

These are not mere design choices; they’re connections to a legacy that continues to resonate within our homes.

Navigating the past with a compass pointed towards present-day practicality ensures that spaces are not just showcases, but sanctuaries. This is the secret to capturing the essence of Colonial style—honoring tradition while crafting an environment conducive to contemporary life.

May the rooms you inhabit tell a story, rich with the chapters of history yet penned by your hand, creating a home that is both timeless and unequivocally yours.

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