Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rustic Charms of Classic Country Style

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rustic Charms of Classic Country Style

Article excerpt

Byline: By Gabrielle Fagan

Country style is one of the easiest to live with, thanks to its relaxed informality, gentle colours and interesting textures.

Faded fabrics and natural materials, such as mellowed wood and stone, all create a sense of timelessness and give the impression of buildings and furnishings that have been there forever.

Luckily there are plenty of ways to achieve the look even if you haven't got access to heirlooms and antiques and your home isn't a storybook cosy cottage with roses around the door.

Caroline Atkins, author of the new book, Country Living: Short Cuts To Country Style, says: "There are certain colours, patterns, finishes and details that summon up an instant sense of the country.

"It can be something as simple as a paint colour to transform a sitting room, a chintz fabric that gives a window a totally new look, or maybe a collection of china displayed on an open shelf."

She believes nothing should be too contrived or perfect. "The key to this look is a sense of calmness and relaxation, because country style is simply about displaying things you love in rooms you love to be in. It doesn't rely on appearance and posing is strictly forbidden."

You've probably already got many of the essential ingredients, all you need is a little rearrangement, a dash of imagination and the minimal outlay on some accessories and hey presto ( a country-style home is yours.

So whether your home is an urban terrace or a rural mansion, let country style bloom.

Country sitting rooms

Colour schemes

Green and lavender: This has a hazy romantic feel, and is a restful combination which complements subtle mixes of fabrics and paint colours.

Coral and cream: Rich and indulgent but very tranquil. Cream is perfect for paintwork and carpets, while warm, flame-tinged pinks in accessories will add graceful accents.

Fabrics and papers

Look out for country motifs, such as leaves, feathers and, of course, florals and fruit. A mixture of patterns gives the room a more welcoming, less formal feel. Find a common colour that links the different designs.

Avoid the formality of matching sofas and three-piece suites, instead opt for a comfortable combination of individual chairs and maybe one squashy sofa or a chaise longue.

Instant touch

Bunches of dried or fresh flowers, some decorative enamelware, and a couple of floral cushions. Quirky collections such as antique hand mirrors grouped on a wall, or framed vintage theatre programmes add atmosphere and a sense of the past.

Country kitchens

Colour schemes

Blue and yellow: A cheerful, sunny effect to give the room an all-day vitality. Use a shade like primrose as a soft, clear background, and add blue paintwork and accessories.

Green and cream: The old-fashioned colours of the dairy and pantry, cool and restful and faintly reminiscent of the kitchen garden. …

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