Now as we’re getting to the fun part of the renovation of this guest bedroom, I want to take a moment to step back and review the steps before I discuss how to decorate with Prairie Cottage Charm.
First of all I decided upon a theme, Prairie Cottage. There was an ‘aha’ moment for me when I was planning on changing the room color. Some of the decor items already in the room reminded me of what I’ve come to learn embody Romantic Prairie Style.
The first was the Chamber Pot filled with Dried Flowers.
It sounds kind of funny to state that a chamber pot inspired a decor design, but the beauty, neutral color of this pot combined with the dried flowers spoke of a time gone by, of a time when things weren’t too fancy, but there was some care in how even the most utilitarian item appeared. Next to the chamber pot was an old suitcase – quite worn, showing signs of time and travel. Atop this suitcase an old hat – actually one of my girl’s hats from when they were young. But this combination added to a sense of time and of place...someplace in time.
Rustic Decor – Boots
When I was a teenager we moved from California to South Carolina. On the way there we stopped at a shop in Arizona and my parents bought this pair of boots for me. They’ve been sitting atop this built-in for years…but now, they speak of the wide open spaces, of prairie grasses and of country living…
A Vintage Portrait
A few years back I attended a local Estate sale. There I found several items from a lady who lived to be well over 100 years…I saw this portrait of a young girl in this vintage frame. The portraid also showed some wear from age, but to me that only added to it’s charm. The young lady with her lovely hair I could imagine strolling through wildflower fields…
An Oil Lamp
Another vintage find from an Estate sale was this old oil lamp. I love the clean, simple lines. I could just envision some young lady bent over a writing desk reading a book or penning a letter to a dear friend…
The Cast Iron Bed
I’ve long loved the exquisite lines and beauty of this vintage bed. When accessories may have been scarce in a bedroom, the bed could easily be the main focus of a Prairie Cottage room. This one was also found at a local Estate sale. We happened to love for it on the first day but didn’t pick it up and were able to get it at half price on the final day of the sale!
Adding to the Prairie Cottage Inspirations
With the chamber pot filled with dried flowers, the vintage suitcase, the boots, the oil lamp and the cast iron bed, I wanted to add more detail – accessories to round out the vintage, romantic Prairie Cottage feel to this bedroom’s decor.
Texture and Color
I decided natural items with texture would enhance the beauty of the room and warm it up with the white walls. Baskets were the answer and the bamboo shades. I found two half hanging baskets that I gave a quick white wash too that were perfect. Especially after I added a couple bunches of dried Lavender.
Crocheted Items. My sister crocheted this lovely collar and placed it on this small wooden hanger. This and the crocheted drawstring bag add soft, textured charm to the room’s decor as if they were treasured items belonging to the young lady in the portrait.
Color – I selected items that hearkened of a different time and these were blue and white items – Transferware. In the built-in bookcases I also have baskets and decor items that are stored out of season. I arranged these items as best I could to appeal to the eye through the glass doors.
The Prairie Cottage Style
In the forward to Fifi O’Neill’s book, Romantic Prairie Style, Christina Strutt of Cabbages and Roses wrote, ‘Romantic Prairie Style is the most charming record of houses and farmsteads dotted through the American homelands, reminding us of the history and endearing way of life, the traditions and spirit, barely changed since the houses were built. She describes the style of the homes depicted in the book as ‘wholesome creative charm’.
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” William Morris
The Different Prairie Styles shared in Fifi O’Neill’s book:
- Traditional – a Pioneer Spirit: farmhouses, with wooden beams, soft creamy walls, rustic open shelving, with vintage pottery and crockery
- Elegant – Vintage mirrors, ceramics, small cupboards, flowers, cloches, copper pots, a sense of romantic French countryside, ‘livable yet lovely’.
- Prairie Savvy – ‘poor man’s Victorian‘ no frills, no gingerbread, just simple basic farmhouse, a collected decor of things loved – objects that tell a story
- Refined Prairie – those romantic country farmhouse features that do include gingerbread details, porches, slip-covered furnishings, linens, soft, serene palette, with a selection of family and collected antiques with touches of glamour.
- Perfect Prairie – an old house, land and a barn…understated, tranquil, warm and cozy; a pleasing balance of new and true antiques
- Romantic Prairie – soft, fragile palette, furniture with tender rugged style, casual, beautiful, functional, furniture overstated and overstuffed,
- Nostalgic Prairie – true heartland farmhouse, baskets, silver, old wooden boxes, dinnerware, spools of twine, aged furniture with imperfections enhanced, nostalgic, self-sufficient,
- Prairie Pretty – pieces of furniture passed generationally, soft palette, character, architecture salvage, a sense of family and history, well used and much loved
- Prairie Chic – tin roof, open rafters, raw wood walls, love and respect for tradition, tranquil, simplicity, rustic, refined – understated chic, soft colors, romantic accents, soft, subdued colors,
- Urban Prairie – nostalgic pieces, flea market finds, time-worn, earth-tone palette, bead board and glass, texture, homespun fabrics,
- Prairie Sweet – pretty, comfortable, relaxed, quiet, calming, fresh palette, colors, textures and forms, fuss-free pretty fabrics, sturdy furniture,
- Inspired Prairie – inspired by the rolling landscape, rugged furnishing, delicate fabrics, warm pastels, a blending of green and blue palette, handmade antiques, unpretentious, simple and comfortable furnishing
- Rustic Prairie – rustic cabin, recycled, reinvented, reused, natural wood, worn surfaces, simple lines, cozy fabrics,
Fifi O’Neill’s book is full of inspiration sure to touch the heart of one seeking a Prairie styled home. From home to home shared it becomes clear that to accomplish a Prairie style one must simply begin from the heart to achieve a sense of the heartland. What appeals to you; the combination of time tested and time worn pieces all that tell a story of not only of the style, but of the one who gathered and put that style together.
This is the next to the final week for the One Room Challenge. Next week will be the whole room reveal!
You can review the progress of this room:
Week 1: Inspired by Prairie Style
Week 2: Is there a Perfect Shade of White Paint
Week 3: What Curtains Should do for a Room’s Decor
Week 4: What Every Guest Bedroom Should Have
Week 5: How to Make a DIY Sign for Your Decor
visit the other One Room Participants here.