primitive antiques

What is a Primitive Antique Anyway?

Primitive Country Furniture

By Jesse Akre

Country furniture has been a staple of American homes since the country was first founded. Today, primitive country furniture is neither primitive or old, but it does recall a time when life was simpler, fine furniture was cherished and families often passed down their most prized pieces from one generation to another.

With this in mind, modern primitive country furniture was born. Even though these pieces are new, they have been aged and weathered to give them that generations-old look that many homeowners prize as a theme for their home, whether it’s a single room or the entire house.

Primitive country furniture is easy to spot, yet not all that easy to define. The finish is usually the first thing you’ll notice. The paint may look crackled, there may be wear marks around the drawers or the drawer pulls and the surface of the wood may be careworn and have a few imperfections.

But don’t let its looks fool you. Underneath that weather-beaten finish lies a quality piece of furniture that takes advantage of the latest in manufacturing techniques as well as the innovative techniques to make the furniture look older than it is.

Primitive country furniture is a real treasure to behold and many people love its quirky qualities that are all intentionally placed there to add depth, charm and a bit of history to each piece.

You can find this type of furniture for any room in the home, right down to cabinets for the bathroom that look as if they were around long before indoor plumbing was fashionable. All that’s missing is the kerosene lanterns and the water pump at the wash basin.

In the bedroom, you can purchase primitive country bed frames, dressers, armoires and nightstands, all with that wonderful weathered, used look that up until recently, only time could add to a piece of furniture. And it can create wonderful contrasts between the old and new, such as an entertainment center armoire in the country style that opens up to display a state-of-the-art 3D plasma screen.

That’s one of the great things about the primitive country style. It can create such great contrasts, looking as if you just raided grandma’s attic to bring home all these amazing relics from the past that are actually very modern, beautiful and truly timeless in character.

When looking for furniture in this style, remember that all the same old rules apply. You want to be sure that the furniture is well built and finely crafted. Even though the pieces are supposed to look old, the drawers should travel in and out easily, cabinet doors should close tightly and not sag, the hardware should look timeworn but not cheap and the wood should be carefully and professional aged. That means it shouldn’t look like a gang of bikers went nuts with some chains on the wood. Aging these products is an art form and quality pieces are aged deliberately rather than randomly.

The same is true of the finish on the wood. Most of these pieces are painted, so they can do additional aging to make the crackled, worn and slightly yellowed appearance look authentic, like it really came from an old farmhouse or Depression era home in the Midwest. A quality piece of primitive country furniture will have a finish that is consistent throughout the piece. That means the drawer and cabinet facings should match the rest of the dresser, armoire, entertainment center or nightstand.

Once you have primitive country furniture in your home, be sure to look at them from afar, then close up. Go back and forth a few times. A quality piece will look as good up close as it does from across the room. In fact, it should look better, since the details of the crackled paint and worn edges with other layers of paint showing through should really shine when you’re standing right next to it.

One thing’s for sure. Primitive country furniture won’t go out of style any time soon. It honors the finest traditions in American homes – handing down heirloom quality pieces from one generation to the next – creating continuity and familiarity that adds an additional touch of hominess to your living spaces.

Even though they weren’t handed down initially, trust that these pieces will be handed down to generations to come. For they are both beautiful and finely crafted, meant to last years, if not a lifetime.

About the Author: Jesse Akre owns Edenvale Shoppes and hosts numerous furniture and furnishings for any home whether it be kitchen racks or furniture console tables styles and designs.


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