If you find traditional furniture too formal for your lifestyle or home and contemporary furniture too, you might consider a country look. Before images of knotted chairs bound with rope and twiggy tables leap to mind, take inventory of all the alluring country styles on the internet.
Country furniture started out as practical and utilitarian versions of traditional court furniture for the populace, and retained charm and beauty in its new incarnations. A majority of popular styles, like Mission or French Provincial, are far from rustic, and provide comfort and durability that turn your home into a welcoming haven from the hectic, modern world outside.
English country home style
This is a handy catch-all phrase for the multitude of styles that stemmed from English country living. However, an underlying trait these styles share is the use of more cost effective and indigenous materials like oak, ash and elm mixed with some walnut and mahogany pieces. Far from the elaborate pieces seen in English salons, the construction was more functional and less ornate.
French Provencal/country home style
The variety of designs that make up French Provencal furniture are indicative of the varied lifestyles of France’s 18th and 19th century middle and lower classes. Some French Provencal styles evolved as simpler, locally crafted versions of French court furniture built for wealthier landowners and merchants desiring trendy home furnishings. Other styles were original to the provinces that nurtured an aesthetic and functional ideal far removed from what was happening in the vogue epicenter of Paris palaces. Despite this, there are some general characteristics that these styles share. Decoration is simple, but nevertheless charming and graceful, with splats, painting, and bas-relief carvings. Craftsmen used walnut, ash, poplar, chestnut and fruit woods like cherry and pear to construct the furniture, and often included marble or wrought iron embellishments.
Spanish colonial home style
While Spanish colonial furniture (1600-1840) took inspiration from traditional furniture, it was also shaped by Spanish Catholicism, with furnishings often destined for churches and monasteries as well as ranches and homes. Mesquite, cedar, walnut and cypress woods were used to construct refectory tables that sported lyre-legs, along with chests and other pieces. In rural areas, locals adapted these designs to suit their more practical needs and simple tools, constructing flat paneled, slated furniture with A-frame legs. Popular today in ranch-style and colonial homes, the furniture’s versatile, sturdy style blends well with the life of the busy individual.