Five tips for creating the country look for your home

Introduction to "Five tips for creating the country look for your home"

The country look is a popular and easy style to create yourself, whatever age or design of house you live in. Regardless of your budget you can still give your home a country makeover.

Country chic is big, and for good reason. Its neutral colours, use of attractive natural materials and vintage accessories make for a relaxed sense of rustic calm. You can redecorate your home yourself without too much trouble if you stick to a few broad themes and ideas:

  • Neutral and pastel colours
  • Natural materials such as wood and pottery
  • English or European oak flooring
  • Exterior window shutters
  • Antique furniture and vintage accessories

Colour schemes

Your walls and ceilings should be painted in light, neutral colours such as white or cream. Pastel shades are also good, though you may like to reserve these for cupboards and internal doors to give a room a little definition. Warm colours such as darker reddy-browns and buttery yellows also work well, but use them sparingly – perhaps on pieces of furniture or counters – or they can take over.

Natural materials

The country look makes good use of wood, terracotta and other natural materials. Metals are fine, but go for copper and brass, rather than anything very shiny like stainless steel. (On a similar theme, remove anything that is obviously 21st century – anything too regular or manufactured, and certainly anything plastic.) Bare beams and untreated timber are the order of the day.

European oak flooring

A good English or European oak floor doesn’t come cheap, but brings a wonderful sense of warmth to a room. The boards can be polished with beeswax or other hardwax oils to give a beautiful smell, feel and sheen to the floor.

Make sure you opt for English or European oak rather than imports from further afield, such asChina. They are far more likely to have been sourced sustainably, and the climate and type of trees mean they will have tighter and quirkier grain structures and interesting knots.

Exterior shutters

Shutters are quintessential to the country look. In theUKmost shutters are decorative, rather than the functional – and rather heavy – shutters you see inFranceand on the continent. They can be made from wood or plastic.

Decorative shutters are cheaper, lighter and can be painted to resemble wood anyway. You may opt for the traditional green colour (popular because at one point the arsenic content of the green paint was thought to repel insects) or another light colour such as a powder blue.

Antique furniture/accessories

To furnish your home, look for distressed and antique (or reproduction) furniture, and lots of vintage and homemade accessories such as throws, bedspreads and ornaments. You can find these in antique shops and junk yards, and online on eBay and sites like You will find that slightly battered furniture often commands a premium, but you can create the distressed look yourself by painting a cupboard or chest and sanding through to the wood (or a brighter layer of paint below) at the areas that will have seen most wear – handles, doors, edges and corners. As ever, look for untreated natural materials, bare wood and burnished metal, especially for kitchen utensils and any tools.