Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tuscan Paint & Style Ideas

Tuscan style derives its warm colors from the rural landscape of central Italy.

The Tuscan countryside surrounding the city of Florence has inspired a rustic decorating style that takes its cue from the landscape's sun-drenched villages and olive groves, cypress trees, terracotta curved roof tiles (called pantiles), weathered stucco walls, curlicued wrought iron gates and carved fountains. The style is also characterized by simple, timeless materials, such as clay, wood, leather and iron, in use there for centuries. Does this Spark an idea?

Tuscan Colors

The colors associated with Tuscan décor echo the beauty of the region's landscape: the burnt orange-red of terracotta, olive and cypress greens, the ochre tint of villages, browns associated with leather and dark wood, burgundy (the color of red wine) and vivid blues, colors often seen in paintings of the region or in handpainted ceramics produced by Tuscan artisans.

Choosing a Color Palette

To select a color palette, look for inspiration from something you feel especially drawn to---a painting or a handpainted Tuscan ceramic bowl. Then figure out your primary colors (walls, upholstery and curtains) and which colors you will use in smaller doses as secondary, accent colors. Although the walls of authentic Tuscan farmhouses are usually lime-washed or roughly plastered white, there is no rule that says you have to follow suit. You can choose a shade such as ochre, mustard or clay red that references natural materials found commonly in the region.


Fresco, a painting technique in which paint is applied directly to wet plaster, is a tradition handed down since the Renaissance. It adds a decorative element to walls or ceilings that lasts for a long, long time. Today, homeowners simply use stencils to apply designs to walls for a frescoed effect or hire an artist to paint a mural. These touches can give a room unique charm.


Tuscan style isn't entirely uniform. In some cases it can be elegant and ornate; in others, it leans heavily toward simple rusticity. In both cases, though, furniture is usually oversized and made of native Tuscan woods such as walnut, chestnut or pine. Motifs of corn, olives, lavender and myrtle leaves are often carved into pieces such as massive buffets, large rectangular country dining tables, sturdy chairs, credenzas, cassoni (wooden storage chests) and large armoires. Wrought-iron bed frames are common and sometimes wood furniture is embellished with handpainted designs.

Other Design Elements

Clay tile floors in warm colors---pink-tinged, honey or deep brown---are topped with Persian rugs. Another hallmark of Tuscan country style is wooden parquet floors rubbed with white paint to give them a bleached, time-worn look. Dark wood ceiling beams and door frames contribute to the old world ambience. Objects and architectural features in sandstone, limestone or marble, rustic wooden window shutters, wall tapestries and wrought iron chandeliers, plus accessories in majolica, terra cotta, copper and ceramic, complete the look.

Tags: associated with, Tuscan style, wrought iron