17 Colonial Interior Design Ideas (with Pictures) | House Grail (2022)

Colonial design is having a massive comeback in 2022, and many people are looking for colonial-style homes that will reflect the colonial trend indoors and outdoors. People love this style due to its adaptability and the various options that can make your home look stylish and timeless.

Because of the versatility of the colonial style, some people are unsure how to combine all the details to reach their desired look. As this style is unique, your home interior could quickly become tacky, or over the top, so you should pick out all the decorations carefully.

This listicle will provide you with 17 colonial interior design ideas that should help you figure out your home’s new aesthetics.

What is colonial interior design?

Colonial interior design dates back to the colonial period in the US and stems from the style of homes back then. The style has many variations, and the most famous colonial design types are:

  • American colonial
  • British colonial
  • Dutch colonial
  • Spanish colonial
  • French colonial
  • Georgian colonial

Nowadays, there’s even a mixture of colonial styles with modern details that represent the modern colonial style. All variations have unique features that make the style stand out, and because of that, the whole colonial style is pretty versatile as you can combine different types to achieve your desired look.

17 Colonial Interior Design Ideas (with Pictures) | House Grail (1)

The 17 Colonial Interior Design Ideas (with Pictures)

1. Use natural materials

Colonial style is about natural materials such as brick, stone, wood, copper, and clay. Try to incorporate them into your interior by leaving exposed bricks, making wood beams, and other accents that will highlight all the organic materials in your home.

The natural materials will look elegant and timeless while increasing the sustainability of your home. Also, they will help you connect with nature and create a perfect balance of indoor and outdoor spaces combined together.

2. Paint the interior in typical colonial colors

During colonial times, people went for simple, natural colors to enhance the area and the rest of the decor. Typical colonial colors nowadays include:

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  • Pale green tones
  • Pale peachy tones
  • Pastel yellow tones
  • Soft pink tones
  • Different variations of brown tones
  • Light blue tones
  • Taupe tones

All of these colors will make your home seem pleasant and inviting, which is what the colonial style was all about. They will help you make an airy, light atmosphere while reflecting light and making the space seem larger.

3. Install a fireplace in the living room

Throughout the colonial era, people spent most of their time in the living room, so it was important for that area to be inviting and comfortable. Your soon-to-be colonial living room should be simple and warm, and there’s no better way to add warmth to a room than installing a fireplace.

Most colonial homes had fireplaces as the centerpiece of the living room, as fireplaces make the space appear more charming and cozier. As people in that period loved to use bricks and wood, you can make a fireplace out of those natural elements.

4. Install hardwood floors

Hardwood floors are considered a luxury, and people praise them for their appearance and durability. Most colonial homes had hardwood floors, so if you’d like for your home to look and feel colonial, hardwood floors are a must.

Due to their warm colors, your home will look elegant and warm, while they will make it beautiful for years to come. Hardwood is timeless, and if you ever decide to change styles in your interior design, they would still look good with any other aesthetic.

5. Use craftsman furniture

Rustic, craftsman furniture is a great way to add a colonial feel to your home. Go for furniture pieces made of full wood, and choose wood varieties such as maple, cherry, walnut, birch, or pine. The most common options of craftsman furniture are:

  • Farmhouse tables
  • Coffee tables
  • Cabinets
  • Stools
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You can check out local thrift stores that usually have a lot of pieces that reminiscence the colonial style and spirit. Remember to promote simplicity and elegance, so choose pieces carefully as the home can quickly become overdecorated.

6. Choose fabrics that are light and eclectic

People traveled a lot during the colonial era, and they would bring back interesting textiles from all over the world. Every colonial home had influences from other cultures and details from countries such as Africa, Asia, and even India.

To add that spirit to your home, choose light and eclectic fabrics to make your home look and feel spectacular. Use attractive curtains, pillows, rugs, and linens to add fun to the whole atmosphere and make the home more aesthetically appealing.

7. Use natural textures

When it comes to decor that reflects the colonial era, you should choose natural textures as they were pretty popular back then too. People in colonial times had limitations in finding decorative items, so they frequently went with what they could get. The most popular materials that will showcase the colonial style in your home are:

  • Rattan
  • Reed
  • Sisal
  • Wicker
  • Wool
  • Jute

Typically, furniture in colonial homes tends to be of darker shades, so these materials make a perfect contrast and add balance to the environment. You can incorporate these materials in small decorative items such as blankets, rugs, baskets, etc. As colonial style is so diverse, there are many different options you can try out.

8. Invest in tropical furniture

The Victorian era influenced the colonial style, although it had adaptations to the whole look. People started to accommodate the Victorian/colonial style and give it a more tropical feeling. Investing in tropical furniture is an excellent way to make your colonial home exciting and inviting.

Choose solid wood pieces with tropical details and patterns or look for materials such as rattan and leather. You can add a couple of darker furniture pieces with tropical charm to add contrast to the light colors colonial homes typically have.

9. Install shutters

Almost every colonial home had traditional shutters that helped control the airflow in the home while making it more aesthetically pleasing and contributing to its overall look. You can play with the design and choose different types of wood for your shutters, and you can decide if you want to paint them or leave their natural color.

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An excellent thing about window shutters is that they’re typically inexpensive to install, but they will enhance your home and make it even more beautiful.

10. Consider ceiling fans

Ceiling fans were necessary for colonial homes as there weren’t technological advances such as AC that people have today. The ceiling fans were a great way to keep your home cool and allow the air to circulate in the area, while they also had a decorative purpose. That’s why a ceiling fan would be a great way to add a touch of colonial style to your home.

You can put up a ceiling fan in your bedroom or living room, and you’ll have the freedom to play with the shape and size of the fan, although it’s best to choose something of natural tones and materials. As this is one of the room’s centerpieces, you can go for a unique, eclectic ceiling fan that will stand out and be a showstopper when someone walks into the space.

11. Use diverse accessories

Brittan, France, Spain, Netherlands, and other countries had a significant impact on the whole colonial design, and they brought various accessories to the table for the new colonial-style generations to follow. To add that spirit to your colonial interior design, use different accessories and details to make the home stand out.

Put up a shelf with a bunch of books, and add candles, handmade carvings, globes, boxes, maps, masks, mirrors, telescopes, and anything you have in mind that reminiscences those years. That way, your home will look like a storybook filled with experiences and trips from all around the globe.

12. Don’t forget about plants

British people had a fascination for all new plant species they found on American grounds, and many of them loved to showcase various plants in their colonial homes. That trend stands until this day, so if you want to make your interior design more colonial, invest in different plants such as ferns, palms, and other exotic potted plants.

They will bring diversity and a tropical feel into your home, making it more elegant and sophisticated. Before choosing plants for your home, research more about them to find plants that fit into your lifestyle. Once you select your preferred varieties, don’t be afraid to show them off in all areas of your property.

Adding greenery will make your home more beautiful while pleasing the eye of everyone entering the room.

13. Use bold colors and patterns in bathrooms and bedrooms

Although the authentic colonial style was on the simpler side, modern colonial allows you to think out of the box, so bold colors and patterns in bathrooms and bedrooms are a great way to add a touch of modern colonial to your spaces. Go for different shades of blue, green, and yellow, and don’t be afraid to use patterns wherever possible.

The key is maintaining a perfect balance between simple and edgy, so choose certain details that will represent the focal point while making the rest of the decor modest.

14. Think about wallpaper or painted wood moldings

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An excellent way to create a timeless interior design inspired by the colonial style is to add wallpaper or painted wood moldings to your walls. If you prefer wallpaper, choose motifs with trees, flowers, cottages, and animals as they are connected with the colonial theme. If your home already has a lot of details, you can do an accent wall so that the wallpaper won’t be too overpowering.

You can also consider painted wood moldings or paneling that will enhance your walls. Try to keep the colors simple, but ensure they match the paint on your walls. Typically, off-white colors and darker tones are the best options for wood moldings and paneling.

15. Make your staircase stand out

Most colonial homes have a grand staircase that’s the focal point of the entryway. It’s an important part of the home as that’s where you’ll greet guests and welcome them into the space. Making your staircase lavish and luxurious is a great way to add personality and your personal touch to the area while keeping it in signature colonial colors and patterns.

You can place a nice carpet over the stairs or mix pale colonial colors with hardwood or other natural elements to enhance the appearance of the staircase. Another excellent detail would be to add photographs on the staircase wall to make it stand out.

16. Put chandeliers over the kitchen table

The colonial style was supposed to show wealth and social position, so many people in the 1600s used bold details to make their homes stand out. Almost every colonial home had a chandelier placed above the kitchen table to make the area feel majestic and spectacular.

That’s why placing a chandelier over your kitchen table is a great way to add the colonial spirit to your kitchen. Nowadays, there are various chandelier options on the market, all with unique designs and in multiple sizes, so you’ll definitely find something to match the rest of the space.

Another suggestion is to purchase a large kitchen table that can accommodate many people, which was very popular during the colonial era.

17. Add antiques to the decor

Most colonial homes had accessories such as soft furnishings and trunks that people collected during their trips and journeys. You can visit antique shops to find furnishings and accessories from that era, which will enhance the colonial style even more.

If you don’t have access or funds to purchase actual antiques, you can use your imagination and basic DIY skills to recreate an antique-style chest, clock, or other decorative items. Overall, an excellent thing about colonial style is its versatility, so you can be flexible as long as you make the decor practical and simple.

17 Colonial Interior Design Ideas (with Pictures) | House Grail (2)

Conclusion

When it comes to colonial decor and interior design, there are so many options and variations of decor and furniture that you can use. Try to keep things simple but add exquisite details that will have a story of their own and bring your home to life. Don’t forget to add your stamp to enhance the look even more!

Featured Image Credit: Timothy Eberly, Unsplash

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Contents

  • 1 What is colonial interior design?
  • 2 The 17 Colonial Interior Design Ideas (with Pictures)
    • 2.1 1. Use natural materials
    • 2.2 2. Paint the interior in typical colonial colors
    • 2.3 3. Install a fireplace in the living room
    • 2.4 4. Install hardwood floors
    • 2.5 5. Use craftsman furniture
    • 2.6 6. Choose fabrics that are light and eclectic
    • 2.7 7. Use natural textures
    • 2.8 8. Invest in tropical furniture
    • 2.9 9. Install shutters
    • 2.10 10. Consider ceiling fans
    • 2.11 11. Use diverse accessories
    • 2.12 12. Don’t forget about plants
    • 2.13 13. Use bold colors and patterns in bathrooms and bedrooms
    • 2.14 14. Think about wallpaper or painted wood moldings
    • 2.15 15. Make your staircase stand out
    • 2.16 16. Put chandeliers over the kitchen table
    • 2.17 17. Add antiques to the decor
  • 3 Conclusion

FAQs

What is Colonial interior design? ›

Colonial interiors are characterized by grand entrance halls, polished wood floors, simplified paint and wallpaper palettes, and light approach to millwork and wainscoting.

What is British colonial style? ›

British Colonial style is relaxed, genteel and travelled. It pairs dark-stained rattan, timber and bamboo furniture with pure white linens and an abundance of indoor greenery to cool and refresh the space.

How do you achieve British colonial style? ›

The core element of British colonial decor is the contrast of light and dark tones. Consider using a soft white paint for walls and outfitting windows with light, sheer fabrics for that feeling of a cool oasis in a tropical setting.

What is the most popular interior design style? ›

From our research, we found that the most popular interior design style is Industrial. Out of the 50 states, 12 states had Industrial as their most-searched for interior design style on Google. Additionally, states that preferred the Industrial style weren't just located in similar regions -- they come from all over.

What is the most common colonial-style house? ›

1. British Colonial Styles. The most common type of colonial architecture in the USA is British colonial architecture which makes since given the US was a British Colony for approximately 200 years.

What makes a house a colonial-style? ›

Colonial houses are built in a traditional style of architecture that dates back to the U.S. Colonial era. They are designed to comfortably serve as a family home, and typically feature a rectangular shape with gabled roofs, symmetrical windows, neutral color schemes, and flat exterior walls.

How do I get a colonial look? ›

Here are nine ways to add a little bit of British Colonial style to your home.
...
  1. Campaign furniture. ...
  2. Lightweight and eclectic fabrics. ...
  3. Tropical inspired furnishings. ...
  4. Natural texture. ...
  5. Light and airy colors. ...
  6. Traditional shutters. ...
  7. Ceiling fans. ...
  8. Eclectic accessories.
Jul 27, 2013

What is Colonial furniture style? ›

Definition of colonial furniture

: furniture made in the American colonies before the end of the Revolution and largely influenced by contemporary European styles (as the Queen Anne and Georgian) but having some indigenous features (as greater variety in woods and more extensive use of turnings)

How do you decorate a small colonial home? ›

The Ultimate Guide To Colonial Decor
  1. Choose soft and muted colors. ...
  2. Add craftsman traditional furniture. ...
  3. Decorate with elements of natural texture. ...
  4. Ceiling fans are for more than a cool room. ...
  5. Layer in quilts and blankets for a soft touch. ...
  6. Update the space with toile wallpaper. ...
  7. Combine wood floors and area rugs.
Apr 7, 2022

What is modern colonial style? ›

This style has an asymmetrical façade, small windows, and rectangular shutters and is built on one floor of wood. source: homelight.com. Colonial-style houses are famous for their classic architecture where we can find some common features such as it has brick or wood facades, a fireplace and has two to three stories.

What is plantation style decorating? ›

Plantation style combines rich, dark-stained woods, such as mahogany and teak, with white or pale, cool-colored walls. Upholstery tends to be overstuffed and cozy. Natural fibers on walls, floors and window treatments add texture and interest. Modern plantation style is clean and uncluttered.

What is contemporary interior design? ›

Contemporary design refers to the current and popular designs of the moment. Hallmarks of this design style include clean, curved lines, natural materials, stark contrasts, cool tones, and attention to quality. An ethos of intentionality is the focus of this aesthetic point of view.

How do I choose a theme for my house? ›

Choosing Your Theme
  1. Create a list of your favorite interests, and list them by rank.
  2. Look at themed rooms on Houzz.com and list out some of the themes you see that appeal to you.
  3. Peruse décor items and make a list of which jump out at you.
  4. List what places you like to visit most, or want to visit.
Jan 17, 2016

How do you know your decorating style? ›

How to Find Your Decorating Style | 3 Steps & 8 Common Styles! - YouTube

What is colonial decorating style? ›

Colonial-style homes are typically symmetrical in their exterior designs. These types of dwellings often have square or rectangular windows, low ceilings, and a simple layout. Separate rooms are common in the interior as opposed to the open layouts we see in modern houses.

What are the interior elements of colonial architecture? ›

Colonial Architectural Arches and Trims:

Orante dado rails, panelling, picture rails, cornices, and crown molding were all common wall interior design elements. Elaborate door archways, were also a common feature – possibly a nod to a Greek interior design elements.

What is modern colonial style? ›

This style has an asymmetrical façade, small windows, and rectangular shutters and is built on one floor of wood. source: homelight.com. Colonial-style houses are famous for their classic architecture where we can find some common features such as it has brick or wood facades, a fireplace and has two to three stories.

What is colonial style furniture? ›

Definition of colonial furniture

: furniture made in the American colonies before the end of the Revolution and largely influenced by contemporary European styles (as the Queen Anne and Georgian) but having some indigenous features (as greater variety in woods and more extensive use of turnings)

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