Country décor

2015-08-06 06:00


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THE English country style of décor gives you a fresh, informal look which is ideally suited to today’s relaxed lifestyles. And its cosy, warm and welcoming effect is equally at home in town or country.

The great beauty of the English country style is that it is undisciplined and can be allowed to evolve on its own rather than conforming to a rigorous plan. Fortunately, it is not an expensive style to achieve: it and be built up piece by piece over a long period, relying on a sure decorative eye rather than a big bank balance.

However, it is not a style for the purist since pieces and patterns from different eras can be quite happily mixed together. Some people find the English country style cluttered, and since they can be quite busy, these lines require extra attention to keep them looking good. The country style works best in relatively small rooms that are free from any architectural details like ceiling roses or cornices.

Colour and texture

The colour schemes used in this style are unsophisticated. Living room walls should be painted white or pale cream, using matt emulsion. Rough plaster effects work well and one or more walls could even be stripped back to their natural bricks and painted with a special sealant to keep the raw bricks looking their best. Natural stone also works very well in such a natural setting, as does textured wallcoverings, such as coarse-textured woodchip paint, hessian, tweeds and natural grasses for example.

Against a pain background a variety of clear pastel colours can be added in tones ranging from pale to medium. The colours are generally found in a typical English country garden are an excellent guide to choosing your colour palette.

This style relies on natural materials, rather than man-made ones. Wood, slate, natural stone, rush, cane and cotton are all suitable. Avoid modern materials such as smoked glass and chrome for example, and also those which have seemingly grand associations with marble or silk. The country style, though not exactly humble, is not opulent or luxurious, but rather comfortable in its simplicity.

Suitable fabrics for country style rooms include rough plain weaves such as hessian or wool tweeds. Traditional checked ginghams can provide a theme which could be complimented by gingham wallpaper and various matching accessories around the rooms such as lampshades and napkins. If you decide to use lightweight floral fabrics, such as printed cottons or linens, be sure to stick to informal designs on white or very pale backgrounds. Patchwork and quilts are perfect for this style and can be made in a variety of matching designs.

Country furniture

Country-style furniture is simple and unaffected. Traditional country pieces such as Windsor and rocking chairs, tall rush-seated chairs, dressers and chests and old fashioned bedsteads in metal or wood always set the right mood. Country-style furniture is robust and functional – dressers should hold everyday china rather than elaborate sets of matched plates, and chairs should be placed where they can be used and enjoyed.

Furnishings should be made from solid woods such as Pine, Beech, Elm, Birch or Oak, and although the style can accommodate darker woods, the lighter woods tend to assist in making the composition feel lighter, airier and more spacious. Ample quantities of soft and comfortable upholstery should be provided for lounging around. Floral loose covers are appropriate, as are lots of cushions to give the room a welcoming look.

An informal furniture arrangement works best in a country-style room. Heights and styles do not need to match exactly. For example, a comfy old sofa could be combined with a wing-back chair and perhaps a rocking chair; chests and dressers may be of different styles and woods. The country look really thrives on a lack of informality.

Floors too should be simple and unaffected – natural stone, brick or quarry tiles are all very much in keeping with this look, and they can be softened or warmed by including various mats or rugs. Wooden floors are also ideal, or if you prefer soft flooring, choose cord carpeting or a short twist pile in wool or a man-made one that resembles wool.

Country style windows should be pretty, finished with simple floor-to-ceiling drops curtains in an attractive printed fabric. Use traditional methods to hang your curtains – brass or wooden rods and rings are far better than modern pelmet-type tracks. Wooden blinds or fabric blinds in chintzy floral fabrics also work well.

Lighting and accessories

Concealed lighting can provide the country-style room with a soft, unobtrusive glow; but if light fittings are on display, they should be traditional rather than modern. Avoid spotlights and angular table lamp and go for copies or old styles such as those hanging or table lamps that are modelled on old brass oil lamps.

Rooms decorated in the English country style are meant to be used and enjoyed, and the best objects to have on display are functional ones. Spinning wheels, tapestry frames or butter churns are ideal and in the kitchen, all kinds of utensils and implements can be on display. Whenever possible, choose accessories which have a meaning for you and your family, such as framed portraits, handmade wallhangings, shells collected on holiday, or china mementoes for example. Pictures should be small, framed in various kinds of frames and grouped together for an attractive display.

A fireplace is an important part of a country room, so whenever possible, include an open fire or a wood-burning stove. Make as much as you can of the fire surround, adding homely accessories such as a log basket, a brass coal bucket and a set of fire tongs, shovel and poker. The room should be arranged so that the fire is the focal point. - Property24

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