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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
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on March 24, 2015:
Thanks oceansnsunsets. I do save money by keeping the thermostat down, and using quilts to wrap up in during my downtime - when I am watching TV or on the computer. And I get to enjoy living in an art museum with quilts all around me.
Paula from The Midwest, USA on February 12, 2015:
I enjoyed you hub, and love quilts! I think your ideas are wonderful and I am now thinking of ways to bring out some of the quilts I have that are hidden away. I have a little dog and tend to want to protect my quilts from her, and use other blankets and bed spreads. I can do other things with quilts however, to make sure they are loved and appreciated. I think you are right, they bring warmth to the home in more ways than one. I liked the idea of maybe keeping the utility bill down, with having more quilts handy to throw on your lap or around your shoulders when in various rooms of the house. Thanks for sharing! Voted up and more, and pinned.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on February 10, 2015:
Thanks Patricia (pstraubie48). I'm glad your sister made quilts for you and doubly happy that you display and use them throughout your house.
Thanks Mary (aesta1). Quilts are a great way to decorate a home, and make it warm and give it a homey feeling.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 10, 2015:
Quilts are truly lovely for the home. Appreciate the tips you included on how to take care of them.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on February 10, 2015:
The way the quilts are displayed in the photos is welcoming and certainly pays tribute to someone who cared enough to make them.
I have a number of quilts my sister made me and I do use them throughout my home as they make me feel close to her.
Voted up++++ shared and pinned
Angels are on the way to you today ps
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on February 08, 2015:
Thanks Nell Rose. You don't have to make the quilts to decorate with them. There are many places to buy them.
Nell Rose from England on February 06, 2015:
Hi shasta, beautiful quilts! and they make a home look so cosy and warm! wish i could make them, but I am useless at that sort of thing! lol!
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on February 06, 2015:
Thanks colorfulone. I do hope you display your quilts as the beautiful art that they are!
Susie Lehto from Minnesota on February 03, 2015:
You have inspired me to take some pretty quilts off the closet shelves and use them for cozy feeling decorations in the house.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on January 21, 2015:
Thanks peachpurple, besides looking beautiful, quilts do actually provide insulation and keep you warm besides. I like having one on my couch that I can use when I am watching a movie at home.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 06, 2015:
wow, with the quilts, it makes the whole house looks warm, cozy and countryside feeling
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on November 20, 2012:
Thanks Sherry, quilts do add a special touch to a home.
Thanks Denise, quilts are even more special when there is a story behind them, like yours does. I am sure it has a place of honor in your home.
Thanks Vespa, As a quilter, I love seeing my quilts loved so much that they fall apart. Most of them are made to be used, and it is a shame to have them locked away in an attic, while someone waits for their market value to increase. If you have a photograph, you could recreate the quilt.
Thanks sen.sush23. I can imagine that quilts in India wouldn't have to be warm, and have more intricate handwork on them. It is a lovely art form, but it has received a revival in America since our bicentennial, and so far it has continued to be popular.
Sushmita from Kolkata, India on November 17, 2012:
My grandmother (mom's maa) passed away when I was about 18 and she left us several of her intricately artistic quilts. Though we have mostly shared the quilts with new children born into the family, we still retain a few to remind us of her. In India, quilting is less of patch work and more of intricate, geometrical and flowery embroidery. Thank you for this hub on an old, lovely, womanly art form that seems to have gone out of vogue. Sharing.
Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on November 17, 2012:
My grandmother makes quilts, which gives them special meaning to me. I especially like the idea of hanging them on the wall or using them as a table runner. When I was a child, my grandmother made a special little boy/girl quilt of scraps of clothing from my father and aunts' clothing. My mother let me use it on my bed, though, and in a few years I'd worn it out. I wish we'd hung it on the wall and I could still enjoy it today. : ( Live and learn, huh?! Thank you for a beautiful and detailed hub.
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on November 16, 2012:
I love quilts and have even made a few in my life time. The one that I cherish the most is one I made for my parents (now both deceased) 25th wedding anniversary. I now have it back. It was only a patchwork block quilt, but each patch was made from leftover material from a dress or blouse that I had made for myself and my mother recognized them all.
Thanks for sharing this awesome hub. It brought a smile to my face and some warm memories. :) Rated up/U/I/A
Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on November 16, 2012:
They make the house look so homey. Love it.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on November 16, 2012:
Thanks sweetie1. I haven't seen any quilts from Jaipur, but they do sound beautiful. I can imagine the beautiful colors and intricate needlework. I will look into them.
sweetie1 from India on November 15, 2012:
Beautiful Quilts. You must quilts from Jaipur, they are so beautiful.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on November 12, 2012:
Thanks Mary, Mary, Linda, and FolliediVetro. Quilts do add a soft ambiance to any room, and depending on the style, a nostalgic feel as well. Thanks for your visits and comments.
Lily from Malta on November 11, 2012:
I believe that anyone can experiment what is more inspirational for his home...quilts add a note of colors and personality to an ambient.
Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on November 10, 2012:
Fabulous photos and ideas for decorating. Quilts make a home look so comfy and cozy. I need to buy some since I'll never make one. Well done Shasta!!
Mary Hyatt from Florida on November 10, 2012:
When I was growing up the country the women got together and worked on quilts. I have fond memories of those evenings where I learned the craft of quilting. I still have one my Mother made and I wouldn't take a million dollars for it
I voted this Hub UP, etc.
Mary Craig from New York on November 10, 2012:
There are lots of quilters around here and I am always admiring their quilts but con't know what I would do with them....now I have ideas! Great hub.
Voted up, useful, and interesting.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on October 04, 2012:
Thank you That Grrl, I am sorry your asthma prevents you from being able to decorate as much with quilts. I have asthma, and don't have issues with using them, but mine is pretty mild. I would think that a rotating display shouldn't be an issue, since you can wash them between rotation, especially small ones (they make quilts as small as one inch now, but postcard or paper size are more common). I am glad you can at least enjoy one on your bed
Thank you fancifulashley. I hadn't thought about quilts as curtains until I saw them being used in a house that way. Very pretty!
fancifulashley on September 29, 2012:
This is really informative. I never thought of using quilts in some of the ways that you mentioned. A very unique and creative way of decorating a home that can be easily changed, double as warmth, and can be easily created.
Laura Brown from Barrie, Ontario, Canada on September 29, 2012:
I have asthma. It's not such a good idea to decorate with fabric for me unless I wash them fairly often and make sure they are bone dry when they hang up again. Better to stick with bare walls and the odd poster. I do love the quilts. I have one on my bed. :)
Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on September 26, 2012:
One advantage of quilts is that you can wrap yourself in them during cold days, which you can't do with a rug or other wall hanging. Voting this Up and Useful.
His princesz on September 26, 2012:
I'm loving quilts! I have no idea this will look so neat in display. It is elegant. THanks for sharing this. Voted up up and useful ;)
moonlake from America on September 26, 2012:
We had a front porch that we used for storage until we could open up the house. We put a quilt over the window to cover the porch. We still had windows but just wanted that one covered. Everyone commented on the quilt. The quilt is now gone and front porch is now part of our enlarged living room. Enjoyed your hub voted uP!
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on September 26, 2012:
Thanks myawn, Glimmer Twin Fan, and Gail. How wonderful that all three of you have quilts at home you decorate with! A t-shirt and photo quilt is a great way to use your personal mementos.
Gail Meyers from Johnson County, Kansas on September 26, 2012:
I love quilts! You found some beautiful ones. I have a quilt my Great-Grandmother made that my Grandmother left me. I love that quilt since I was a child, so my Grandmother left it to me. My aunt also gave me one several years ago, she has made more than 120 quilts! She has them beautifully displayed in a quilt cabinet and they do add a special feel to a room. You have given me some new ideas on displaying the ones I have. I really enjoyed reading this hub! Voted up and beautiful.
Claudia Mitchell on September 25, 2012:
Nice ideas millionaire tips! Love your vibrant celebrate quilt. I have quilts everywhere and need to change to my fall ones. This was a great reminder of that! Nice hub.
myawn from Florida on September 25, 2012:
I love quilts new and old. I am making a t shirt quilt then I want to try a photo quilt nice hub enjoyed it
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on September 25, 2012:
Thank you all for your kind and generous comments and compliments. I was very happy to find these photographs of beautifully displayed quilts to share with all of you. Quilts do make a house look more homey, and offer many different practical uses.
Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 25, 2012:
Great job this topic! My mom quilts, and over the years, we've found lots of creative uses for displaying them around the house. I love the mix of ideas and photos that you included.
Kathy Sima from Ontario, Canada on September 25, 2012:
I really enjoyed reading all of your ideas on how to decorate your home using quilts. I have a few quilts that were made by my grandmother that have a lot of sentimental value to me. You've inspired me to look for ways to use them in my home decor , rather than keep them folded up in the closet. Great work!
Dbro from Texas, USA on September 25, 2012:
What a lovely article! Thanks for all the wonderful tips for decorating with quilts. I must echo your caution about displaying quilts (especially old ones) in sunny locations. I accidentally faded an old, wonderful quilt because it was displayed in a room with too much sunlight! Very good, useful information in this hub! Thanks again for sharing!
Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on September 24, 2012:
What a beautiful article. I so enjoyed reading this! Your photos are gorgeous and this article is so creative. The quilts are just lovely and you have presented them in such a beautiful manner. Your ideas and suggestions are just wonderful. Voted up and shared!
Novel Treasure from US on September 24, 2012:
What wonderful pictures of some lovely quilts. I myself am not a sewer but I can appreciate the art form and the difficulty and the tediousness of the craft. Your hub is well thought out, organized, and very easy to read. Keep up the good work!
carol stanley from Arizona on September 24, 2012:
I also love quilts but don't have the patience to make my own. A good friend made a beauty for our bedroom. And I love the way they look..so homey! Thanks for sharing all these ideas.
Ruth McCollum from Lake Oswego, Oregon on September 24, 2012:
I love quilts! You have some beautiful one and I have one from my husbands grandma who passed away, and I'm gonna hang it. Great hub! I enjoyed this a lot! Thankyou for sharing your ideas!