What is American Colonial?

American Colonial is a design style that reflects the architectural and interior designs prevalent during the colonial period in America.


American Colonial refers to the distinctive architectural and interior design style that became prominent in the American colonies from the late 17th to the mid-19th century. This style is characterized by its focus on simplicity, functionality, and durability, reflecting the early settlers' practical needs and the limited resources available to them. The American Colonial style borrows elements from European influences, particularly British, but it evolved to include unique characteristics that adapted to the local climate, materials, and social conditions of the New World.

The main features of American Colonial design include symmetrical and simple facades, steep roofs, multi-pane windows, and a central chimney. The interiors are noticeable for their use of natural materials like wood for floors, paneling, and handcrafted furniture. The color palette often relies on muted tones complemented by accents derived from natural dyes. Traditional motifs, textile patterns like quilts, and practical decorative items play a significant role in American Colonial interiors.

In recent years, the American Colonial style has been embraced by those looking for a cozy, timeless aesthetic that pays homage to historical details while allowing for modern comforts. This blend of old and new is what makes American Colonial design both appealing and enduring in contemporary spaces.


American Colonial design is often applied in homes that aim to evoke the warmth and simplicity of the early American period. This can include using reclaimed wood for flooring, installing multi-pane windows, and selecting handcrafted furniture pieces. Modern interpretations might include integrating contemporary appliances in a kitchen designed with American Colonial cabinetry or adding flush lighting fixtures that mimic the style of colonial lanterns.


  • How does American Colonial design differ from British Colonial?

    American Colonial design differs from British Colonial primarily in its simplicity and focus on functionality. While both styles share European influences, American Colonial reflects the practical needs and resource limitations of early settlers in America, resulting in a more straightforward and sturdy aesthetic compared to the more ornate and globally influenced British Colonial style.

  • Can American Colonial design be integrated with modern elements?

    Yes, American Colonial design can seamlessly integrate with modern elements. This integration typically involves maintaining the style's signature use of natural materials, simple lines, and muted colors while introducing contemporary amenities, appliances, and technological conveniences. This blend creates a cozy, timeless space that pays homage to historical aesthetics while catering to modern lifestyles.

  • What kind of materials are commonly used in American Colonial design?

    Common materials used in American Colonial design include natural wood for flooring, paneling, and furniture, stone for fireplaces and accents, and textiles such as wool, linen, and cotton for curtains, rugs, and upholstery. These materials reflect the style's emphasis on durability, functionality, and a connection to natural surroundings.

Practical Application

To incorporate American Colonial design into your space, start with a natural, muted color palette and emphasize the use of wood in furniture, flooring, and paneling. Choose simple, symmetrical layouts and consider incorporating traditional motifs and patterns through textiles and artwork. Modern comforts and amenities can blend into this aesthetic through careful selection of contemporary elements that align with the style's timeless appeal.