Country Decorating Ideas

Impressions from Afar

At first glance, the sailboat on the mantel, the rustic coffee table, and the Craftsman-style chair with red-checked upholstery look like today's take on all-American style. But the tall rattan chair, bead-dangling lampshade, African and Asian accessories, and matchstick blinds all point to a more exotic sensibility.

Eclectic style has been around as long as one generation passed on its treasures to the next and ever since one culture traded with another. Today in America, fresh country style offers more choices than in times past, both in the range of products available and in the acceptance of decorating for personal expression rather than for the neighbors' approval.

The rooms shown here are comfortable and functional, but they're also rich in personal details and eclectic points of view. In the bath, rustic Asian and country French influences mix in a setting both dramatic and playful.

An exceptional antique table is fitted with a standing brass bowl sink, ancient in style yet one of the newest looks in bath fixtures. Asian and French country influences are united by a color scheme of blue, white, and neutrals and the timeless, countrified appeal of common farm animals and flowers.

The family room takes rustic American elements and shakes them up with Asian and African accents. Craftsman chairs and beaded lamps, together? Eclectic style says, why not?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Mary Wynn Ryan is the author of numerous interior design books including The Ultimate Kitchen, The Ultimate Bath, Cottage Style, Fresh Country Style and Garden Style. She has written about home furnishings and interior design for various magazines and served as Midwest editor of Design Times magazine. She was also the director of consumer and trade marketing for the Chicago Merchandise Mart's residential design center. She is president of Winning Ways Marketing, an editorial and marketing consulting firm that specializes in home design and decorating.