Our country home

Design workshop: country style

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There are many things to love about living in the Upper Delaware River Valley: fresh air, mountains, farmland, lakes, majestic rivers, big skies and plenty of natural light all year ’round.  It’s “country living” and it’s a lifestyle—a style suited to an active, informal way of life. Many country dwellers take a more down-to-earth approach to their homes, a look that develops over time. Country is not necessarily a style that requires a large budget; many of the components—baskets, hand-crafted wood furniture, quilts, and collectibles—are available at local furniture stores, craft shows, art galleries and antique shops.

Country-style interior design is simple at heart, comfortable, and pleasing to the eye. Therefore, it is important to keep all these elements in mind when designing a country interior. For example, there is no point in choosing a sofa because it looks good in the room if it’s uncomfortable to sit upon. Although the country look is based on the past, there is no reason why you can’t mix comfortable contemporary furnishings into the mix.

Mix and match

Regardless of the size of your home, the ambiance of a country room can be easily created with the right furnishings, motifs and collectibles. If you have a contemporary sofa or chair, consider adding a woven throw, or a quilt with early American patterns in natural colors.

Collectible items, such as pottery pieces, mirrors, figurines (such as dogs, cats, or horses) and American folk art add a sense of personal style to a country home. Textures such as wood floors, brick walls or stone fireplaces can create an earthy ambiance while still being useful.

When shopping for furnishings and accessories, look for work by local artists rather than purchasing items online or from big-box stores. One of the many benefits of living in the country is the abundance of natural materials, arts and crafts, antiques and handmade rustic furniture.

Add your own pieces

An essential element of any decorating project is to consider the furnishings you already have and plan how to incorporate furnishings you hope to acquire. This may include mixing and matching items. For example:

A rustic farm table paired with modern chairs or mismatched wooden chairs can look perfect in a farmhouse kitchen;

Display a hand-sewn quilt on the wall over your contemporary sofa. This will add a punch of color as well as create a country vibe;

If you have a modern kitchen, add antique or reproduction pie safes or jelly cabinets to store dishes, linens, china and silverware; this will soften the edges and create a sense of past and present.

Don’t forget: Country style is about being in harmony with nature. Bring the outdoors in with bowls of fruit, pots of green plants and lots of fresh flowers.

Barbara Winfield is an artist and writer specializing in art and interior design. Her experience includes full-time editorial positions at several national home furnishings magazines. She is the recipient of the Dallas Market Center Editorial Award, as well as the author of two home design books, “The Complete Book of Home Details” and “Dream Log Homes and Plans.” She has taught at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

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