Prairie Style Decorating
| UPDATED: May 10, 2020
Prairie style decorating originated with Frank Lloyd Wright and his minimalist architecture. The prairie style emphasized built-in shelving, cupboards, and closets housed in single-story buildings that followed the long, low horizon of the prairie. Such homes usually focused around a central area that had a fireplace, then branched off into wings that housed bedrooms or utility rooms.
A Pinterest blogger described it as not frilly, not austere, but just right. The settlers of the westward movement could only bring with them such goods as could be packed on the back of a mule or be loaded into a Conestoga wagon. The real prairie homes were often built from sod or even from baled straw, or with wood that was hauled from nearby states that were more blessed with trees. The result was a spare architecture.
Interior decorating often centered around one or two treasured pieces that were brought “from back East,” and such furnishings as the occupants could devise from local materials. Wright’s architecture cashed in on this sparse furnishing that centered around a good piece or two. Consequently, prairie style is somewhat eclectic.
You might find a Grecian urn molded out of concrete placed on a handmade table featuring a distressed paint job – a look that is sometimes carried over into shabby chic. Prairie style, however, is less cluttered. It encourages using a special piece or two as a focal point without getting too fussy about how it looks. The original homes were more concerned with the work that needed to be done, or perhaps even with preserving the heirloom pieces that made it all the way to their new world.
Prairie Style Decorating, therefore, is going to take function into consideration. But functional does not preclude beautiful. Even such ordinary wood as pine or fir can be made beautiful with staining, artful distressing, or even the layered paint look so much loved in shabby chic decorating. The decorative items are arranged to enhance the clean lines of the low, horizon-hugging buildings. You could almost say that any sort of décor is part of prairie style – but perhaps not quite. It has a more open, gracious feel than shabby chic, not so fussy as Victorian, or as truly classical as Grecian. It has an open, inviting feel. The furnishings are not too different from country or cottage and can sometimes take on a Southwestern aspect. The key factor to have a few good pieces that are well presented.
Lovely distressed pinewood is used to create the South Shore Prairie Armoire. It has two dresser drawers and a hanging wardrobe area. The wardrobe area can easily be converted to an entertainment center if not needed for closet space. The Armoire is one of a set of five mix and match pieces that can add grace notes to your country style home.
Colorful Chair Cushion
Comfort has never been more beautiful than this colorful prairie style chair cushion. Reminiscent of the days when “ladies” improved their resting hours with embroidery or other fancy work, these hand-hooked, round cushions add color as well as comfort to any room. Hand worked items could be used to enhance the appearance of homemade chairs or benches.
Understated Cream and Ivory Area Rug
Charlton Home brings to you the Horst Ivory and Cream area rug. Suitable for any room in the house, it is especially elegant in a living room or sitting room where it can be used to draw disparate pieces of furniture together through the use of its color theme.
Carved Pine Panel Headboard
Part of the South Shore Prairie bedroom collection this distressed pine carved panel headboard add a note of home-grown elegance to your country or cottage style bedroom. Suitable also for shabby chic decorating, it speaks of understated good taste and quiet grace, a characteristic of prairie style.
Hand Woven Black Area Rug
Brought to you from Calvin Klein this 100% cowhide rug is made from alternating strips of black cowhide. The color is called Stallion Black. It is the perfect foil for brightly colored hand hooked cushions or even for modernistic bean bags or more traditional floor cushions. It is backed with wool felt. Professional dry clean only.
Concrete Urn Sculpture
This bit of prairie sculpture from Cyan Design might lead you to wonder how a Grecian styled urn filled with fruits and flowers can be a prairie sculpture. But if you think of it in terms of people longing for a bit of civilization in a land they saw as savage, or a sculpture by someone who lives on a prairie, then it makes perfect sense.
Distressed Fir Console Table
A simple design decorated with geometric cutouts makes this distressed fir Maylis prairie console table from One Allium Way quite the statement for your entryway. It is easy to imagine a treasured table crossing the wide plains in a Conestoga wagon and become a featured item in a ranch house.
Snowy White Duvet Cover
Imagine a prairie girl unpacking this from her hope chest as she and her husband set up housekeeping on the plains. This snowy white prairie duvet cover from Taylor Linens features pin tucks, crocheted lace and frothy ruffles – just the thing to dress up a more prosaic quilt. Matching dust ruffle and pillow shams are available.
Semi-Flush Ceiling Mounted Light
This beautiful prairie ceiling lamp intended for dry areas comes from Aroyyo Craftsman. Dedicated to focusing on an older way of life where slow, careful craftsmanship was more important than turning out masses of product, the warm yellow glass shade is intended to shield four incandescent bulbs.