One of the things I love about country-style decorating is how – just like the landscape that inspires it – it evolves and changes, season to season, year to year. The touchstones are always there: the colours of land, sea, and sky, of cottage garden blooms and delicate wildflowers. But just like a change in the weather or seeing a long-loved view from a new perspective, there’s a change and suddenly we look at our homes afresh.
NEW TRADITIONAL TEXTILES
Currently, I’m seeing people leaning into traditional prints and textiles but interpreting them in a way that feels right for now. Checks and ginghams are decorating sundresses and sunrooms. Printed on slubby linen fabrics in softly muted tones, they turn what could be a kitsch ‘apple pie’ trend into an evocative recreation of country values. And they look damn fine paired with a floral print (try double-sided curtains with the check facing outwards for homely charm).
For a more elevated take, soft ‘tailored’ wool upholstery and tactile velvets bring the modern country house hotel look to our interiors. For inspiration, a weekend away at The Newt or the recently renovated Babington House – where you might spot one or two Linwood fabrics – feels perfectly in order.
TOWN AND COUNTRY STYLING
I’ve also noticed an ease towards ease in country-style decorating that looks just as ‘right’ in a city home as it does in an out-of-town setting. Traditional designs are being reworked in colours that fit a contemporary palette, like Linwood’s Arcadia collection which is based on archival artworks from the early 20th century.
These reimagined designs, which feature intertwining florals and foliage, bring a softness to more formal urban spaces without looking out of place alongside smart kitchens, polished surfaces, and slick technology.
There’s also a confident mix of linear and rambling patterns that feels joyful and fresh – blinds with bold borders, paired with a comfy sofa in a blowsy floral print. Small-scale geometric designs partner as easily with plain weaves as they do elegant large-scale florals (look at Kitty from Linwood’s The English Garden collection, which is one of my favourites).
Pick out a key colour from your fabric to inspire accent details that bring a scheme alive. I love the touch of eccentricity and whimsy that comes by throwing in a scallop edging on a rug or bedside table, or a bobble-legged stool in a glossy lacquer finish.
The new modern country also breaks the usual birds, bees, and flowers aesthetic, by finding inspiration in the more graphic patterns found in nature – the hard ripples left in the sand after the tide has gone out, say, or the stripes of cornfields after harvest. Even the perfectly haphazard splotches of lichen on a tree stump or barnacles on a rock.
It’s a great look if cottagecore and chintz leave you cold, but you want an aesthetic that reflects a rustic setting. Again, it’s the colours that bring the country mood. Focus on the shades you can see in your garden or the landscape beyond and you won’t go wrong.
Maybe we want to pare back the pattern and instead focus on how a country-style home makes us feel – restful yet enlivened by colour; nestled in comfort, like a hamlet tucked into the curve of a hill. After so many greys, deep blues, and forest greens, I’m loving the return of happy shades of ochre, peach, coral, and blush, earthed with terracotta and clay.
FUN AND FRILLS
More than anything, the mood of the moment is finding the fun in decorating. Have you spotted the return of ruffles? Trimming cushions, or as a cute, frilled skirt on an upholstered chair, they are my current obsession – the ultimate in happy decoration.
This fresh approach to country-style interiors puts the focus on how a space makes you feel, as much as how it looks. Yes, we want our homes to be beautiful and look considered; to have a natural flow to the design and decor. But as the past couple of years have shown us, our surroundings are a place of grace and sanctuary, too. So, let’s mix up the patterns, add uplifting shades that surprise us and make us smile. Let’s invite people over and not sit up too straight. The new mood: it’s finding your ease in the place you love most. At home.
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