Give your interior a laid-back makeover, with rustic touches and cosy textures, even if you don’t own a rural retreat
You don't have to live among rolling hills to enjoy rustic decor, here are the seven best ways to spruce your house with a country theme in mind
1. Go au naturale
The key to recreating an authentic country cottage look begins with selecting the right materials. Wooden furniture is typical of this style, whether painted or left natural, and will give any room a warm and rustic appeal. Look for pieces that have a slightly distressed finish to help add character to your styling, but always be wary of purchasing wooden furniture second-hand, unless you thoroughly check for signs of rot and woodworm.
Highgate rustic solid oak and painted display cabinet, £549.99, Oak Furnitureland
Stone textures also complement a country-inspired interior, particularly when it comes to flooring and tiles. Although stone floors were previously considered cold and unwelcoming underfoot, you can now recreate the look with tiles that have improved insulation properties and that work with underfloor heating.
2. Bounce off the wall
Inspired by original country cottages full of higgledy-piggledy charm, this style embraces wall textures to add that all-important character. Exposed brick or stonework will instantly create a focal point, whether it’s the real deal or simply added to the interior in the form of brick or stone slips to recreate the look.
Cameron sofa in light grey, £499.99; Cameron cuddle chair in light grey, £349.99; Farmhouse desk, £100; cotton knitted pod footstool, £44.99; rug in natural/grey, £55; glass table lamp, £35; Highland lodge brushed check cushion, £12, all Argos
Panelling is another way to create interest on plain walls and is perfect if you’re after a more refined finish. Classic tongue and groove panelling is characteristic of this country style, whether running at half or full height around the room. Alternatively, single batons fixed around the room from floor to ceiling offers a more modern take on traditional panelling.
3. Mix & Match
Mid-century upholstered bed, £279; Fulton bedside table, £79; Lennox quilt cover set, £18; Darlby Marl knit throw in denim, £30; relax cushion, £8, all Dunelm
Rather than choosing perfectly coordinating pieces of furniture, create a more informal look by combining different designs. A mismatched collection of two or three different styles of dining chairs, for example, will add character to your dining space, or hang a series of mixed picture frames to give a casual and effortless edge to your styling. Just remember to stay consistent with the materials you choose to ensure there is some similarity between the pieces and the scheme appears curated, rather than random.
4. Layer up
Achieving a country cottage feel is all about cosiness and creating a warm and welcoming interior for you and your family. Building up texture is a fool-proof way of ensuring any room doesn’t feel stark or cold.
Dress the beds with layers of snuggly throws, quilts and scatter cushions, and style your sofa in a similar way to bring your living room to life. Add rugs or sheepskins to hard flooring to give a soft touch underfoot and don’t neglect window dressings— sumptuous curtains or a beautiful Roman blind will finish off any space and help keep in the warmth during winter, too.
5. Focus on the flames
Carron 7.3kw stove, from £643, Ludlow Stoves
An open fire or wood-burning stove is characteristic of a traditional country home and will really help to set the scene in a living room, or open-plan space. If you don’t have an existing fire or stove, consider having a log or multi-fuel stove installed—they come in both traditional and more contemporary designs, depending on your style of property.
If you have an existing fireplace but without a working fire, you can still transform this part of the room into a focal point—stack chopped logs for a rustic centrepiece, or position lanterns with pillar candles so you can create a cosy glow in the evenings.
6. Pump up the patterns
Petworth trailing floral cushion, £25; Petworth trailing floral oblong cushion, £25; Makani cotton throw in mustard, £100; Petworth trailing floral porcelain vase large, £10; small, £8, all National Trust Shop
When it comes to styling your cottage-inspired interior, embrace traditional prints and patterns to build up a classic look. Dainty florals go hand-in-hand with this country style, and these feminine prints will help soften spaces filled with wooden furniture and hard flooring.
Tartans and checked patterns are another popular design to complement this style of decorating, particularly in red, green and neutral colour palettes. Avoid going overboard with bold tartans and, instead, dot them around the room in small doses for a nod to this traditional design.
7. Flea-market finds
Darcy bed, £995, Loaf
Have fun filling your home with mismatched pieces to tie in with your new country-style décor. Check out local car boot sales, antiques markets and vintage emporiums to collect furniture, accessories, artwork and lighting that will slot into your newly decorated space.
Avoid over-shopping the high street when it comes to this particular style, as you run the risk of the look becoming staged and unauthentic.
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