The History of Country Furniture

Country furniture has a rich history and reflects a simple, relaxed style of decorating with warm woods and simple lines prevalent during the 17th and 18th century in America.

Definition

Country furniture and country design styles are still popular today. You can find a wide variety of retailers, both online and off, who sell furniture made to complement a country style home décor.

As a design style, country furniture has been a popular choice for homeowners since the mid 1980's, but the history of this furniture style dates back to the 1800s and American farmers and pioneers. Today's country furniture may be reproductions or versions of primitive, country or French country pieces that evolved during the 17th and 18th centuries.

History

The history of country furniture includes rough sewn logs strapped together to form tables, beds and seating. Primitive country furniture blends into Americana during the time when pioneers were exploring and settling the American west. The European influence for polished furniture impacted the evolution of country furniture pieces as craftsmen and designers from Germany, France and England settled into homes throughout the west.

Types

The type of furniture depicting the country decorating style has a long history of wear and tear spanning centuries and continents. Farmhouse tables and chairs have simple, clean lines and are typically made from pine or oak. Pie cabinets and cupboards with punched tin doors reflect a primitive country style, while Americana country furniture alters these same pieces to reflect patriotism with color and design. Country furniture design is based on necessity and created for function first, then style.

Styles

Country, French country and primitive country are all styles of country furniture, each with specific elements that define the styles. Primitive country is rustic and simple with furniture made from twigs and pine. Country style furniture takes the simple, serviceable designs of primitive country and refines them to include polished pine and oak furniture with few, if any, frills. French country furniture styles combine the rustic designs of primitive with the more polished look of country with more frills like wood carvings and design patterns.

Finish

Original country furniture pieces were coated with milk paint for color and protection. Milk was blended with lime, oils and pigments to create a lasting furniture coating. The fabric history for country furniture pieces was based on durability and accessibility. It was not uncommon for country furniture to be covered with fabrics made from gingham.

About the Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.