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Folk Art Antiques and Interior Design

woodcarved owl folk art

Ask any artist or art lover what art means and what makes for good art, and you'll no doubt find thousands of differing opinions. Ask anyone what defines it as 'folk art,' and you might find even more opinions that few agree on. What we can see most artists and art lovers agree on is that all art is an expression, either of ideas, personalities, or messages essential to convey through various artistic mediums—and nearly countless types of art out in the world, each one unique.

One of the most exciting and perhaps historically rich and fascinating art forms can be folk art. For a long time, many people have focused on modern, cutting-edge trends for decorating their homes. But after the life-altering events of the Pandemic, a resurgence in looking to the past decades and sometimes centuries to carry ideas forward on creating a cozy, more joyful home that is unique has seen a massive spotlight in interior design ideas.

Between the rising interest in modernizing the 70s conversation pit, repurposing vintage and antiques into new and exciting pieces, and reproduction love—vintage, retro, antique folk art design is another beautiful trend thousands are embracing. But what is the general idea of folk art? What makes a piece an antique? How can you create interiors with them? Let's take a look together.

What is Folk Art?

The traditional meaning and concept of folk art springs from 19th Century criteria. At first look, folk art has a simplistic definition—art made by ordinary, everyday people, notably from rural areas. Initially, this meaning existed before the internet and mass art production. Folk art, decades ago, was art creations made by unaffluent classes of peasants, artisans, and tradespeople living in civilized but not yet industrialized areas.
The amount of authentic folk art nowadays vastly outnumbers the artificial or mass-produced amount of decades ago, thanks to better communication and technology that has helped overcome cultural insularity.

Folk art today can be loosely defined as classic decorative, musical or practical art from different cultures or regions that are unique to the people of a specific area and used to express society. It is still steeped in grassroots history, distinguished from the academic more cosmopolitan forms of artistic expression.

What is Folk Art Interior Design?

While minimalism is still a popular choice for home design, recent years have also seen the rise of maximalism. Many are opting for homes with a far more decorative and layered look that provides countless options for homeowners to express their one-of-a-kind personality and home comfort ideals.

Generally, folk interior design conjures up a bohemian interior with mishmashes of different colors, patterns, and a sense of adventure. Since folk art is used to express cultural identity, there are limitless mediums, including wood, cloth, paper, clay, metal, and more. What makes folk art interior decorating stand out from other vintage genres is the stories attached to each piece used—you can often get a strong sense of their history. In the cases of folk art handed down throughout families, you may be part of their stories.

Folk Art Interior Colors

For a more traditional, antique-folk art feel in the home, many of the colors used should be limited to natural shades and materials, as many of the pigments and dyes used for vibrant, luminous colors weren't possible. Most dyes and paints during the early folk art movement were created from plants.

If you adore color when looking to add folk art antiques to your space, use natural tones and materials to balance bright, joyful colors such as bright green, mustard yellow, or berry red.

Décor ideas for Folk Art Interior design and Antiques

Should you not find a bohemian, eclectic folk-art atmosphere something that fits well with you, you can still embrace the movement with a more serene sense when you combine tonal patterns. Tonal or monochromatic color schemes are created with one primary hue mixed with various tints and tones of the same color mixed in.

For instance, green is a beautiful nature-inspired color that often promotes feelings of lushness and calm. You might love green; therefore, for a tonal pattern, consider mixing green shades such as sage, olive, and crocodile in a room's designs, paints, or folk art to create that serene experience. When you combine a tonal scheme such as the example provided in green with authentic layering, collections, family furniture, and much-loved folk art antiques, the effect is instantly homely and comforting.

Handcrafted Designs – Heirloom, Antique, or Reproductions
Folk art and folk art-inspired interior design's hallmarks are handcrafted aesthetics with whimsical motifs and a story. Anything from handmade ceramics, pottery, embroidery, comforters, and more is worthwhile in a folk art interior. Whether they are heirlooms, antiques you find—or modern made with steps reproducing the antique and traditional ways folk art is made, you know that these were created to bring visual joy and withstand the test of time. They aren't fashionable or transient, something you choose to keep as you understand who made them, why they were made, and want them to stay with you and share with others within your home.

Patterns and prints
There is a very arts and crafts feel to folk art antiques and interior design; few things capture the right ambiance as patterns. Consider patterns for:

  • Window furnishings and treatments, such as curtains, valances, or blinds
  • Wall coverings or wallpapers
  • Pillows, throw rugs, or tablecloths
  • Lamp shades for lighting fixtures

Patterns such as animal-themed, geometric, and floral are perfect additions to folk art décor as they all can use fun and refreshing colors or natural palettes. When it comes to geometric, stray closer to sharper shapes like diamonds, squares, zig-zags, and striped as they contribute to the folk art trend more than circles and soft shapes.

In collecting and displaying your folk art antique finds, there are no rules, but suggestions. Collect items or display items that are personal to you. They should always be folk art items you want to collect and love to show. While looking for the perfect pieces, be patient and build slowly, one piece at a time. This gives you ample opportunity to find out about the makers of your folk art, where they come from, and the story behind the piece.

When you showcase your folk art antique pieces, consider balance if you aren't a fan of clutter. This way, each piece has room to breathe and be visible while decorating spaces that you feel need the extra touch. For display options, you can consider visually exciting options such as grouping like items or like colors to bring visual interest, and most important, aspect of folk art and antiques: have fun. Be quirky. Enjoy what you love, and don't be afraid to collect and experiment in unexpected ways.

Your home and space deserve to be breathtakingly beautiful, comfortable and to bring you happiness for years to come.

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