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:
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!
Choosing appropriate 'country' colors is very important.
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:
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:
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 ...
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
Pictures can evoke a landscape or a region beautifully. Use photographs or paintings of
... to lend a near-authentic look & feel to your rustic decorating ideas.
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:
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