Friday, December 6, 2013

About Tuscan Style Decor

Tuscany is in the central region of Italy. Known for its stunning landscapes and exceptional food and wine, Tuscany offers visitors and inhabitants alike a rich array of color and texture. It is from this rustic, bountiful land that the Tuscan style of decorating draws its colors, its textures and its rustic appeal. Does this Spark an idea?


Color is the most prominent characteristic of Tuscan design. The gold is rich and dark, the yellow bright and sunny. The greens reflect the hillsides and the blues are color washed to a pale wisp. Eggplant purple is commonly used as an accent color. But it is the orange of the Tuscan style that is most striking. The orange is an earthy tone, rustic and strong. The orange lies between the brilliance of a sunset and the reddish tint of soil rich in clay. This pinkish red orange is what separates Tuscan style from all other styles in Italy.


Tuscan design schemes are abundant in wrought iron, wood and marble. Hand painted tiles are used throughout the kitchen in backsplashes and countertops. Floors are marble or hardwood. Walls are plaster, and are gold or yellow. Brick is sometimes used as well. Cabinetry is made from wood, and a common trait in Tuscan design is to include wrought iron in the cabinet face to create a grilled effect. Decorative moldings are used throughout. Common motifs in furnishings and accents are fruit, particularly grapes, and baskets filled with food.


Florence, the capital of the Tuscany region, has been a prominent Italian city since 59 B.C. During the Renaissance, Florence was a crowded city and was still growing. The well-to-do of the population needed a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life and built country homes. The interiors of these country homes reflected the pastoral scenery of the region. The outdoors, free from soot and waste common to the city, was blended into the lifestyles of the homeowners. The colors and textures were brought indoors. Herb gardens were planted just outside the kitchen door, and long tables were placed in courtyards for hours of relaxation while dining on the local fare, including wine. This tradition of indoor/outdoor living continued, and the Tuscan countryside became known for its easy lifestyle and quaint interiors.


In the United States Tuscan style décor translates to a more upscale, urban look than the early country homes of the Florence elite. The greens are closer to sea green than grassy, and the yellows are less primary and more gold. But the orange remains the keystone of the color scheme. The kitchen garden may now be a selection of potted herbs on the windowsill. Where a Tuscan country home would once have had well worn copper pots hanging from the ceiling, the modern version may display a modest, and seldom used, collection of copper pots from a stylish pot rack.


That's not to say this updated decorating scheme is little more than a nod to the Tuscan style. The elements distinct to the design are in play. The pot rack may be wrought iron. The backsplash may be made up of painted tiles and the walls textured and color washed for a rustic effect. The interior is a warm and inviting place, with deep upholstered furnishings contrasted with simple wood benches and footstools. Marble topped tables and trestle tables are both appropriate and often in close proximity to each other. Though the colors may vary from the early Tuscan style, the contemporary colors still have the same impact. The line between indoors and outdoors is blurred; the palette is drawn from the natural colors of the earth and its abundance of fruit and vegetables.

Tags: Tuscan style, country homes, Tuscan design, wrought iron, color washed