artSparx.com - Americana Style. Interior design knowledge for the creative lifestyle.

The house itself, built in 1783, testifies to 200 years of American ideals: simple, forthright lines, welcoming but plain spoken color, only the barest ornament in the form of a weathervane or whitewashed trim. Inside, though, a wealth of treasured Americana provides a touching testimony to a love of home -- and homeland.

The basic furnishings of an Americana house are unpretentious, even homespun. Wide planked oak or pine floors and historic color tones such as muted greens, slate blues and red or coral tones provide a rich historical backdrop. But it is in the details that the space is truly defined.


Decorative arts both naive and accomplished display patriotic colors and themes. Stars and stripes abound, in classic as well as quirky forms. In formal spaces, prized folk art like a beautifully crafted flag quilt can add historical heft to the decor. In less-traveled areas of the house, Old Glory can be put to more quotidian uses.

A flag bedspread and pillows perk up a simple white bedroom set. A comfortable upholstered sofa is adorned with stars-and-stripes throw pillows, making for equal parts Betsy Ross and Edith Bunker.


The Americana home must be neither a museum exhibit nor a kitsch palace. A combination of antique utilitarian artifacts with patriotic crafts can make for an intriguing blend of national history and postmodern junk shop wit.

In one inspired corner, pictured above, austere early American paintings hang beneath a ceiling exuberantly decorated with red and white stripes.


Inside and outside the house, loosely painted commonplace objects in red, white and blue -- like a flag-themed section of picket fence -- add a funky, down-home tone. And for decorators unafraid of the junkyard aesthetic, even old farm machinery, tools, and auto parts can take on a patriotic air.

The most treasured finds of all for the Americana enthusiast may be the commonplace objects -- toys, whatnots, household wares -- of the past, particularly if they have a patriotic theme.


An Abe Lincoln dancing wooden doll reminds us that patriots past also had a sense of fun. When coupled with more substantial pieces of Americana like an antique pie chest or simple country furniture in Shaker or Pennsylvania Dutch style, these whimsical items can take on a touching reverence.


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In the English countryside, pretty villages dot rolling hills and cobblestones line narrow medieval streets. Come in through the garden gate, and you'll find a steep thatched roof overhanging ancient leaded glass windows. Old garden roses creep around the carved oak door. The grounds, whether a picturesque cottage garden or the rolling parkland of the local manor house, are lovingly cared for. Everything is fresh, tidy, and welcoming.

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stenciling paint effect

Stenciling Effect

The Decorative effect Stenciling traces its roots as far back as Egyptian times, and has surged in popularity during various periods of history. In the Victorian period we find stenciled patterns on a variety of surfaces. Folk artists enlisted stencil techniques in a multitude of applications, both on furniture and walls. As tastes changed over time, artists have transformed stenciling from a simple pattern repeat process, to a sophisticated and colorful design tool, rich with story lines and decorative symbolism.

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Stencil Brush 432

Stencil Brushes

Stencil Brush Stencil brushes are special brushes with short firm bristles. When used properly they distribute a thin and even layer of paint. This reduces the chance of getting paint under the edge of the stencil. Made in Germany

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