Design Hints

Marvelous Motifs

Read up on the best ways to adorn your home with fabrics, furniture and other accents featuring delightful primitive designs.

Greenbrier, Tennessee, homeowner Bridgett Swindle, whose custom-built house is featured in our July 2010 issue, is a pro when it comes to outfitting her rooms with primitive graphics. "When you have lots of wooden antiques and wood floors, you need lots of fabrics and rugs to soften things up," she says. Here, she shares pointers for placing patterns to perfect effect.

Keep It Country: Choose fabrics, coverlets and quilts that suit your preferred palette and time period, and distribute them throughout your home to fashion easy-on-the-eye flow. Opt for a mix of fabric patterns; geometrics such as plaids, checks and ticking stripes balance more ornate motifs.

Don't Forget Floors: Throw down vibrant Oriental-style, braided and rag rugs to brighten and break up sweeps of dark flooring. Use large rugs to define seating and eating areas; place smaller accent rugs beneath naturally finished coffee tables to create a colorful transition between furniture and floor.

Suspend Interest:
Showcase some attention-grabbing fabric remnants or other textiles on peg racks, or drape quilts and coverlets over cupboard doors and corner-set ladders. Bridgett does this to great effect in her living room, where a wood hutch's two doors provide front-and-center display space for blue-and-white coverlets.

Stack for Impact:
Perk up cabinet shelves, tabletops and hutches with patterned pantry boxes featuring designs that complement your primitive decor. Or, energize a dark or unused corner with a tower of custom-painted round containers.

Stitch Your Own: Sew pillows and window treatments from fabric or coverlet remnants that coordinate with your color scheme and decorating theme. If sewing isn't your forte, wrap strips of homespun material around candlesticks or pitchers, or around curtains as makeshift tiebacks.

View some of Bridgett's beautiful stitcheries on her blog, Bridgett's Threads of the Past: 

Written by Ann Wilson
Photographed and Styled by Franklin & Esther Schmidt