Country Decorating Ideas

The Golden West

Rough-hewn stone and mellow cedar wood logs make a handsome fireplace. Decorative marks on the peeled-cedar furniture were burned in with authentic branding irons. A coffee table inspired by Native American drums is a cleverly in-character accent.

This inviting California-ranch­-style room brings back the best spirit of the Old West, but is updated for today's fresh country style. It's actually a pool house, part of a larger estate, but the decorating plan would work just as well in a suburban family room or a getaway cabin.

What makes it work? A vigorous yet understated design scheme that manages to be respectful of tradition and cheerfully lighthearted at the same time. Peeled-cedar furniture is made distinctive by branded accents, but the look is subtle and not over-the-top.

A semicircular bar with a copper-look laminate top is ringed with stools that have saddle seats. Coarsely peeled-cedar seating and a custom, wrought-iron chandelier with a cactus motif turn the basics into dramatic statements.

A few, simple wrought-iron accents, scaled right for the spaces they occupy, add punch. Because the overall look is restrained, a life-size Native American and a tom-tom coffee table are delightful, not kitschy.

An array of entertaining accents -- antique, custom-made, or simply found -- pay lighthearted homage to the spirit of the Old West. A carved, life-size "cigar-store Indian" stands guard next to the French doors. Laser-cut and wrought-iron accents join natural finds such as shed antlers, gourds, and pinecones.

Tourist areas abound with tasteless "rustic" accessories, but these owners were clearly not tempted. The result is a room full of real style and personality.

For more decorating ideas, see: