Country décor is a style that’s not just one thing. Picture it like a town. If you drive down the main thoroughfare of Country Décor, USA and you’d see side streets with names like “Farmhouse,” “Rustic” and “Shabby Chic.”
They’re all part of the country décor family, but have attributes that make them stand on their own.
Let’s explore what each of those styles-within-a-style are all about.
Also known as “vintage country,” this style is built around a clean, open look, natural surfaces and colorful accents.
“Light and bright” is the term Houzz’s Summer Baltzer used in her guide to farmhouse décor.
Here are some of the decorating suggestions she offered:
- Have a kitchen design that can be “tried and tested,” with apron front sinks, durable wooden countertops and solid cabinets designed to withstand a lot of use. If a big remodel is beyond your budget, Baltzer suggests adding a few chunky cutting boards and ceramic utensil holders and dishware.
- A farmhouse bedroom should look “collected,” with a mix of weathered, heirloom pieces, complemented by whitewashed walls and lighter-colored linens.
- Claw-foot tubs are a basic part of farmhouse bathroom design, but – as we said above – you may not have the budget. But you can still give your bathroom a farmhouse look by accessorizing. Put hooks on the walls to hang your towels, replace your bath mat with a woven rug, and add a wooden chair to use as a place to get dressed.
If farmhouse is defined by “light and bright,” then rustic décor is its opposite, built around natural symbols like birds, berries and stars.
Some other elements of rustic décor include:
- Natural materials such as wood and stone. If you’re starting from scratch, try to incorporate these two into your design. Seek out wood with some “character” – knots and imperfect edges. You can also work in elements of nature when embracing a rustic design, making decorations from twigs, branches and leaves.
- When it comes to rustic furniture, go big. Look for pieces with “some visual weight” as the Diamond Candles blog puts it. “Look for bold furnishings that make a statement and won’t get lost in a room.
- The patterns you pick should be simple, yet bold. Again, from Diamond Candles: “Forget about your delicate florals and prissy polka dots. Plaid is a tried-and true choice, as well as broad stripes and maybe even a little chevron.”
- Rustic colors are should be rich and dark. If you can find a color in nature, it will work in a rustic home: Brown, which adds depth while making your rooms feel inviting and cozy, but forest green, maroon and navy can work as well.
“Shabby chic” is just what it sounds like: a style that finds grace and sophistication in pieces that are worn and imperfect.
As style writer Lisa Frederick put it, shabby chic “dismisses pedigree in favor of character and celebrates the beauty of everyday objects. It's important to note that shabby doesn't mean grubby; instead, the look suggests storied, careworn elegance.”
Here are a few tips she offers to bring a shabby chic look to your home:
- As with farmhouse, shabby chic colors should be airy and light. White and cream are essential, helped along by very subtle blues, greens, pinks and lilacs.
- Flea markets can become your new Home Depot when you’re into shabby chic. It’s a style that embraces everything from vintage signs to antique appliances. But as Frederick says, use these items sparingly “or you risk your interiors taking on the feel of a junk store.”
- By the same token, shabby chic celebrates mismatched pieces, but there needs to be a method to your madness. “Establish parallels between line, form, scale and finish to tie together disparate pieces or the room may feel like a hodgepodge,” Frederick writes.
We should also point out that none of these style are absolute. Don’t be afraid to mix and match styles to create a look that’s unique and personal.