Contributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman
Quilts didn’t start out as a way to decorate. They were a way to create blankets from scraps of cloth, worn out clothing and old bedding. But as with so many things women created for practical purposes, they also became an expression of creativity amid the toils of daily life. They moved from just bed coverings to a way to bring beauty into a home.
Only recently, have the artistic elements of quilts been recognized. And with the elevation of quilts from a “craft” to an art form, the use of quilts in home and business decor has risen, too. If you love the beauty and color of quilted art, but aren’t sure how to use it in your design, here are some ways to simple ways to decorate with quilts everywhere.
10. Use quilts in a baby’s room
Quilts and babies just seem to go together. Babies love to look at the mix of colors and patterns, which is probably why so many nurseries include at least one or two colorful quilts. You can hang pretty quilts on the nursery wall, thrown them over the side of a crib (do make sure they aren’t too heavy if they fall on baby), or toss them on the back of the rocker.
9. Quilts as upholstery
One of the newest trends in quilts as decor is to use them as upholstery material. But in truth, this is a case of “everything old is new again.” Pioneers and settlers regularly used bits of damaged quilts as seat covers for chairs and foot stools. It was the ultimate in recycling (bits of fabric, turned in quilts, old quilts turned into seat covers.)
But it’s also a great way to add the color, patterns and texture of quilted designs to any room, without committing to a large wall hanging.
8. Quilts as a visual genealogy
Add images that reflect your ethnic or cultural heritage to a room by hanging an art quilt that depicts symbols, scenery or traditional costumes from your family history.
One warning: if you’re as much of a “Heinz 57” as I am, you might end up covering ALL your walls with quilts of many countries! Colorful, but then again, that might be a bit overwhelming… what do you think?
7. A quilt of your favorite collection
Whether you collect clowns, dolphins, cats or antique cars, a collage quilt can be a wonderful way to represent your favorite things. Create a quilt from pictures of your collection, or find fabrics that include images of your favorite things. It’s a space-saving way to display the things you love without the need for shelves or bookcases.
This is also a wonderful choice for your business — create a collage of your products and turn it into a dramatic wall hanging.
6. Quilts as a picture of your family’s life
Decorate your home with a quilt made from bits and pieces of your past. Pull together scraps of fabric from baby clothes, favorite outgrown or damaged shirts or jeans, baby blankets, wedding dresses or prom gowns, and turn them into a family crazy quilt.
The random structure of a crazy quilt makes it perfect for this kind of material… you simply stitch together pieces of a variety of shapes and sizes, then add fancy top stitching around each section. Once it’s quilted, hang it in a front hall or family room — everyone will love finding their old clothes or blankets among the shapes!
5. Quilts as art
I mentioned earlier that quilts are finally being recognized as an art form. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some galleries are featuring quilted works of art along side painted, sculpted and photographic ones. Many talented artists are now choosing to include this one-time household craft in their range of mediums, so you can expect to see some exceptional works of art created from fabric and stitching.
Choose an art quilt the same way you would select a painting. Look for the colors, designs, images and materials that appeal to your eye. Art quilts can be displayed in frames or hung from compression quilt racks. Do be cautious with any art quilt which includes loops or a backside sleeve as a hanging method. Over time, quilts hung this way tend to droop or even come apart.
4. Quilts on the table
There is no rule that says that quilts have to be on beds or walls. Especially when a colorful quilt looks so pretty on a table! Of course, you won’t want to use valuable antique quilts for this, but a new machine washable quilt will work just fine. I love to find used quilts at thrift stores and garage sales and use them on tables in the house, at a picnic or even on the back porch.
This is the perfect decorating touch that you can stitch yourself! Making a quilted table runner for your table is an excellent project for a beginner, or for an experienced quilter who is looking for a small piece to work on. Take the guess work out of hours at the fabric store with a table runner pattern that includes suggestions for selecting a color palette and fabrics.
3. Quilts as travel logs
Quilts that reflect the places you’ve visited make wonderful accents for your home. Select an area of your home to use as a travel wall and hang a selection of small quilts there. Or spread your travel quilts throughout your home, so there are pieces of your adventures in every room.
You can also use travel-themed quilts as throws in the family room, accents on the backs of chairs, or even on the guest room beds. Just make sure quilts you intend to use instead of just display can stand up to the use and cleanings.
2. Quilts as wall coverings
Add a warm, comfy feel to one room in a child’s room by hanging a large quilt over one wall. Choose a simple pattern rather than a picture quilt, and it will still work as your child grows. If you can’t find a large enough piece to cover the wall, consider making your own quilt. With the abundance of quilt fabrics, classes and tools available now, you can easily create a custom masterpiece.
Attach the quilt with velcro strips on all four sides. That way, you can remove the quilt for cleaning, then securely hang it again in minutes.
1. Quilts for spoiled pets
I couldn’t end this list of ways to decorate with quilts without at least mentioning our furry family members. If there are quilts on walls and chair backs and beds, your fuzzy children deserve to have their own spaces decorated with pretty quilts, too!
The good news? Quilt patterns easily hide shedding! Just make sure you select a machine washable quilt for Fido or Fifi — those drool spots can add up!
No matter how you use quilts in your home (even if they’re just on the bed!), you’re helping to carry on a long and beautiful tradition of women’s art. How wonderful that is, while you’re also making your home just a little cozier.