We Love American Style

Flea markets feature an abundance of "star-spangled" accents.
By: Jennifer O'Neil and Kitty O'Neil

Check out the flea market in the summertime and you'll see so much Americana your heart will burst with pride. Many decorator touches that celebrate our nation are dandy for a cottage that's country chic, but you can add a little patriotic punch to any design style. And don't worry about your color scheme, on an Americana accent, red, white and blue stands on its own. With so much freedom, infusing your home with a touch of American style is as easy as apple pie.

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Fruit crate labels are widely available and are inexpensive enough to build a large collection. These bold graphics were used from the 1880s to the 1960s as mini mobile billboards on fruit and vegetable crates. Many from the '30s and '40s were patriotic in theme, featuring stars and stripes and names like "Union Asparagus," "Uncle Sam Apples," and "All-American Northwest Pears." Frame them in a style that complements your decor.

Lunchboxes make delectable collectibles and several from the late '60s and early '70s featured patriotic designs. Look for the domed classic by Aladdin Industries called Stars and Stripes. The kitschy U.S. Mail lunchbox from 1969 introduces Mr. Zip and includes a spot to write your "new" ZIP code. Complete the lunchbox lineup with the super stars and stripes of Captain America and Wonder Woman. Then display them all atop the cabinets in the kitchen for a funky way to show your pride.

Nothing better illustrates life in America and Americana in general than the original LIFE magazine. Vintage copies of LIFE magazine range in price from $3 to $100 and can be found at flea markets everywhere. Display them on your coffee table for a fresh conversation piece.

There's nothing more American than baseball, and you only need one piece of nostalgic sports memorabilia to add a touch of America's favorite pastime to a room. While a felt Yankees pennant from the 1920s will set you back more than $200, a 1970s version at the flea market costs less than $20.

Common American folk art forms like whirligigs and birdhouses often have patriotic motifs. Whirligigs first appeared in the Appalachians in the late 1880s and continue to be popular today.

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