How to bring contemporary style to the country

Bring urban luxe to your rural retreat

1, Don’t abandon tradition

So you’ve moved into a gorgeous rustic home but it desperately needs facelift? The most common error is immediately gutting everything and assuming you need a completely blank page to work with. While modern style in the city sticks to clean lines and bare bones, you are in the country for a reason, so don’t ignore the past life of the house in your renovations. The home above was a 200 year-old former blacksmith, and even though the owners are, at heart, minimalists, they kept the original blacksmith’s fire and wooden beams, echoing the history of the building while creating an idyllic backdrop for the simple furniture the family brought with them.

2, Embrace the natural palette

Rural houses tend to come with an abundance of wood, whether in the form of ceiling beams or floorboards and, lucky for the urbanites, it goes perfectly with white. Create a blend of rustic cottage and city chic like this kitchen has done, which has kept the original beams while adding in modern units from a similar type of wood and freshened up the walls with a crisp white coat.

3, Add in a focal splash of colour

While neutrals bring the necessary light and fresh attitude to country homes, a gentle nod to the rainbow will give the place more personality. This statement sofa adds a bright but complementary flash of colour to this simple and stylist space. The key here is not to go overboard with colours or you risk ending up in chintzy farm home territory. Choose wisely!

4, Pare-back your accessories

Quick – what do you think of the sideboards and bookshelves looking like in a traditional country homestead? Cluttered and slightly chaotic, right? Well, this is the line you need to toe rather carefully. Open storage isn’t just a trend, it’s sometimes just practical, after all, there’s no point in hiding away your favourite books and objects d’arte. Pick a simple piece like this iron trolley to display the chicest pieces in your collection, making sure to select strong and fairly sizeable shapes. Goodbye kitsch, hello sleek.

5, Let the light in

Rustic buildings are generally on the thick side in order to keep in warmth, but with central heating, the light becomes more of the focus. Even if you want to keep the original windows, as this family has done, you can still brighten up the smallest of rooms with clever uses of white paint, mirrors and metallics. Tiny details like the brass tap lightens up the whole sink area, while the simple vanity mirror catches the sunshine as it filters in through the angled window.

6, Make use of the space

Surely one of the biggest upsides to owning a rural home is the sense of space, so make the most of it! While an eaves-style bedroom, complete with beams, could easily end up on the drab side of traditional, the owners of the above used it to their advantage. By painting the walls and ceiling white, the beams actually enhance the height, making the room appear even larger. Just keep the furniture simple to avoid becoming too bottom-heavy – the chair, side table and bed are all this space needs.

7, Stretch your creativity

Now that you’ve got all this space, why not do something fun with it?! We love what the owners have made of this double-height room in their country pad, creating a second bedroom at the top of the ladder. As a children’s space, this makes even going to bed more fun, and with one kid up another on the ground level, everyone gets the personal space they need when they want it.

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