©York Wallcoverings Wallpaper that mimics log walls can transform any room into a cozy cabin. Shallow, canvas-lined wicker baskets make clever and good-looking under-bed storage.

Fresh country style is a natural fit for to­day's busy lifestyles. It's casual and comforting, just what we long for at the end of the day. Yet, at the same time, it's savvy and sophisticated. After all, we've been around and it shows. The allure of other times and other places ...? Well, that's just a bonus.

You will find fresh country style easy to spot. It's clean without that cutting-edge chill, chic without being fashion-obsessed, and warmhearted without being banal. It's in tune with nature, but unlike the country style of decades back, "nature" doesn't mean dried strawflowers and mauve ducks or bunnies.

Instead, it's likely to mean a few dramatic sunflowers or a bountiful bouquet of old-fashioned roses, and a hand-carved frog or heron, infused with the artisan's personality. Intelligent, organic, and sometimes a bit off-beat, fresh country is definitely right for the times.

Today's fresh country style is kid-friendly, but, at the same time, it reminds you that you have an interest in art history. It's a quilt used for architectural impact as well as for cuddling, wood plank floors chosen for texture as well as comfort for the stand-up cook, and a cedar-lined hope chest that stashes board games as easily as it once did wedding linens.

Country furnishings vary, but they have this in common: They're never around just to impress the neighbors or fill up space.

Fresh country style means fewer things to dust and dry-clean, fuss with or have fall over, but they're better pieces, carefully chosen to meet our needs, both physical and emotional.

Originally, country homes were furnished with whatever was practical and at hand. If you're looking at a bureau from your grandmother's house, a table from your parents' first apartment, and a pair of flea market side chairs you bought years ago, you will realize things haven't changed all that much.

If a piece still works, there's a tendency to hang onto it. What is different is that today we have the luxury of combining practicality with choices influenced by an educated eye and personal flair. Where you've been tells part of your story, but so does the way you mix up heirlooms and hand-me-downs with your own favorite finds, new or old.

This article will show you several variations of fresh country style, and explain how to incorporate the right furnishings, textures, and accessories to create the fresh country look of your dreams. First, we'll give an overview of the types of fresh country style in the next section of this article.

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