The world of primitive decor can be as interesting as it is unique. Primitive decor is a style of decoration that stresses rustic and classical elements as well as earthy color tones and concepts. While the definition of primitive is not ironclad, a good rule of thumb is that it stresses craft over mass production. As a result, primitive decoration and furniture tend to be higher quality than their modern counterparts.
While primitive furniture may have a decorative design, there is usually less focus on purely decorative qualities, and more of a focus on the appearance of functionality. For instance, in place of a decorative vase, a primitive design might have a working replica of an old-fashioned lantern, or even an antique lantern. The term “authenticity” is commonly used in discussing primitive decor. Authenticity is achieved by including items that are exactly what they appear to be, and that serve functions beyond the purely aesthetic An authentic primitive decoration would be something like a clock, which might have a simple design in order to improve its beauty, but which is a clock first and a matter of artistic expression second.
One topic that is relevant to thinking about this genre of design is that of craft versus art. Many have tried to define the precise difference between craft and art. Some have claimed that art is only art when it is created for its own sake, and that when an item was created for everyday use with secondary artistic qualities, it is craft. Using this definition, primitive styles tend to fall under the category of craft than of art. Beauty is an extension of their form, rather than their primary intended end goal.
Primitive styles also tend to hearken back to recent history rather than reflecting the present or looking ahead to the future. This is where the “primitive” descriptor comes from. Primitive accessories tend to be common household items that might once have been featured in every home, but which are now rarely used, or never used For instance, every home with a lock once needed a large solid key with which to unlock it, but modern lock technology has made keys of this style obsolete. As a result, they have entered the realm of the purely decorative, despite retaining the appearance of utility.
This is a great example of the way primitive decor gives the appearance of being useful, while performing a solely aesthetic function. While many primitive houses use lanterns, candles, and other items that could still technically be used, these items are rarely employed for their actual utility. It is only the appearance of being usable that matters.