Prairie Home Architecture and Design Features

Prairie or Prairie School homes, which were heavily influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, were popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

This home style was the first to regularly use open floor plans, Wright felt that Victorian homes, with their small rooms, were too cramped.

The style also has Japanese influences.

Usonian houses are very similar to Prairie style homes and were also developed by Wright as a more cost-effective version of the style for use during the Depression.

These homes are low to the ground, although they may be multilevel. The low feeling is created by the low pitched roof.

A modern Prairie Style Home.Prairie Exterior Design Features:

  • A low pitched, cantilevered roof with overhanging eaves
  • A variety of exterior materials, including plaster with wood trim, concrete block, or siding with horizontal board and batten
  • A variety of shapes, including L-shapes, Y-shapes, T-shapes, and pinwheel shape
  • Long repetitive rows of windows
  • Clerestory windows: a tall wall with a long row of narrow windows right at the top near the roof

Prairie Interior Décor Features:

  • Common interior architectural details:
    • Wood banding at intersections between walls and ceilings
    • Chair rails
  • Linoleum, slate and wood are the most common flooring options
  • Laminate, granite, and soapstone countertops are most common in the kitchen
  • Cabinets are usually recessed, square panels which are either stained or painted. Cherry, oak and maple are common materials

Prairie Decorating Suggestions:

  • Prairie homes usually feature built in furniture elements like hutches, dressers, and bookshelves. Make them a focal point of the room. Paint or glaze the back wall of the built in the same color as the walls to make display items pop
  • Prairie and Usonian furniture lines are still available. Search online to find some styles and options to fit your budget
  • Traditionally, Prairie homes used color schemes with hues found in nature. Think leafy greens, wheat colors, rusts and reds, and terra cottas.
  • Make the most of walls with glaze. This allows you to integrate color without overshadowing the trim.
  • Some decorating schemes that work particularly well with Prairie design include:
    • Modern décor
    • Art Deco style
    • Oriental style

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