Prairie Home Decor Style Guide

Tara Dickinson
5 minute read

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The Prairie style home is a child of the Craftsman movement, which started in Britain and moved to America, both counter responses to the Industrial Revolution’s mass manufactured overly ornate Victorian style. Popular in the Midwest, but spreading to both coasts, this minimalist architecture was based on the pure beauty of natural materials and forms, as well as the skill of actual craftsmen and not machines. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpieces made the Prairie and Mid-Century Modern styles famous. These low-lying, single-story Prairie style homes and interior design highlight:

  • The beauty of simplicity and modesty in architecture and decor.
  • Built-in shelving, closets, and cupboards.
  • A central area focused around a fireplace.

The Prairie home decor style guide will be as relevant today as ever since this style of home is still one of the most popular in the country. This perfect balance of gracious, no-nonsense warmth and clean-lined modern practicality.

Color Palette

The Prairie style home was built on a foundation of nature and natural materials, especially wood. The interior colors follow suit and bring those warm wood and earth shades inside as well. Visualize all the shades of sunkissed wheat fields, and sunrise colors of the layers of strata found in the Midwest mountains. It’s the essence of America’s heartland; incorporate those shades of nature into the Prairie style home’s color themes.

  • Beige
  • Brown
  • Cream
  • Ivory
  • Pale yellow
  • Taupe
  • Terra cotta

Furniture

Many of the earliest Prairie style homes contained incorporated furnishings, such as built-in benches, cabinets, closets, and shelving. This too was in opposite response to the clutter and ornate decor of the Victorian era. Look for pieces of furniture for a Prairie style home that are made with high-quality natural materials and minimal in design.

  • Function is paramount.
  • Geometric-inspired forms are popular.
  • Horizontal lines.
  • Long benches.
  • Chaise lounges.
  • Coffee tables in longer rectangular shapes.
  • Tufted armchairs.
  • Wood dining tables.
  • Stone fireplaces.

The same furnishings can be seen in country cottage, farmhouse, and Southwest themed home decor as well. The goal is to present a select few perfect pieces. More modern updates can include Mid-Century Modern and Contemporary designs.

Materials

High-quality natural materials are the heart of Prairie home furniture. Through the richness of nature, an innate luxurious feel is found in a more organic way.

  • Glass
  • Slate
  • Stones
  • Upholstery in solid-colored, rich natural fabrics.
  • Wood: oak, pine, fir

Prairie Furniture Style

The beauty of these simple furniture pieces comes from the creative methods of dressing them up.

  • Intentionally distressed.
  • Layered paint.
  • Variety of wood stains.

It’s through these methods that you see Prairie style evolve into Shabby Chic. Prairie is more open and flowing, a little cleaner finished, less cluttered than Shabby Chic. Another furniture theme that was seen in this style was a chosen motif repeated in each room of the home. For example, a leaf, square, hexagon, or another geometrical shape was repeated in a variety of ways to continue the pattern throughout the house.

This pine wood bedroom set is a good example of gently carved functional and graceful prairie style furniture.

 

Prairie Home Decor Accessories

In the Prairie home, life was slower paced, one where homemade and handcrafted were appreciated. This is of course seen in the home’s decor accents. Keeping the walls, counter spaces, and shelves mostly bare is key. The prairie aesthetic calls for more space, less clutter. Accents are minimal and well chosen.

  • Heirloom pieces handed down through generations had special placement.
  • Focal points- a special item or two are highlighted.
  • Handmade pieces such as quilts, knitted tapestries, and personal artwork are especially relevant.
  • A carved stone pot on a weather worn looking handmade table is an example.
  • Japanese inspired accents are not uncommon in a prairie home due to Mr. Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence. He was inspired by that culture’s geometric simplicity and sparseness of design. A tatami mat or futon would be appropriate.
  • Vintage and antique accents.
  • Glass windows, doors, and lighting fixtures.
  • Prairie-inspired tile accents that feature geometric designs or plant motifs.
  • Folk art and textiles that focus on nature themes, especially those with a Southwest theme.
  • Terra-cotta sculptures or friezes.

Prairie Style Indoor/Outdoor

  • A Prairie style home is built on the concept of organic architecture. This fundamental concept is carried throughout the entire property, from building to furnishings, interior decor, and the exterior living, dining, entertaining, and gardening areas.
  • The landscaping will want to showcase a continuous flow between the indoors and the out.
  • Outdoor water features are another common element found in Prairie home outdoor areas, as it’s another natural component that adds to the whole organic concept.
  • Create paths, walls, or edging with layers of rock.
  • Garden beds of native wildflowers fit perfectly in your outdoor Prairie setting. Try to arrange your layout of flower beds and paths following the contours of the land.

Summary

The Prairie style home decor guide is easy to follow with some basic components. Natural elements first and foremost: brick, wood, stone, and an earth toned color palette that follows suit. Keep the floor plan open, and flowing; allow light to make a statement. Accents are kept to a minimum. American antiques, folk art, vintage lanterns, homemade textiles or crafts, and locally inspired pieces are the accessories of choice. Modern Prairie home decor is similar in all the same aspects, clean lines, high-quality natural materials, and functionality but with a contemporary update in style.

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