The country style is one of the most popular design styles among homeowners these days. Its popular variants range from the English country style and French country style, to the American country style, and even the contemporary country look, which fits right into modern city living. Casual and relaxing, it is a style that lends itself to great versatility, as it can be adapted to most homes and lifestyles. It is a style characterized by the rustic look, the use of muted colours, light clutter, and vintage fabrics.
It is usually easiest to start with the colour scheme of the country look. Soft, muted colours taken from the natural world, such as yellow ochre, orange, light blue, dark green, or even gray, are ideal, and may be paired, or complemented, with touches of red, black or white to lighten the rustic tone, in order to give a more contemporary feel. Pale colours enhance natural light. Avoid loud or bright colours, and pick a group of colours that complement one another to maintain a harmonious look, such spring colours like golden yellow and cream for the living room, or soft pinks, blues or greens for bedrooms.
One quick way to add the colour palette of the country style is to paint your walls with the colour of choice, then overpaint with a thinned white that allows the background to show through. This gives a faded look, rather than a sleek one. Since the country look does not depend on perfect coatings of paint, repainting a room can be undertaken personally, as a weekend project.
Fabrics such as floral, checked or striped patterns brighten up a country room. The use of drapes or curtains, usually mid-floor length or longer, to give a softer look, also contribute to the overall country style. Other coverings, such as blinds made of grass, bamboo or other natural materials can also be used.
The bedroom offers many simple and quick decorating opportunities. For example, in addition to drapes, a striped or checked bedspread in nature colours will also enhance the country look without need for much fuss.
Light chintzes work well too, particularly if you want to point to a French influence, or a quilt, for an American one. For a lighter and more contemporary look, go for a nature-inspired design, like the leaf-design bedspread below.
The kitchen is particularly important. The French country look tends to have copper pots and pans hung up, but you can achieve a similar look with less trouble with the use of wooden tables, old-fashioned-looking condiment bottles and jars. Chinaware and stoneware, decorated with rustic designs, can be displayed in a sideboard to add to the atmosphere.
Those with balconies or a nook can dress it up further to emphasize the friendly, nature-inspired look of the country style.
In the living room, bedrooms and kitchens, country-style accessories, like baskets, wooden bowls, pottery, and other nature-inspired bric-a-brac help to complete the look. Scattered rugs over parquet floors are a particularly effective combination, as are as are other natural surfaces, such as stone, brick or pebble-washes. Potpourri and candles, handicrafts such as cross-stitch work, antiques (real or reproductions) and old photographs (in silver or wooden frames) add to the look.
Overall, avoid sleek looks such as a high-gloss finish or steel-and-glass furnishings. If possible, use plain wooden bookcases (in dark wood, if possible), and fill them either with books, or other accessories, such as travel mementos or collections of seashells, china and other collectibles, or small, framed artwork.
Fresh flowers don’t hurt either. Bring nature into your home!