The Western style of decorating has been popular ever since trappers, traders, pioneers, entrepreneurs, and adventurers began trekking into the wild regions west of the Mississippi River. People built shelters with the materials at hand, and modern home designers and decorators can echo those early pioneers by incorporating these elements into their homes. You may like more or less of a Western touch, but the rustic, free, and independent look of this style of decorating and building can only enhance your current theme. For ideas on what Western décor style looks like, do an Internet search, find decorating books dedicated to the style, or visit elegant examples of these places for yourself. High-end lodges such as the Rusty Parrot in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, or customized homes and stores scattered throughout the Mountain West can be great places to see for yourself how to add touches of the West into your own abode.
The most obvious aspect of Western style is the use of natural materials. Wood and stone were two of the major building materials available to early pioneers eking out an existence in sometimes dry and barren terrains, and the warmth and solidity of unpolished wood or uncut stone speaks to permanence and shelter. Log or board walls and ceilings, willow and other wooden furniture, and river rock fireplace surrounds all show up in Western décor. Other natural materials often used are shed antlers (chandeliers, furniture, or as wall art), leather, and iron (door and furniture handles, wall art, and more).
The browns, yellows, and reds of the earth, the various shades of green in plants and trees, and the blue of wide open Western skies are all important colors in Western décor. Settlers used plants, insects, and minerals to create natural dyes, and colors were often muted. The Navajo Indians wove wool blankets and robes with striking geometric patterns that they often used in trade, and their blankets and rugs are still highly sought after for their aesthetic appeal. The grays, blacks, browns, blues, greens, and reds in the blankets were produced from various sources they found around them or bought from traders who operated in Meso- and South America or Europe.
How Much to Use?
How heavily you apply Western décor into your own home is largely a matter of personal taste and preference. A few pieces of handmade wooden furniture with leather seat cushions may suffice, or you may wish to go all out and build as if you were living in a cabin—even if it’s a cabin with running water, electricity, and more than one earth-floored room. Again, looking through pictures, books, and by visiting lovely examples of Western décor such as the Rusty Parrot lodge in Wyoming are all great ways to hone your sensibilities and help you make decisions. Happy decorating and yee-haw!