Keeping Country Current

With all the recent columns leaning toward the more contemporary side of the style wheel, so to speak, I thought I would focus on country styles this week.  Design will always be eclectic, to appeal to the varying tastes of the many.  Country style has many facets, i.e. European, Early American/Colonial, Cottage and Rustic— something for nearly everyone.

No matter where your country style falls, there is always a place for change, lest your design become too static and boring.  Consumers always create new ideas for display and showing off collections, and the remodel market with the need to keep the comfort levels of homes in line with lifestyles, while keeping the country style in place.

Changes can be as simple as a change of color and updating picture frames or rearranging them in a different manner or changing out the pictures for newer or older ones that have taken a back seat.

Larger pieces of furniture that need a bit of freshening up from heavy floral patterns of the 80s can be changed to solid colors with slip covers and new toss pillows in more updated floral patterns.  For instance, instead of an overall floral pattern, you can opt for a single botanical with some color impact against a more neutral solid slip cover.  This affords you to change with the seasons and allows the old country to fuse with the new.  If you cannot afford to replace sofas and chairs, or even have them slipcovered, at least you can change out the toss pillows for solid colored ones that will be less optically busy than an overall floral that matches the cushions. 

Lamp shades change styles like everything else; while keeping with the country look, you can tame a frilly country look with a more simply styled shade.  By adding a simple band of coordinating color to the top and bottom of the shade, you will add a dash of interest without overwhelming the room.

By simply reducing the amount of pattern in a room, will help visually calm a room.  Heavily carved or turned furniture works well with plain colored rugs and soft furnishings.  If you are mixing patterns, be sure to vary the size of the patterns, and unify with color, this too will help your room become more pleasing to the eye.

As with all design, you should only use your very best and favorite pieces to live with and display.  You will find that if these pieces are allowed to take more center stage in your home, you will enjoy them more rather than have them competing with lesser pieces.  The process requires careful editing and that editing, and that editing should be an ongoing.  If you have been in a home for decades, the editing process can be a difficult one, and you may need some help making decisions. Small changes can make a big difference.