French Country Style Decorating IdeasWritten by Jill Kane
What constitutes French country style of décor? Rustic, of course, is country in any language. But French country gives you opportunity to add a little flair to your décor.
Natural materials such as wood for tables, chairs and armoires, scrolled iron plant stands, plaster walls and stone or brick floors are an integral part of French country look. The look of plaster or stucco walls can be easily obtained by use of a product called Venetian plaster, or you can make your own by mixing drywall compound with a little latex paint in a neutral color. This is spread over a painted wall in varying degrees of thickness, and then when dry can be glazed or sealed with a latex sealer. Details on this technique can be found online or in your local home improvement store. The floor may be a little more difficult for do-it-yourselfer, however, new laminates very much resemble stone flooring. It just won’t be as rough as real stone or brick but that could be a good thing!
Furniture with romantic curves, such as a pedestal table and chairs with turned legs and rush seats, perhaps with a distressed whitewash finish speak fluent French. Any respectable French boudoir or sitting room would not be complete without a chaise lounge (fainting couch) upholstered in a lovely toile fabric. Replacing one or two panels in your kitchen cabinet doors with chicken wire will give an authentic French country look. Accent colors for a French country theme are black, wine (of course), russet, gold, green and very popular combination of blue and yellow.
Tuscan Style Decorating IdeasWritten by Jill Kane
Earthy colors and natural materials are two basics for “old world” style of decorating. To get an idea of colors we’re talking about, go for a walk outside and take notice of beautiful colors around you, blue sky, golden sun, even chocolate brown of mud in springtime. Ok, so you don’t have a view of blue/green Mediterranean Sea but you’ve seen pictures of it haven’t you? On that walk, stroll through produce department of your local grocery store and note dark purple eggplants, red peppers, yellow lemons, green olives. These are some of colors you’ll want to consider for your Tuscany decorating. Natural materials will include wood (think rustic, sturdy type furniture), tile (colorful ceramic for wall accents) natural stone for flooring and unpolished metals such as copper, tin, or pewter for accents.
You probably already have some Tuscan influences in your home. Iron scrollwork brackets, terra cotta planters (more about these later), fruit themed artwork, colorful pottery, copper, tin, pewter items, tapestry wall hangings – what was old is new again! Check your garage, attic or flea markets for some of these items.
What could be simpler than lining a sunny windowsill with some pretty little terra cotta pots with Italian herbs (oregano, basil, sage, etc.)? Do you have a section of old wrought iron railing that once graced your front porch? Bring it in, clean it up and get creative. Maybe you could use it for a pot hanger in kitchen or hang it on wall for a decorative accent in family room. How about that old leather trimmed trunk? It may make a great coffee table or storage area. Since colorful tile work is essential for Tuscan style, how about making your own mosaic masterpiece? Just break up a few pieces of old china, (use safety goggles), apply it with tile adhesive to a terra cotta planter, old vase or whatever you choose, let it dry for 24 hours, grout it and wipe down with a damp sponge.