In interior design, ‘country’ is a term with quite a broad meaning and it may refer to a variety of decor styles from different geographical regions and even from different time periods, ranging from English thatched cottages, French Provencal farmhouses or American colonial estates, to rural Tuscany villas and even minimalistic Scandinavian interiors.
And while there are differences in all these stylistic variations, the main feature that combines them all is the relaxed, inviting and homey ambiance of the simple family home tucked away within the cozy peace and the modest natural beauty of countryside.
Space. A country home is all about creating a warm and pleasant living space in terms of both, décor, as well as arrangement and layout. Open-plan is usually reserved for the common spaces, aimed at providing a welcoming environment for interaction, communication and sharing, while bedrooms and service premises enjoy soothing privacy and are usually located at the back or upstairs of the house.
The style draws inspiration from the simplicity of country lifestyle and the close bonds with nature. Therefore, ‘country’-style interiors feature an abundance of natural materials like stone, wood and brick, usually exposed on display in various interior and architectural elements. Exposed wooden beams, rough plastered or wainscoting walls, and floorings of natural wooden planks, stone slabs or sophisticated terracotta tiles, are among the key features of a typical country home.
Color. Because of the broad scope of stylistic variations it has, the country style displays a color palette of the same rich, though subtle, diversity. Some country interiors would feature neutral pastel tones of light, soft colors, such as beige, peach, cream and pink, to Wedgwood blue, gray and off-white. The more rustic lodge or farmhouse styling would choose for darker shades like saturated red and rusty brown, while French and Italian country homes would introduce joyful sunny hues like yellow and green, too.
Furniture. Life in the countryside is simple at heart and so is the country home furniture. Most items are made of wood, or other natural materials, often with weathered or painted surface, and feature simple practical design.
Not much in a country home is or should be too matchy-matchy. DIY handmade and repurposed items would not spoil the elegant aesthetics of expensive antique or period furniture present in the same room. And while a country home kitchen and dining area may well feature a massive wooden dining table set, open-shelf cupboards and practical butcher block countertop, its sitting or lounge room may dazzle with overstuffed upholstered furniture items, posh French bergère chairs and fauteuils, and armoires with intricate wood carving.
Décor. Considering the simplicity and modesty of the country lifestyle, ‘unostentatious’ and ‘unpretentious’ would seem to be the right terms to describe a country interior decor. Yet, even if far from the euphoric pomp of shabby chic or the lavish extravagance of traditional interiors, country bedroom home decor offers surprising elegance and fine aesthetics.
Fabric is actually the key decoration element in country styled interiors. Woven of fine linen, cotton or airy muslin, curtains, bedding and bedspreads come decorated with beautiful lace trims, cross-stitch and delicate crewelwork. Chintz, velvet and cashmere upholstered furniture items exhibit intricate floral patterns, paisleys and fine damasks, embellished with silk chenille, while cushions and throw pillows of all sizes and shapes please the eye with slip covers of soft, cozy-touch fabrics.
Apart from that, a country interior decor is the perfect “stage” to display various collectibles, hand crafted items and original art and sculpture pieces, just as much as flea market finds, trinkets from thrift shops, or repurposed and upcycled ‘treasures’.