Yee-haw, you're a country fan!
Country decor is for those who love light-filled spaces, cozy furniture, DIY and old-fashioned home accessories like milk bottles and tin canisters. Even if you've never been near a farm in your life, there's nothing stopping you from incorporating this down-home style in your own decor.
What Is Country Decor?
Also known as "farmhouse" or "cottage," country decor was the norm for American farmers and pioneers in the 1800s. Furniture during this time was created with functionality as a top priority; style was a secondary consideration. But it was exactly this down-to-earth quality that gave country decor a large part of its charm. Featuring simple decorative touches, pieces were coated with paints made from milk, oils, limestone and pigments to help the furniture last. Inspiration for many of the earliest country furniture pieces is owed to the different European homelands American pioneers came from – English, French and German settlers recreated the styles they were used to with the skill and materials they had available.
Today, country decor's popularity stems from home design shows like Fixer Upper, social media websites like Pinterest, and countless DIY websites, blogs and vlogs to show people how to bring the countryside into their homes. You can also find magazines dedicated to this style of home decor.
What Does Country Style Look Like?
Worn antiques, whitewashed wood and homespun fabrics are telltale signs of country decor. We're not talking about formal-looking antiques and fabrics – you should be looking for pieces that are more at home in a country general store or at work on the farm. Fabrics such as gingham prints or rough burlap will add a homier feel to your space. The concept you're chasing with country decor should be a well-lived-in family home with at least 100 years of history.
Unlike the pioneers of olden times, today's country-style homes also feature casual furniture that still serves a functional purpose. Well-cushioned chairs with linen-look fabric or extra-plush throw pillows only add to your country ambience.
Is Country the Same as Rustic?
Not at all. While both styles involve simple design and touches of nature, country is the fancier version of rustic decor. Where rustic style is about darker tones and unfinished woods, country decor focuses more on lighter colours and aged household furnishings. While you will find some unfinished woods in country homes, it's not the primary focus.
Key Traits of Country Decor
Soft, Soothing Hues
A huge part of country decor is related to the colours you use. Whether it's on the walls or on your furniture, use subdued shades of primary colours (plus white) to decorate your space. If you need a darker shade, try to refrain from using black since it could overwhelm the space. Instead, go with dark greys or even browns to add balance. As well, use matte or muted finishes whenever possible – glossy or high-gloss finishes look too new to be old-fashioned.
Favourite Example: This Grace china cabinet features an off-white matte finish with hints of distressing along the edges. With this finish, the cabinet adds a soft touch in any room you place it.
Don't Match, But Complement
Not all things in life are perfect – and it should be the same thing in your country home. Heirlooms and antiques don't always match each other, so you should look for pieces that can complement each other in style, shade or some other common thread. The key here is to make your space look unique, yet coordinated.
To create an established and familiar feeling in your home, pick up some furnishings that look like they've been around for ages. Look for pieces with natural divots, dips and distressed markings to show it was crafted by Mother Nature and time.
Favourite Example: This Bray accent cabinet is a fantastic example of what heirloom-style furniture should look like. The faded, blue-green finish appears worn in places, while natural wood shows through the surface to highlight where this piece originated.
Some things just don't look right in perfect condition: catcher's mitts, work benches, denim jackets.
Furniture pieces with a scuffed, worn look are ideal for your country-inspired home. After all, it's very rare to find 100-year-old items without visible signs of a life well-lived. Pieces with chips, wear marks or scuffs are a good sign you're looking in all the right places.
Favourite Examples: Hang this piece of worn wooden art anywhere in your home to create a country vibe thanks to the timeworn finish on the wood planks.
Cozy Without Going Overboard
While country homes are often cozy, there is such a thing as going overboard. Abundant accent cushions, blankets draped over every inch of furniture, or upholstery packed with so much foam you could bounce on it are all signs you've gone too far. A knit throw over your couch, a couple accent pillows covered in chenille – this is more the balanced approach you need to take with adding comfort to your decor.
Favourite Example: While this deep red knit throw is a great way to add both colour and comfort to your space, there are several other shades available to suit your tastes. Should your living room get a tad chilly, just pull out this blanket for a chic and cozy way to warm up.
Fabrics With A Homemade Feel
In the pioneer days of North America, European settlers used the fabrics they could weave or get from a local merchant. This meant there weren't a lot of options to choose from – cotton, linen, wool or some combination thereof were all they had to make their homes look welcoming. Nowadays there are more options available, such as durable man-made materials with a homespun charm.
Favourite Example: This Oakdale sofa is covered in fabric woven to look like linen. While this material is durable enough for modern day messes, the upholstery looks like it was made in a bygone era.