In an uncertain world, we all look for the comforts of home, and reminders of the past, when life seemed simpler. While we may indulge in the richness and sophistication of an elegant crème brulee, it doesn't compare to the reassuring comfort factor of a homemade apple pie. The same could be said of country style.
Country style can range from French provincial and English garden to American Cottage. Each variety has their own essential elements, but common to all is a feeling of relaxed comfort that soothes the soul in a weary world. The newest trends in country style are decidedly up-to-date with touches of modernity intermingling with an updated vintage design. The result is a new look for country that is decidedly current, while it treasures the best of the past.
Clean and Uncluttered, Not Cutesy
Country style often takes more traditional, elaborate designs and pares them down to their essential, unfussy elements. For example, a great up-to-date option for country style dining chairs, choose chairs that feature a key-hole design or a ladder back with undulating horizontal braces. These designs are clean and classic, not at all sparse or austere. They also do not cross the line to over-the-top cutesiness. The extremely feminine varieties of country in the past have given way to a more balanced, streamlined approach. To balance the two extremes in your home, you might try, for example, pairing a feminine sofa with dainty rolled arms with a straight-lined cocktail table. The reverse of this combination, a clean-lined, more contemporary-style sofa with feminine table featuring curved lines, scallops, or other ornamentation, can be equally effective. The contrast between feminine and masculine in the same room creates a balance.
For the newest take on country in your window treatments, stick to simple sheers, textured blinds or Roman shades instead of ruffled cabbage rose curtains.
Details Make the Difference
Many of the hallmarks for country style are found in details such as bead board panels and whimsically scalloped aprons. Excessively ornate or heavy carvings are not present, but smaller scale embellishments, like simple rose carvings or turned finials, do appear. These simple elements add interest, but they remain under-stated and don't overpower the usefulness of the furniture they enhance.
Eclectic by Nature
The lived-in look of country style lends itself well to an eclectic approach to interior design. Valuing heritage is a cornerstone of country style and meaningful heirlooms, as well as quirky hand-me-downs, are easily combined with more modern furnishings. For example an old steamer trunk would make an unexpected occasional table, beside a comfy chair in a modern print. Each piece is interesting on its own, but together they create an irresistibly charming scene.
You can also try to bring the feeling of outdoors in by incorporating wicker and galvanized metal surfaces. These elements, more typically seen in the garden, add a touch of whimsy to country décor. Current country style trends also incorporate rough-hewn natural elements, like a slice of tree trunk, stripped of its bark and lightly sanded, for an end table, or a wooden bowl carved to follow the reaching branches of a tree.
Another hallmark of updated country style has been the casual mix of fabrics, with solids, checks, plaids, stripes and florals all coordinating for a cohesive look. Try adding a bold graphic print or a botanical silhouette to your decor. Textured fabrics are making more of an appearance in country style as well. These can be homespun in feeling, or more polished with thick embroidery and crewel work.
Colors of Country
For years the colors of country style have relied on an understated palette of dusty rose, burgundy, sage green and tea-stained linen. A more modern approach throws vibrant punches of color inspired by nature into the mix. Bright spring greens, delectable oranges and sunny yellows are bringing new life to country style with combinations that conjure images of roadside farm stands, filled with freshly-picked produce. Lively colors are not just for the walls; they are also making an appearance on the painted finishes of accents and occasional pieces too.
Country style can make you feel at home where ever you are. Today's approach to updates this tried and true favorite with new, cleaner color palettes, sleeker lines and touches of natural elements to create an easy and eminently livable style.