Country Style Decorating:
Rustic Decorating Ideas For Urban Folks

Country style decorating and rustic interior design in the city: How to create the look of rustic country style decor with not a single exposed beam in sight!

It doesn't actually matter that much whether your home is a real country pad, a house in the suburbs, or a city highrise.

So if you live in a sleek urban apartment ...

... with crisp angles, glistening chrome appliances, wall-to-wall carpet, and a glossy entertainment center that is the envy of the neighborhood ... and all you can see from the windows is a city skyline - you can still create a 'country' feel for your home.  Here's how:

Country Style Decorating
In The City

rustic country earthenware, France

The secret is not to pretend.

Trying to make a modern condo look as if it was a Tuscan farmhouse almost never works.

Instead, use these subtle country style elements to evoke the feel of genuine rustic interior design. This will give you credible, country cottage decorating charm for your home.

You'll see that rustic country style decorating needn't be expensive, either. There are many ways to produce a 'country' look without spending a fortune on antique rustic wooden furniture.

If you can't get originals, get creative ... create your own country look!

Getting the Look, Part 1:
Color & Texture

primitive rustic painted board

Choosing appropriate 'country' colors is very important.

  • Generally, keep the color scheme mellow and soft, with a few deeper hues for accents (but nothing even remotely loud or garish).
  • Choose colors that have a hint of white/gray (or of their complementary color) in them. Both these effects make a color look 'used'.
  • Keep patterns to a small scale if you're going for traditional country style decorating - choose larger designs if you want a bold look.
  • Colorwash the walls if that combines well with your flooring and furniture, but keep the wash very light and subtle.

The next step is to combine textures that suggest a handmade quality:

♦  rush matting, wicker (furniture or baskets), woven straw

♦  wood that's oiled or waxed, rather than varnished

♦  things with soft, rounded edges

♦  things with 'scrubbed'-looking surfaces.

Country style decorating can work even in the most nondescript city apartment if you combine interesting, irregular, 'nobbly' textures that have a natural, handcrafted feel to them.

You'll find more rustic decorating ideas - and pictures of rustic interior design - in the following articles:

Getting the Look, Part 2:

Textiles are beautifully versatile and useful for country style decorating. They have a way of softening hard lines. And in a modern home you do get plenty of hard lines!

Go for textiles that are suitably plain, or even somewhat coarse:

french country window with a cheesecloth curtain
  • heavy linens
  • woollen blankets
  • tweed (slip)covers for seating/cushions
  • cotton prints
  • knitted and hand-woven fabrics.

If you're using pattern, keep it simple (checks and stripes are the easiest to weave and used to be the most common in country homes).

A few embroidered pieces can add a lot of flair to your rustic country style decor (make them yourself if you have the time and inclination!)

Consider sheer, plain curtains for the windows. They let the light in but help to mask out 'non-country' views and colors.  Loosely woven, crinkly sheer linens (or cheesecloth) can look sensational!  If necessary, layer a sheer curtain up with heavier, informal-looking drapes for a more substantial look.

If you like white lace, show it off ...

  • at the windows,
  • on the table,
  • on a special, 'best' pillow, or
  • on a bedspread.
  • Lace also looks amazing in combination with wool plaids or tartans!

Lace can give heavy wooden furniture a wonderful lift. In historic farmhouses, handmade crochet and bobbin lace would have been the most commonly used.

You'll find pictures of country style window decorations in the chapters on

Getting the Look, Part 3:
Images & Produce

Pictures can evoke a landscape or a region beautifully.  Use photographs or paintings of

  • a view across the countryside of your choice, or
  • portraits of people in traditional dress, or
  • historic pictures of village life ...

... to lend a near-authentic look & feel to your rustic decorating ideas.

French jam jars with poetic labels

Country produce makes for great country style decorating as well. Choose fruit, preserves, or honey that is typical of the country or region you want to conjure up in your home.

(The photo here was taken at a lovely little hotel near Provence, Les Sardines Aux Yeux Bleus in Gattigues).

If you're inspired by a foreign country style, you could run with this idea and create (poetic) labels in Italian, Swedish, French ... write them yourself if original material is hard to come by, or cut them out of magazines, or have them hand lettered by a gifted person!

Last not least, add a few items of everyday use that were made, could have been made, or are definitely used in that country's rustic tradition:

  • a ceramic dish or bowl,
  • a quilt,
  • something made of wood,
  • a common brand of soap (or olive oil),
  • a cookbook ...
  • ... you get the idea ;-)

Country Style Decorating Bookshop
(In Partnership With Amazon):

  • What is it that actually makes a style "Country"? (Contains additional rustic decorating ideas.)
  • Tuscan Decorating Style: Tuscany is where 'everyone' would like to own a house. Check out this series of articles about Tuscan kitchens, colors, bedrooms, living-rooms ... get the full lowdown on Tuscan rustic interior design and lifestyle.
  • Italian Country Design: This rustic interior design style is done with love and with a lot of taste. Read an Italian designer's thumbnail sketch of her country's decorating secrets.
  • Swiss Rustic Decorating Ideas: Swiss country decorating is understated and quietly beautiful. Here's an original Swiss checklist for country interiors.
  • French Country Style ... is a unique, and very addictive form of rustic chic. Look here for ideas and tips to create French country kitchens, bedrooms, window treatments, and for ways to get the 'French' look on a shoestring.
  • Provençal Interiors: Even though Provence only makes up a small part of Southern France, it has come to define the 'French Country' look. Country home decorating ideas from Provence are elegant, quirky & rustic all rolled into one.
  • Swedish Country Style: Swedish country decorating is all about space, clean lines and a light touch. Here's a young Swedish designer's take on her country's decorating style.
  • Find rustic decorating ideas for a country style Living Room, choose the perfect country style Sofa or get creative with your country Bedroom - even make your own, cheap rustic furniture.
  • Neutral Color Schemes - The Book:
    Learn about using neutral color palettes in country style decorating.   Understand what makes neutral color schemes look their best, and what happens when you inject 'real' color into neutral color palettes.   It's FREE!!

Yet to find the information you're looking for? Type a word or phrase into the search box below:

Add This Site:

Related Pages:

Subscribe here:




I keep this private.