The Country Decorating theme has its origins stemming largely from the New England and Southern regions of the United States, and like its
Western and Southwestern counterparts, has traditions dating back many generations.
Following in suit with other country designs, such as English Country,
French Country and Tuscan, the American Country decorating theme is informal and welcoming, inviting guests and homeowners into a relaxing and comfortable setting for entertaining and simple living.
More polished and much less rugged than the Western theme, modern country designs exhibit a distressed elegance, with the occasional contemporary element embedded for a subdued eclectic mix.
Reminiscent of the Japanese approach where "less is more," modern country decorating has evolved over recent years into an airy, less cluttered and balanced layout. Through careful consideration and a general reduction in collections and fixtures around the home, attention in the country design is now drawn more exclusively to architecture and outside scenery.
Country decorating places a premium on weaving elements of the outdoors into the confines of the home, so the colors, textures and materials used should complement the exterior landscape, thus, creating a fusion of nature into the foundational look of your interior home design.
Hard woods, modern appliances, and rustic cabinetry seen on the island blend nicely in today's country kitchen.
Nearby gardens and woods are good places to start when thinking about colors to choose for your country decorating accent pieces, such as artwork and fabrics. Forest green, golden yellow, rose red and beige are used in furniture, paintings, accessories and floor coverings. Browns and black are also found in abundance through the various different wood, leather and iron fixtures.
Neutral colors such as white, beige, pale yellow, lilac and light gray are commonly found on walls, while white is the dominant choice for wainscot, ceilings, doorways and windows.
Color cues in Country decorating.
For assistance selecting your country decorating theme colors, try these free online tools, the color wheel calculator (from Sessions School of Design) and the
color visualizer (from Sherwin Williams).
Textures in this theme, like the other country and rustic themes, primarily center around wood and stone. Although not as abundant as what you find in western designs, this theme makes use of distressed hardwood floors, ceiling beams, wall paneling and furniture, which incorporates all combinations of shades and finish.
A country-styled bedroom,
with wood floor, ceiling, and walls, as well
as a wood-beamed bed
outfitted with quilts and country fabrics.
Another important and distinct characteristic of the country design is the use of bead-board wainscoting, which surrounds the interior and usually painted pure white, offering a classic look that is appropriate for every room in the house.
Stone, terracotta and granite are other materials commonly found throughout the country home. Stone is seen in walls, walkways, gardens, fireplaces and floors, while terracotta an extremely versatile and inexpensive material, is used in floors, countertops, vases and artwork. Polished granite, with its
beautiful dark tones and glittery features, has become a very popular choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops.
Furniture in this theme can range on a variety of different fronts, from unfinished and primitive, such as that found in the
western theme, all the way to vintage antiques that you see in the European country themes.
When choosing your furniture, remember that comfort is the primary objective, because you can't have a successful country design unless the room itself feels as inviting as it looks. Likewise, pieces do not have to match in look, era, finish or style, just as long as they positively contribute to the overall look.
A recent development in country design is the placement of contemporary pieces and patterns among the more traditional decor. For example, among a room of Windsor or Adirondack chairs, antique tables, bookshelves and artwork, the homeowner may include a modern, brightly-colored and deep-cushioned sofa, and in doing so, achieving a contrast between past and present, hard and soft, and light versus dark.
An aged country hutch, displaying china, pewter and books, a weathered armoire to house the entertainment system, an old farm table with matching or mixed-matched chairs, a blanket chest used
as a coffee table, and even wicker framed furniture, all contribute rustic charm and functionality to the country living space.
The tendency in today's country decorating is characterized by the lack of fabric used for window dressing. While it may be desirable to have some covering to control light in and out of the room, heavy fabrics are often avoided in favor of a sheer or lace type material, or white wooden blinds. A large window allowing plenty of sunlight and scenery into the room becomes, in and of itself, artwork.
As in several other design themes, wall to wall carpet is becoming less common, where instead hardwood and tiling have risen to prominence. On these hard floors, colonial-braided oval rugs are very popular, as are the colorful Mexican, Native American, Persian and oriental floor coverings.
Handmade country quilts as well as down comforters serve to add color, comfort and accent to the home. Textured fabrics, such as plaid, checkered, striped and floral patterns are good choices
to consider for upholstery, curtains, cushions and throws. Solid colored fabrics, likewise, can be used just as effectively to offset some of the more dominant patterns which may be found throughout the home.
Generally speaking, solid fabrics are used on larger pieces, such as sofas and love seats, while patterned fabrics are reserved for accents, such as cushions and smaller pieces of furniture.
Country Decorating Accessories
Country decorating is a lighthearted design, exhibiting a certain levity which enlivens the interior. Locating classic accessories from the 1800s up through the 1950s will play nicely into this country design. Scouring antique shops, yard sales and the Internet for old clocks, pictures, advertising signs, bottles, books and countless other artifacts, will add a nostalgic twist to your room's look.
Some simple rules to follow for your displays include keeping the number of objects limited to just the exceptional items worthy of show, grouping like objects together, and juxtaposing size, shape and era for added dimension and complexity.
Below are some additional ideas to consider when setting up your room in the country design.
- Unpolished metal (copper and brass being the most prevalent) used for urns, pots, cookware, kettles and lanterns
- Large, standing grandfather wall clocks
- Figurines of barns, houses and churches
- Old black and white photographs in antique wooden frames of family and scenery from generations ago
- Antique silverware and china
- Rooster, moose or bear motifs in lamps, dishes and artwork
- Wicker or wire baskets used to display pinecones, fruit, books, flowers and plants
- Glazed clay pottery displaying dried or freshly cut flowers, fruit, or bread
- Wooden pegged coat racks in entranceways at either the front or back
- Antique clocks hung on the wall, or placed on a shelf or mantle
- Kitchen windows lined with potted herbs and flowers
- Large glass storage containers in the kitchen, for housing sugar, flour, cereal and cookies
- Pewter, brass, copper, or iron candle holders
- Decorative blue, green, yellow and red stained glass bottles of all shapes and sizes
- Large copper, steel, or iron cookware hung on the kitchen wall or from a ceiling rack
- Gold framed mirrors, photographs and oil paintings
- Blue and white porcelain dishes and pottery
Warm light showering the room will complete your country decorating theme, and can be accomplished through a variety of choices, including chandeliers, wall sconces, hurricane lamps, brass lanterns, table lamps and floor lamps. The fireplace, offering warmth and a pleasing ambience to the room, will serve this theme well as a focal point during the cooler months.
Chandeliers and wall sconces are typically made of wrought-iron, wood, or copper. Lamps, on the other hand, can take on virtually any shape or motif imaginable, offering free reign to the home owner to select lighting that perfectly matches the room's decor. Contemporary pendant lights and even fixtures such as enamel industrial lighting are gaining in notoriety in today's country designs.
Country decorating often employs the use of multi-layered lighting,
as seen in this contemporary country kitchen.
And last, consider layering your lighting scheme in order to
add an extra level of depth to the room. For example, a dimly lit chandelier, combined with wall sconces, groupings of candles and a roaring fire, will set the stage for an intriguing scene over your home's country decor.
See Also ...
English Country Decor
French Country Decorating
Return to the Rustic Home
Decorating home page from here
Modern Country Decorating - Ideas for Classic and Contemporary Furniture and Accessories in Country Design
Country Kitchen Decor - A Plethora of Photos and Ideas for Decorating your Country Kitchen