Arts and Literature

    Country Home Furnishings

    There are a great number of country home furnishings available. This is a very popular style and appears in several variations. Country style is generally warm and informal. Furnishings are simple, functional and elegant. A certain amount of the shabby-chic sensibility is usually woven into a country-themed home and treasured keepsakes are given a starring role.

    Styles of Country Home Furnishings

    Let's examine some of the many styles of country home furnishings. There are three basic categories of country style--American, Southern European, and Cottage. These three categories have some variations as well, as we will see.

    American country home furnishings are usually conceived in a farmhouse style. This style includes a lot of white walls and furniture combined with gingham and chintz. Heirlooms unique to the period of the late 18th century to about 1940, such as pressed glass and quilts are a part of this style. Ribbons, quilts, handcrafts and antiques are creatively combined--you may, for example, see a beautiful old quilt used as a wall tapestry or recycled as decorative pillows.

    Southern European country home furnishings generally includes both Italian Country (Tuscan) and French Provencal styles. Both styles are similar, but not quite identical. Warm color combinations are a hallmark of this style. Gold, terra cotta, blue and black are used frequently. Festively glazed pottery unique to each region is used. Olives, roosters, herbs and vegetables are used in decorative items. You will often find antiques from these regions, such as iron cookware or farm implements used to give a continental ambience.

    Cottage style home furnishings generally refer to a classic English or French style that includes a lot of florals and soft but bright color combinations. Shabby chic furniture is used a lot here, to let the eye rest from busy patterns. Full-blown roses and other garden flowers appear on furniture, tea sets and other decorative items. In the French cottage, toile is often used. Toile is similar to the classic 'blue willow' china pattern that was originally popularized in the late 18th century, but is currently experiencing a revival. Both styles are quite busy, visually, but can be very homey and comfortable if combined with white and solids in furniture and accents. Done well, the look is fabulous, but restraint is required. The pattern-crazy can easily give themselves and their guests a headache.