By now, as you know, furnishing styles are influenced all over the world. And so we end up having a new type of “rustic”, which cannot be identified with any particular geographical area, although the initial inspiration may come from a particular area. These are the modern variants of the rustic style: Country Chic, Shabby Chic, Farmhouse, etc.
The name “Country chic” or “Rustico chic” (country = rustic) has often been heard in recent years and is no longer just exclusive to wedding planners. This term certainly evokes images of ceremonies in restored farmhouses and centerpieces with glass jars but has now also become synonymous with a much-loved style of furniture, thanks to its reassuring appearance and the ability to blend tradition and modernity in a harmonious and fresh way.
Thanks to the Country chic the rustic style is no longer confined to country houses but fits perfectly even in townhouses.
However, at first glance, a contemporary and elegant rustic style of furnishing can be somewhat elusive and difficult to bring into your homes. The balance between “rustic” and “chic” can be very weak and it is difficult to understand how to blend them so that the whole is welcoming and at the same time up-to-date.
Follow the recommendations of Case and Interiors and you will see that you will be able to obtain a welcoming and personal environment. Consider the suggestions in this article, we guarantee that you will be able to master this style in the best way.
What are the differences between Shabby Chic and Country Chic?
First of all, let’s try to dissolve some doubts. Shabby chic and Country chic are terms commonly used in the definitions of furniture and decorations for the home, often used interchangeably.
It is true that both have a refined taste of the past, which recalls rural life and that the ultimate aim in furnishing with these two styles is to recreate environments with a hint of the past. The truth, however, is that they are really very different styles.
1. Shabby Chic
Shabby chic is a term created in the early 1980s by an English interior designer in an interview with the American magazine “The World of Interiors” (shabby = shabby). But it was the American Rachel Ashwell who created the fashion, taking inspiration from the Provencal country elegance and the Swedish Gustavian style. It has become so popular that in 1989 it registered the “Shabby chic” brand for its furniture collection.
Shabby Chic interiors are often considered quite feminine. The furnishings are characterized by a “lived” and worn-out appearance, but the use of colors is not what one would expect from a rustic environment: very light neutral tones, especially white, are the color range that most distinguishes this style.
In Shabby Chic the furniture, old and new, is manually “aged” with shabby chalk and special techniques. There are also different objects and materials reused and transformed into something different, just like in the Provencal style (which is also a feature of Country chic).
In every store, even in low-cost ones, there is now a collection that recalls the Shabby style. But given the potential of DIY and recovery, Shabby chic is a style that can easily be achieved on a limited budget.
The advantage is that painting everything in white allows you to even uniform furnishings of different ages, materials, and origins. The disadvantage is that without certain precautions, the whole can be monotonous and without personality or too coy, which is one of the major criticisms that is moved to this style, together with the fact that it is a bit “rigid”, that is not very flexible and adaptable.
2. Country Chic
The Country Chic furniture is inspired by the old farms and country houses, especially those in the north-east of the United States, which are characterized by attention to essentiality and practicality.
To bring the country style in a modern and “chic” key, we need to look for an informal and welcoming look, which takes shape through more raw materials and textures than Shabby chic, cleaner lines, very natural and clear colors, more contained decorations. A mix & match of great effect, but simple with details that recall country houses, but revisited in a more elegant, sober and modern key.
One of the most immediate ways to recognize the two styles is certainly the color difference. The favorite colors in the Country chic are the natural ones that, without weighing down the rooms too much, can also turn towards warmer and earthy tones or towards darker shades of grays or browns. On the walls may also appear bricks or exposed stones, but also beautiful handmade majolica or cement tiles.
For its greater versatility, the Country chic can approach Shabby chic.
Natural and raw fabrics like linen, cotton, jute are popular choices for rustic-chic furnishings. From here it is clear that the Country chic, unlike the Shabby, plays a lot with the contrasts of the chiaroscuro, both in the colors and in the textures.
In the country chic furniture, as well as in the shabby ones, the real strength is given by the personalization made through the DIY.
Let us show you how to create Country Chic interiors that live up to their name and exceed your expectations.
Create a warm environment
The Country chic style is strongly linked to the typical furnishings of American country houses, with a touch of English and Provencal cottage style.
The Country chic aesthetic, therefore, often starts from a rustic but very simple architecture: exposed beams, portions of walls in natural stone or brick, slatted parquet with the rawest finishes… All absolutely authentic.
Even in metropolitan environments (in historic centers or in redeveloped areas) it is easy to find apartments in which the architecture is simple, but with character, which helps to opt for a country chic decor.
But if the architecture of the house has none of this, we need to re-look to completely renovate the rooms, working a lot on colors, materials, combinations and looking for coatings.
The ideal floor for a natural and not cold look is in light slatted wood, with a matte finish, but nothing prevents you from laying a porcelain stoneware, more practical and contemporary, with refined tones (dark gray, dove gray, mud …).
For bathroom or kitchen walls, one of the most trendy choices for this style is the laying of tiles decorated with cement effect, always in neutral tones.
For those who cannot lay a new floor covering, having to adapt to what it already has, with Country chic there is no problem: it is a very versatile style, which leaves ample freedom of action (unlike Shabby chic).
For example, if the floor is in dark wood or stone: just insert some dark elements, if not into the furniture, at least in the accessories. If the floor is in terracotta, the style will simply be more consistent and close to our tradition. If it is in cement or resin it will approach the industrial chic style.
Choose a neutral color scheme
The choice of colors is one of the key points of the renewal in a Country chic perspective. The neutral tones are the essence of this style, because, if it is true that they recall the natural materials of the countryside, on the other they are also undeniably modern.
Currently, the lighter shades (white, beige, gray …) are the preferred ones for the walls of the current Country Chic, because they help to maintain a light and bright environments. This natural palette almost always has darker accents, drawing from other shades found in nature.
The search for a chromatic harmony throughout the home is the first choice to make in this style.
Choose modern furniture
It should be quite obvious from the compound name, but we would like to underline it: the “rustic chic” style wants to create a contrast. In the country chic interiors, it is necessary to balance the more traditional rustic elements with some more current and refined furniture selections.
If architecture is already rustic in itself, the furniture is the ideal medium to give the room that touch of elegance and modernity, which is expected of a contemporary home. If this balance or contrast does not take place, we are simply talking about rustic style.
The confusion regarding this style is precisely that of believing that it is a “rustic” tout court, but with neutral tones. Instead, a Country chic home is one that combines vintage pieces with modern and functional elements.
So, choose modern furniture with simple, elegant, linear lines and pay particular attention to practicality.
Don’t think only of wood, but also consider the use of metals, such as aluminum, iron, bronze and in any case all those metals that we also see as protagonists in the most current industrial style. The use of metals helps to balance the strong presence of natural wood.
If you want a stronger rustic touch, you can also choose one of the “important” pieces of furniture in the country style, such as the table for the dining area, a chest of drawers for the entrance, the bed for the bedroom, a sideboard for the cooking, etc. In this way, that element will become the focal point of the room and will be the one that will immediately attract attention. A bit like when you take over old grandparents’ furniture to put them in a modern context.
In this case, it is always better to choose a vintage piece (but not an antique one) that has an authentic taste of real life. If you choose to paint it, you should use dusty shades or neutral colors (not necessarily white as in shabby).
Although it is easy to buy tables, beds, chests of drawers and other new furniture designed according to the rustic style, nothing makes the essence of country chic as pleasant as the touch of authenticity and DIY.
In the arrangement of the furniture, as in the most up-to-date interior design concepts, make sure that your choices facilitate everyday life and that the function of each room is perfectly clear.
Add rustic touches
The most important aspect of any country chic space is its “nostalgic” charm. Small rustic pieces add a warm, personal and welcoming touch to your home.
The objects of decoration and the accessories are the best elements to do it, because they give you the freedom to instill a country aesthetic in the room, without exaggerating.
Play with some simple decorative elements: blackboards, wicker baskets, antique trunks, unpaired china, linen tablecloths, aromatic herbs, pitchers and ladles.
Also reusing elements in a creative way is another typical trend of Country chic.
Any ideas to give new life to old and commonly used objects?
- transform old windows to be used as dividers
- use fruit crates as makeshift shelves
- furnishing fabrics recovered from jute sacks
- use an old trunk as a table
- the ladders become towel racks or scarves
- a sideboard for storing household linen
- old doors or shutters become a headboard for the bed
Do not forget, finally, that the Country Chic spaces also need fabrics to have more warmth and softness: rugs, throws, pillows, duvet covers, curtains … They are all details that make a visible difference.