Many people work from a home office now, so spend much more time in the home than in the past. Advances in technology have created a desire for media rooms, a room that did not previously exist. Bathrooms are larger and emphasize a spa experience. Overall, there is a strong shift away from formality and grandeur over to personal expression and casual style, abundance, and comfort. Comfortable seating, harmonious colour schemes, texture, unexpected objects, and beautiful and effective lighting all work together to create a successful combination of comfort and beauty. There are no hard and fast rules to follow in order to achieve this. Working with an experienced interior designer can give you the confidence to push the limits a little.
Whether your home is a small apartment or a ten room house an overall master style plan with colour, fabrics and furnishings needs to be established so that the style flows through the home. With your Mulberry Interiors interior designer assisting in the process each stage of the design is completed in an orderly manner.
A pleasing mix of textural elements is one of the keys to the urban country style. It is accomplished by layering well-made basic furniture pieces for comfort with rich wall colours, leather, wood, and soft lamp light to cast a warm glow. Fireplaces have changed dramatically and remain one of the most desired focal points in the home.
Fabrics and furnishings that are useful and pleasing with this style are cotton velvet, damask, chenille, as well as ruched, tufted, or quilted fabrics. Raw silk is not out of place or too formal for this look. Denim is being used in casual furnishings as well nowadays. This look also can be adapted to show a touch of the abstract.
Simple furnishings combined with a subdued, but rich, colour scheme create a pleasing and comfortable room scheme. A distressed trestle table in a dining area with a sheer gray linen drum shade on the chandelier, the crystals twinkling above the table successfully blend elements of rough texture, slubbed fabric and sparkle. Slubbed linen in an earthy shade on the dining chairs lends contrast to the rustic wood table (photos courtesy of Better Homes). This look can also be surprisingly dramatic, depending on the elements used in the room design.
It is not intended to be a soft, feminine style of decor.
The farmhouse sink is expected in a country kitchen, but it can be paired with modern stainless-steel appliances and honed black granite countertops for modern appeal. This way of mixing modern design elements with urban country elements as well as retro industrial items achieves an eclectic finish which can be very pleasant to live with. Painted white kitchen cabinets or cabinets fashioned from reclaimed wood are part of a soothing white palette found flowing through the home. Sunlight streams through many large windows.
Often, the kitchen is the hub of the home. If the room is large, it is practical to have an eat-in kitchen. If it is not, it is much more practical to decorate the dining room in a user friendly way and eat there. The kitchen is meant to have large, clear work surfaces so food can be prepared is a happy atmosphere, with plenty of storage for the tools required for the job. It is exhausting to have to trail up and down the basement stairs to get items that don’t fit into the kitchen storage, but which are used relatively often. This is what happens when, in the interest of keeping a casual home, we insist on eating in the over-burdened kitchen, while there is a perfectly good dining room adjacent.
With space freed up and useable collectibles such as vintage linens, antique kitchen tools, and collections find display room. Artwork in the urban country home is often of a transitional nature. While it often has a rustic element, gone are the geese and pink and blue bows of a bygone day. Rooms adjoining the kitchen are multi-purpose and the accessories and objects displayed are at home in many of the rooms of the house. This look is not necessarily about accessories but is an all over ambiance and final effect. It is not a studied and precise look and it is very easy to live with.
Today’s dining rooms are no longer the stiff, formal rooms some of us grew up with. Seldom used and full of items that were expensive but often impractical, these rooms became less and less part of our lives. Many homes are now built without dining rooms. This is a shame because the kitchen is often over crammed and eating in the kitchen stretches an already overburdened space. The advent of the breakfast bar alongside the unused dining table and chairs is a trend we are now moving away from. It is inefficient to have rooms in a home that are not used.
A dining table with an easy care finish can be used on a daily basis, rather than just special occasions. The décor of the dining room can be more along the lines of a comfy pair of jeans. Often dining rooms are too small to accommodate our many friends and relations. Many an unused formal living room has been converted into the dining room. The living room is often larger than what was originally designated as the dining room. Finally, this significant percentage of our very expensive real estate gets some practical use. Very often these rooms now have a fireplace. Utilitarian items salvaged from industrial use become part of the decor.
A fireplace is a luxurious detail in a dining room, and a feature which well suits the urban country style. The fireplace mantel, itself, is a vehicle for urban country design elements such as stone facing with rough texture, weathered reclaimed brick, weathered wood mantel piece, hand forged iron pieces, and elements found in nature. The fireplace adds instant warmth to a room and the mantle is a great place to display treasures. Personal collections of decorative dishware can line the shelves of built-in glass-doored cabinets alongside the fireplace. Some of us have a lot of things to store. The best solution is often to store them on display, and this idea especially suits a dining space.
A wall of floor to ceiling shelves filled with tableware, stemware and flatware make a nice dramatic decorative display, as long as clutter does not overwhelm. This formerly unused room may well become one of the most popular rooms in the rooms. The design process to successfully achieve this look is much more complicated than some realize. Marguerite Roberts of Mulberry Interiors particularly enjoys this look.
A library with shelves full of books, baskets, and other treasures adds a homey touch of comfort and age. Mismatched chairs all upholstered in natural linen or leather with exposed wood a painted white finish ground the scheme. An iron lamp on a side table is an excellent accessory that suits the look.
Bedrooms are often romantically decorated in this style. A white of subdued palette lends a serene mood. White linens and furnishings look restful and clean, slightly French. Window coverings in toiles or slubbed fabrics make simple, flowing draperies. Relaxed family rooms suit subdued and worn looking decor materials, as well.
Oak-varnished pickled floors and creamy white walls create a neutral backdrop for treasured antiques. A large mirror on the wall is a pleasing way to reflect the light from the window, making the space bright and airy. The master ensuite is a common element in many homes today. Bathrooms, in general are larger, and more luxuriously appointed. This applies also in the urban country style.
One of the most engaging and democratic art forms is the display of objects that have personal meaning (some photos courtesy of Better Homes). Guest often find these displays pleasing and fascinating. These pieces tell the story of your interests, travels and heritage. These displays are among the most important aspects of your home. These items should be arranged for maximum impact, grouped by theme, colour, shape, or material. Odd numbered groupings please the eye. Hanging photographs is an art unto itself.
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