Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Decorate In Italian Provincial

The sophistication of Italian Provincial styling will bring warmth to any home. Do not be fooled by the heavy and overly ornate furniture portrayed by inexpensive manufacturers. Seating is straight lined and barely ornate with tight-fitted cushions. Its core is based on Italian furniture of the 18th and 19th centuries. New acquisitions mixed with current furnishings can bring the Tuscan countryside to your doorstep. Does this Spark an idea?


1. Research the antique furnishings of provincial Italy. Photographs of country estates of the period are excellent as well as travel books about villages in the provinces of larger cities. Auction houses are good sources for investigating or purchasing furnishings.

2. Decide on a completely traditional look or one with casual furnishings mixed in. Use a soft color palate of earth tones mixed with muted reds, light moss greens and blues.

3. Take an inventory of any available furnishings you possess that will suit the atmosphere. Pull together small wooden occasional tables, footstools, straight-backed wood kitchen chairs, farm tables, long mirrors with gilded and carved frames, wrought-iron candle holders, small brass lamps with simple shades, area rugs, delicate illustrative art and throw pillows.

4. Purchase furnishings as your budget allows. Italian Provincial interiors are simple and graceful. The look is light and airy. Start with a sofa, a pair of side chairs and several occasional tables. Hunt in thrift stores and garage sales for bargains. Restore plain chairs. Make them look worn by sanding off some of the finish, or whitewash them and add lines of gold around the frame. Recover the cushions with a flat woven tapestry fabric.

Use Asian inspired area rugs and sheer drapery hung to the floor with rings on thin brass rods in the living room and bedrooms. In the kitchen, think "farmhouse." Paint the walls a soft yellow or peach. Hang utilitarian copper cookware on the walls, or dangle them from a cantilevered wood shelf. Add an old dresser painted blue and a rustic wood side table at working height.

5. Use decorative objects sparingly. It is better to collect a few great pieces than overload with a hoard just to fill space. Antique or reproduction ceramics, candle holders and small lamps are the basic items.

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