At its core, country style is about bringing the muted, rustic tones and natural forms of the natural landscape to the indoors. In contrast to the sharp, defined lines of a sleek and chic contemporary design, country styles blend organic forms and objects with softer colours and lines, lending a comforting, homely air to your space.
The great advantage of country styling is the flexibility that it offers. Because the emphasis is on creating a cosy, welcoming atmosphere, the mixing of eras, styles and colours is not only acceptable, but desirable!
For better or worse, when most people think country, they tend to think of clutter. Visually arresting objects like cartwheels or weathered tools are certainly a big part of developing a country styling, but it is all too easy to become fixated on these pieces – ignoring the equally important backdrop and filling your spaces with excessive visual noise.
Pattern is a fundamental aspect of interior design which goes far beyond the bold, in-your-face geometric motifs popular in more contemporary interiors.
In country styles, patterns are gentler and more restrained – repeated visual elements, such as exposed timber, can be used to integrate a space more tightly. The smooth, familiar lines of wooden furniture contrast perfectly with the rougher, irregular edges of objects like dried banksias or weathered tools.
Taking advantage of patterns in this way is the most fundamentally important aspect of creating a cohesive, and above all cosy, country style. Use patterns to differentiate spaces, and to support and emphasise your more arresting design elements.
In keeping with the rustic, cosy vibe of country style, an emphasis on rough textures, especially coarser fabrics and unfinished wood or stone, provides the visual interest necessary to push forward the more muted, restrained colours of country style interiors. Thankfully, rustic styles offer a diversity of building materials and objects to play with.
Variation is key here, though simple alternation between rougher and smoother textures – a stone floor, contrasted against the smooth finish of more modern wooden cabinetry, for example – is the most basic concept. Rather than trying to hide or repair marks of wear and use, emphasise them! Country styling is all about coziness and familiarity – signs of use remind us of the human elements that our spaces are designed for, and help to create the relaxed, unpretentious feeling that country living is all about.
One of the most exhilarating things about selecting furniture for your cosy country hideaway is the massive range of options available. Vintage, antique and modern pieces can blend together seamlessly – picture a top of the line kitchen fitout set in stone or wood, with an assortment of tasteful vintage stools, tables, chairs and other furnishings. Even the most quirky and unexpected combinations of furnishings can be made to work, especially if attention is paid to the principles of patterning and texture outlined earlier.
From your Nanna’s crockery cupboard and sideboard to a contemporary leather lounge suite, virtually anything can work – provided it’s not too ostentatious. Remember, country style is cosy, subdued and above all, unpretentious.
Making it cosy
With a well thought-out interplay of patterns and textures backing up your eclectic and cosy furniture, thought also needs to be put into making sure that your interior remains as homely as possible. Think rustic, cottage life – decorations featuring natural motifs such as plants, flowers and birds make excellent additions to the subdued colour scheme, adding a needed splash of colour to brighten rooms and add interest to bare areas. Family photographs and ornaments, especially older or vintage items, quickly add a much-needed human and emotive touch to any space.
Knitted items or quilts also make excellent additions to lounges and chairs. This is a great opportunity to check out your local Op Shop or charity store. Embrace your quirky and eclectic side!
Tying all the elements we’ve discussed together can be a tricky process, but the name of the game is comfort. Emphasise the practical nature of your spaces as they relate to their occupants – separating a ‘mudroom’ for dirty boots and rain jackets from the entrance of your home is a great way to set the tone.
The use of vintage objects such as farm equipment or other tools is a surefire way to really emphasise the ‘country’ in ‘country style’. Other cool decorations include saddlery and other odds and ends, which can add a much needed splash of visual interest to otherwise bare corners or tables. Really, there are no hard and fast rules with country style, so don’t be afraid to really experiment and let loose!
Country styling for a gorgeous, natural home
Country styles are comfortable and welcoming – they are houses designed for people, rather than around concepts. Gemmill Homes offers a wide range of homes designed with Australian rural properties in mind. Our design’s broad, sweeping spaces and emphasis on open plan living are ideally suited to large blocks, with all the amenities and features that will have your family living in country comfort, with all the modern necessities.