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Attic Heirlooms, by Broyhill Furniture

Country-style rooms are typically painted vegetable colors… tomato, straw, denim and other paint colors the Waltons would have loved.  Appropriate too, given that the country was the birthplace of vegetables in the first place. But one of the quickest ways to give simple, worn-down furniture (or worn-down people who’re up for a simple change) is with a can of white paint.

White paint was birthed by early 20th century modernists. Tired of Victorian clutter and drama, they wanted to lighten up a little (a lot, actually)… and white paint did the trick. One hundred years later, it’s working again, this time to lighten up rustic rooms.

The beautiful thing about white paint is that it brings furniture into really sharp focus so we can appreciate its shape and texture more. Notice in this dining room how good the ladderback chairs, table and sideboard look against the pristine walls. The  room feels fresh, light and even slightly contemporary. Even the old-looking rug looks fresh and stands out.

As a side note, the furniture shown here (Attic Heirlooms) is one of my personal faves. It  mixes painted and natural wood finshes so it’s a little less matchy-matchy. Those casual straw-seat chairs are causal and that bench is pure fun. This collection has been around for a while and is still pretty popular, so it shouldn’t be hard to find if you’re in the market for new furniture.

For more info on the dining room, visit


roomstoraveabout_ BS_3478184The Windsor chair originated in late 16th C England (think Windsor castle and… all things Windsor?) before coming with immigrants to America. These new world folks didn’t literally bring their Windsor chairs with them. But they remembered them fondly from the old country and rebuilt them on this side of the pond.

Today, Windsor chairs are a hallmark of american country style… a style sooooo popular that we sort of associate these spindle-happy chairs as one of our own. We even renamed them Philadelphia chairs a few years back (a few centuries, actually). Imagine our nerve. Hope the English never found out.

Original Windsor versions were painted green (the English used these chairs more as lawn and garden furniture). The chairs shown in the room above are two-tone… a favorite american county look with black or green frames and a natural finish on the seat.

But in this room, the Windsor chairs need a little help…. a supporting cast of country characters that don’t currently exist. The chair-table-buffet combo looks suitably country. Even the warm, country color on the wall works. But beyond that there ain’t much country decor going on. Here’s how I’d fix the problem.

LP 89981 149.99 plus shadesLP -22859 - 402.91 Hubbardton Forge Black Twist Basket ChandelierHD 60814 Santiago Buffet Lamps $109First, those lamps. More rustic, wrought iron versions would create more warmth and support the country styling. That brassy chandelier is a little too elegant. It’s also too high and a little small. 

LP 16795 Black and Brick Hand Painted Wall Mirror 289.91LP F4157 249.91 Rooster Dorato and NeroLP 20019 249.91 Back Roads Oil Reproduction

Pictures and mirrors should keep up the rustic effect. I like the mirror I’ve shown on the far left. It’s got a hand-painted effect that’s perfect for this folksy style. Charming folk art, landscapes, farm animals are more fitting with Windsor style than the current Victorian-inspired (?) mirror above the buffet.  

The floor and ceiling in this room are a little less cozy than they type of decor that Windsors should be surrounded with. Grounding the table with an area rug is the answer. HD m34780930 8 x 10 539.99 Hearth Braided RugHD m82552930 8 x 10 1099.99 Gloucester BraidedHD m29293910 8 x 10 559.00 Line Dance Area RugA braided rug is ideal for the look, two suggestions are shown on the left and center. Or a simple woven stripe. shown on the right. I’d choose one that’s rectangular or square (rather than round) to reinforce the strong shape of the recessed ceiling above.

 Speaking of that ceiling, it’s a little stark-looking in white. A light version of the wall color would warm up the room. The ‘stripe’ around the recssed ceiling could be painted black or a color pulled from the artwork. Or a simple geometric stencil could be interesting.

 Finally,LP G9038 169.91 Hen and Rooster Statues the accessories. Again, rustic and casual themes look more appropriate with Windsor chair style. Roosters, weathervanes, baskets, bowls filled with fruit and simple pottery create the american country look that a Windsor chair has made famous.

Mirror, artwork and accessories:

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