Just as it feels natural to decorate a beach house with blues, whites and beige a country home should also have a colour scheme to reflect its environment. The benefit of doing this in the country is that your nearby colours might be quite different to a rural area elsewhere. Look to the plants, trees, flowers and farm buildings nearby to choose your colours. It pays to start with appropriate neutrals and build up from there to avoid over complicating the space or making it appear too bold.
Take a look inside all beautifully decorated country homes you’ve admired online and in magazines and you’ll find they all have one thing in common, textiles. While your country home might not be part of a Merino sheep property these days there’s a good chance, if in Australia, it once was. Creating context in the home with the use of Merino wool furnishings not only helps the home to fit seamlessly within its environment it will look and feel luxurious too. Choosing wool rugs, blankets and curtains will keep your home warm and comfortable but is also a subtle nod to the farmers. You could even go as far as sourcing a wool artwork or some vintage sheep shearing paraphernalia such as hand shears, to give the home an authentic country feel.
Create the look of a barn or country retreat using classic timber furniture such as bentwood chairs and refectory style dining tables. Soft furnishings should be plush with rounded edges. Shiny surfaces and sharp edges have no place in a country residence.
Many small towns in rural areas boast second hand and antique stores often brimming with discarded delights from a bygone era. The benefit of buying locally is it’s not only good for the environment but well-chosen pieces will sit harmoniously in your home simply because they belong there. If you’re renovating a long-standing country home, do some research on the people who lived there and you might even find some original items that were once in the home.
It’s hard to imagine it but there was a time before synthetic fabrics and products, where people were reliant on naturally produced products to furnish and function their home. In many ways choosing naturally produced products such as down feathers in your cushions and wool blankets for your bed not only looks and feels great in a country setting but just makes sense.
Few things are as great a reminder to preserve our natural environment than spending time out of the city. When visiting your country home remember the importance of preserving the environment it exists within by choosing materials that are good for the environment. Choosing wool, which is a completely natural and biodegradable fibre, for things like furniture covers, curtains and insulation is an environmentally-friendly way to decorate.
Photography: Courtesy of Ralph Lauren Home | Illustration: Barry Allen Patenaude
Hand-crafted from the fruits of nature, you’ll have to feel it to believe it