How to get a relaxed country look at your place
What makes a country vibe so appealing is its nostalgic appeal - it reminds us of the old days and our rural roots, when life was simpler and more practical. Slip covers, painted furniture and time-worn treasures are the quintessential elements of classic country style.
Here are some tips on creating this enduring and easy-to-live with look at home.
Cottage style embraces soft colours, sweet and feminine florals, vintage character and an eclectic mix of home accessories. Happily combining old with new, rare with inexpensive and simple with ornate, this is a casual, comfortable style that's easy to love.
Architecturally, cottage style is no-frills. Wooden planking and joinery are favoured and white and green are colours of choice.
From the outside in
A welcoming entrance is important, beginning with the garden – usually fragrant and including pots – and continuing to the seating and pretty details, such as hanging lanterns, tiny topiary or a vase of flowers perched on a sill.
Outdoor living areas that provide a place to enjoy the scents and sounds of the garden are an important extension of cottage-style homes.
Whether it's a screened-in porch or sheltered corner, the design of these spaces is likely to include white wooden furniture, simple chairs with cushions for comfort, fabrics in petite stripes and pastels, wire and wicker ware, terracotta and topiary.
The heart of the home
A cottage kitchen has a look that is friendly rather than flawless. Time-worn furniture and fittings with chipped paint mix easily with new pieces, unified by colour.
The distressed look can easily be achieved with some careful use of sandpaper or Vaseline smeared carefully on selected surfaces. When you paint over the Vaseline the areas over the Vaseline will come off, leaving an aged distressed finish. Alternatively, for a cracked aged look, you can use a paint like Resene Crackle over a dark basecoat, then apply your favourite colour on top. This will give a weathered and worn look.
Dressers, open shelving and plate racks are hallmark features. An inexpensive way to get this look is to remove some doors from an existing cabinet. Changing drawer hardware, for instance to cup-style pulls, is another way to achieve the right feel.
Furnishings and fittings
Wooden planking, fresh floral motifs, floaty fabrics, natural linens, gingham, vintage treasures, handmade blankets and cosy quilts will all give cottage bedrooms an authentic feel.
One of the best things about this style is that it's thrifty, so it's perfect for those who enjoy creative DIY projects. Flea markets, garage sales and antiques stores are good places to hunt for things that will bring interest and a little quirkiness to rooms like these.
- NZ House & Garden