Decorate Your Home With Quilts
In the old days, quilts were used solely to provide warmth. They were added onto a bed, layer upon layer, until the person was comfortable. Some were stuffed into open spaces in the walls and windows to avoid drafts. Their only function was to keep people warm.
Quilts today do much more than that. Since we have heating systems and insulation, quilts are not as necessary for bedding. In addition, we have more time and resources available to make our quilts beautiful as well as functional.
Why Decorate Your Home With Quilts?
Displaying your antique quilt, especially if it is an heirloom quilt made by a special family member, honors the work and love she put into the quilt, and also honors her as a person. If it is a family heirloom, it honors the entire family as well.
Quilts make your house look warm and cozy. Their softness and textures add a more welcoming feel to the coldness of functional furniture. If you have neutral decor in your house, you can easily transform the look of your home simply by adding quilts with a certain theme or color. You can change the decor each season simply by changing the quilts that you display. There are a variety of quilting styles today, and you are sure to find many quilts that fit your tastes perfectly. If not, you can always make one, or ask a quilter to make one for you.
Since quilts can be made to your specifications, you can choose the colors and patterns that properly represent you, the size and shape of your furniture, and the open spaces on your walls. You can make your quilts artistic or traditional, simple or complex, a simple color palette or a large combination of colors, calm or exciting, all depending on your mood and your personality.
You can use just one as a conversation piece, or combine them to make a bold statement. Quilts can be used in many different ways throughout your house to beautify and add unique and interesting charm to your living abode.
Possible Quilt Themes for Homes
Here are just a handful of theme ideas for using quilts as decorative pieces in your home:
- warm colors
- historic (1930s/1800s/Civil War-era/Victorian/Art Deco)
- color schemes (blue and white/red and white)
- holiday (Christmas/Valentine's Day)
- season (spring/fall)
Once you have enough quilts for all the beds in your house, you may feel like you do not have enough space for any more big quilts. Another beautiful and practical way to display quilts is to drape lap quilts over the sofa, couch, or chair in the living room, family room or den. You can also display them on a quilt stand that is within easy reach to your seating area.
You and your family can easily pull the quilt over you while you are watching TV or browsing the internet so you can stay warm and comfortable. These lap quilts may even save you money on heating costs, since you will not need to increase the temperature of the room when you are not moving around.
Some quilts are so beautiful or precious that you may not want to get them dirty or raggedy by using them, and don't want to put them away for the winter. Especially if they are antique or heirloom quilts, you want to make sure that you take good care of them. Putting them up on the wall keeps them in view so people can admire them, yet avoids the heavy use of a bed or lap quilt.
You can also change them with each season and occasion. I have a space in my living room that I use to display my quilts, and I change the quilt that is displayed every other month and sometimes more often—every spring, summer, Halloween, fall, Christmas, winter, and Valentine's Day.
There are several ways to hang wall quilts. You can attach hanging sleeves to the back, insert a dowel rod and use them as wall hangings. You can also clips that are made specifically for curtains, like the one shown in the picture on the right. There are also special made wooden quilt holders that hold the quilt in place for display. Smaller quilts can be held up by applique pins or 3M Command Strips.
Pillows and Other Quilted Items
When making quilts for a bed or a lap, it makes sense to also make coordinating pillows and shams. Pillows provide extra comfort and serve as perfect complements to bed and lap quilts. Leftover scraps of fabric can be used in many ways that are useful in the home. They can be quilted and designed specifically to cover a computer, sewing machine, iPad, or other appliance that is in storage. In the kitchen, small quilts can also be used as coasters, place mats, refrigerator magnets, and hot pads.
Fabric can be used to make bags, boxes, vases, or other containers. You can also make clothing, such as quilted vests, purses and jackets, so you can look as stylish as your beautiful home.
If you don't make quilts, you can take damaged quilts with worn parts and re-purpose them to these smaller items. Older quilts can be made into stuffed animals, pin cushions, hot water bottle protectors, for example, as well as the other items listed in this article.
Quilts for the bed do not have to be limited to king, queen, and full-size beds. Children really appreciate having quilts, and they will be able to find a variety of ways to play with them. They can make them into tents to huddle under, or capes to swing around as superheroes.
Babies can be swaddled in quilts to keep them warm, and their rooms can also have a variety of quilts and quilted items just like the rest of the house.
Quilts as Table Cloths and Picnic Blankets
Quilts can also be used in unusual ways that you may not have considered. Older quilts and newer functional quilts can be used as table cloths. If you are worried about them getting dirty, you can add a clear plastic covering over them so you can enjoy the beauty.
How about using one as a picnic blanket? After you are done eating, you can cover yourself in it while you watch the ball game. You can also keep it in the trunk of the car for emergencies.
A small quilt can serve as a decorative element to cover a coffee, side or end table. If you have one that is big enough, it could provide hidden storage space underneath the table. A table topper can be used on a bureau, both as decoration and to protect the table from scratchy knickknacks or perfume bottles.
If you have an old quilt that you don't mind getting faded, or if you want a shady side of the house, you can consider turning a quilt into a curtain to dress up your windows. This unusual way to use a quilt is sure to be a conversation starter, as it beautifies your home, provides privacy, and prevents drafts.
In fact, you can even use them as shower curtains. Just be sure to use a plastic liner and adequate ventilation to prevent mold.
Quilts can also be used on the floor. There are quilts with a special coating that are designed specifically to be used as floor mats. You can also make floor pillows or dog beds with your old patchwork that has seen better days.
Quilts provide warmth as bed coverings, but their aesthetic value transcends their practical value. A quilt on a bed provides beauty and character to the bedroom. The color combinations, the pattern, the quilting, and any decorative touches all add a unique value to personalize a room. In addition, a combination of quilted pillows in different sizes can enhance the look, adding a warm, homey feel to the bedroom.
Additional Tips for Using Quilts in Your Home
- Choose your own style and find quilts that go with it. Alternatively, get quilts you like and fit a theme around them. Quilts are timeless, so you can go with whatever you like without worrying about trends and fashions. If you like them, use them.
- You can buy already-made quilts from antique stores, thrift stores, eBay, Etsy, flea markets, and yard sales. You can also buy them from other internet sites. The Amish are known for their high quality quilts that they make for selling. Quilt stores usually sell material to make quilts, and not already made quilts, but they may be able to get you in touch with people who are willing to make them for you.
- Don't try too hard to match the colors exactly. Coordinating colors and themes work better to beautify your home without seeming contrived. In fact, if the quilt doesn't match exactly, it will be less likely to blend into the surroundings and will get the attention that it deserves.
- Use your valuable or antique quilts in ways that will provide the joy of seeing them without letting them be someplace where people will routinely touch them, so they have less of a chance to get damaged. You can use less valuable quilts on the couch as a throw where people can use them when they are ill, and children have access to them to drag them around as they are playing.
- Keep your quilt away from direct sunlight to reduce fading, and away from moisture to avoid mold.
- While you can wash most quilts, you can get more wear out of them if you do not wash them often. Simply vacuum or shake off dust, and hang it in a shady clothesline for an airing. Wash them in cold water using a gentle cycle of your washer. Wash fragile quilts by hand in the bathtub.
- When you put the quilt away in storage, be sure to take it out and refold it differently from time to time. The fold is the most stressed part of a quilt in storage, and it may become weak and rip or tear.
- Pair them with other accessories such as linens, lace, pottery, candles, pillows, and lamps to create a complete theme.
Decorating With Quilts
Whole cloth and patchwork quilts are a unique and creative way to add charm and warmth to any home, and come in a variety of different styles that are sure to please any palette and taste. They can be used all throughout the house in many combinations, and can be changed to match your mood at any given moment.
Whether you use them to add a nostalgic feel to the home, or to show your edgy artistic taste, they are sure to make a big impact and statement.
© 2012 Shasta Matova