Bring the country home

Perhaps you’ve chosen to delay a cottage purchase or postpone your vacation plans this summer. Not to worry. You can still enjoy the pleasures and surroundings of cottage or country living. No matter where you live or what kind of home you own, all it takes is a few simple decorating ideas to help create a country cottage look that is fresh and airy with a lived-in feel. Here are some design tips to help get you started.

Furniture

Sofas should be plump, casual and comfortable to set a relaxed tone for the rest of your home. Chipped wooden arms and legs on some of your favourite furniture? Not a problem, because with a country look, “aged is in”. Even old wrought iron or wicker chairs, settees, rockers or tables can be used inside your home to help bring out that natural rural charm. Don’t forget about things like footstools and ottomans for putting your feet up.

Fabrics

Think cotton, linen, and wool, as these are natural fabrics that feel good to the touch, require less maintenance, and won’t look out of place in a cottage-like setting. Choose white and neutral-toned colours for larger fabric surfaces such as tablecloths and bedspreads. Keep the patterns and floral designs for smaller accessories: curtains, pillows, dishtowels, or napkins.

Floors and Ceilings

Hardwood, faux-finished, or even painted wood floors are a great way to achieve a natural, country look. Accent floors with durable area rugs in high traffic areas; consider a sisal or sea grass rug in lower traffic areas for that lighter, summer look. Using beadboard on the ceiling of a kitchen or sunroom is an easy way to achieve that quaint, cozy feel.

Walls

White or light coloured walls mixed with a little floral wallpaper will bring balance to any country-style room. You can tone down wallpaper that’s too bright, and give it an “antique” feel, with a diluted smoke-tone glaze. If you prefer leaving walls painted, consider hanging floral prints, old quilts, or collectible plates to complement the space.

Accessories

Display fresh or dried flowers in pitchers or enamel jugs along with an assortment of glazed pottery, copper, and painted tins known as toleware. Set out traditional lamps with a wicker, terra-cotta or vintage-looking ceramic base.

So whether you want to transform your entire home into a pastoral paradise, or just add some small, simple touches to a modern room, the key to a country cottage feel is to keep things simple and comfortable.