Design Hints

Color to Crow About

Make the most of your dark-finish primitives by using them as a backdrop for bold and beautiful seasonal hues.

One of the joys of decorating with primitive antiques is the way their dark hues become the perfect backdrop upon which to build layers of seasonal color. Achieve this look in your own spaces with a few helpful hints from Washington state homeowner and interior designer Kathleen Wedin.

Fall Back: Autumn is synonymous with warm colors: deep oranges, rich reds and the last bursts of sunny yellows. Kathleen dips into these hues by using decorative pumpkins and gourds of all sizes and shapes, from orange to lumina white. When set against primitive furnishings or brick fireplaces or nestled in cubbies or wood trenchers, they bring everything vibrantly to life.

Branching Out: Take a drive along a country road and look for fallen branches; parcel them together with rough-texture twine to create a quick and easy accent for an empty corner of the living room. Or, contact an orchard to schedule a visit when dormant winter pruning is taking place. Ask to bundle the trimmed limbs for placement in large baskets or crocks. Add color to the branch bunches by surrounding them with seasonal flowers or produce.

Sunny-Side Up: As summer days ripen into a cavalcade of golden fall flowers, gather up your favorite varieties and parade them alongside your primitive furnishings. Kathleen grows her own black-eyed Susans, which she displays in crocks indoors and out. Mums, which are always in plentiful supply at farmer's markets and nurseries, look beautiful when nestled inside baskets, galvanized watering cans, crocks or decorative planters.

Dish It Up: Celebrate the season by decorating with new tableware found at your local discount or dollar store. That's right! Spice up your classic country look with some dishes in hot new colors, such as lime green or aubergine. "I say you can change a look so easily by spending a very minimal amount to set a table, adorn a shelf or embellish a cabinet," Kathleen notes.

Make a Change: As one season ends and another begins, you can get an entirely different look in the same spot or with the same base simply by replacing one season's decor with another, Kathleen says. Turn a pumpkin-and-bittersweet display in a wood bowl into a cornucopia of Christmas ornaments and pinecones for winter, followed by bird's nests and robin's eggs to herald spring.

Written and Styled by Donna Pizzi
Photographed and Styled by