Defining any interior style is a difficult thing to do because invariably, the style doesn’t take account of an individual’s taste and existing furnishings. Very few of us have the budget to start an interior project from scratch and so we ﬁnd ourselves wondering how we can achieve the look we want whilst working with what we already have as a starting point.
When my husband and I bought our Scottish steading 6 years ago, we already had a range of furniture pieces collected over the years from our time living in various military houses. Trying to pull it altogether to create a cohesive and considered aesthetic was not going to be easy but I followed the few basic principles and slowly, the modern country look I had envisaged began to emerge.
Modern Country Style – so, what is it?
Modern country is, for the most part, the opposite of traditional country. I can remember some of the covers of old Laura Ashley Home catalogues with their ditsy chintz covered armchairs with frilled skirts, stylistically positioned in front of an ornate ﬁreplace adorned with intricately painted ﬁne china. The window dressing would have multiple parts, from swags and tails to pelmets and holdbacks. Somewhere there would undoubtedly be a straw hat artistically discarded as though the owner of the room had just passed through it with little notice. This is traditional country at its ﬁnest and whilst the modern version echoes it, it uses the elements in a diﬀerent, more conscientious way.
Pattern – go bold
You may think that there is no room for pattern and ﬂorals in a modern country look but that’s not the case at all. Pattern plays as much of a role in this aesthetic as it does in the traditional one but we may decide to use it more creatively and boldly. Often in a modern country approach the scale of the pattern is upsized. Instead of tiny sprigs of ﬂowers dancing gaily over the fabric, you have larger, almost emblematic designs on feature walls, canvases or furnishings. Geometrical patterns too take centre stage, with statement checks and stripes.
Extra Small Sideboard
When it comes to choosing furniture for a modern country design most of us will have to balance old and new pieces. Whilst this might ﬁll you with trepidation, it’s actually not as complicated as it might ﬁrst appear. Modern country furniture is simplistic and sleek in design. It harks back to its old crafting origins where function and form took priority over decoration. This furniture is designed with simple, honest lines which look striking when set against the family heirloom. In fact, mismatched furniture is a key element of this aesthetic. Rooms should appear as if they’ve been thrown together as each generation has added to it.
Introduce a little texture
All interior design styles consider the role of texture. Texture is a fundamental element in any decorating scheme as it helps to create a more absorbing and welcoming feel. When it comes to texture in creating a modern country feel, think natural and industrial. Stone ﬂoors, reclaimed ceramics, natural ﬁbres and wood. When mixed together they create a depth and give the impression of thoughtfulness and mindfulness. Introducing baskets can be a great and inexpensive place to start but remember they must serve a purpose because in the traditional farmhouse from where this aesthetic derives, everything had to serve a purpose and earn its keep.
You have probably gathered by now that this style is about bringing pieces together. It’s an organic approach to decorating. The goal is to achieve a look that appears to have been created over time. It’s unpretentious and contemplative.
Find a balance
Reusing and repurposing items is on the increase and also has a part to play in achieving this look. Not only is it good for the environment but it can help to bring personality into your home; that unique piece that can’t be bought anywhere; or at least that is what you want your friends to believe. In essence you are trying to balance imperfection and informality without your home looking tatty. Everything in the modern country home should have a purpose. Always keep in mind the origins of this aesthetic; the farmhouse where everything had a purpose and was built or made to last.