How to style your country furniture

Want a touch of the rustic in a modern setting? Vernacular furniture is a tactile way to add timeless style to your home

How to style your country furniture

Once purely for practical use in 18th-century country homes, 'vernacular' furniture – with its warm patina and hand-hewn craftsmanship is now highly sought-after.

Whether it's a gateleg dining room table, a weathered chest or a wall rack, this simple but sustainable antique furniture injects rustic style and a sense of history into any interior. Chairs, in particular, can often be traced back through their regional characteristics.

'There's something wonderful about sitting in a Windsor chair that has been used for 200 years and noticing the marks of life, such as a candle burn, and the rich colour and patina that only develops with time,' says antiques dealer Tim Bowen.

Mix country furniture with modern colours and sumptuous fabrics to create warm and welcoming rooms. Here are some stylish ideas for achieving the look.

Makers often fashioned their pieces from ash, beech and oak wood. These deep browns sit boldly among even the most colourful and busy of patterns. Keep cushions and throws in plains, checks or small prints for a more contemporary edge.

Small late 18th-century elm settle, £4,800, Robert Hirschhorn. 'Archive Trails' collection 'Vine' wallpaper in 'Rouge', £71 per roll, Little Greene

Dark blue walls set off the rich tone of the wood. The coloured glass and patterned lamp add a variety of texture to the scheme.

William and Mary side table, £3,800, Robert Young. 'Elsa' table lamp in magenta with straight 'Empire' shade in 'Temple Blue', £160, Pooky. Wine glasses, find similar at John Lewis

The warm berry walls with mustard curtains create a rich, textural feel in a welcoming living room.

Polygonal country stool in ash and elm, £350; 18th-century comb-back Windsor armchair, £5,200, all Robert Hirschhorn. Coffee table, £1,500, I & JL Brown. Curtain in 'Arran Mustard' wool, £42 per m, Voyage Decoration. Wall in 'Brinjal' Estate Emulsion paint, £38 per 2.5l, Farrow & Ball

This country bathroom has a French farmhouse ambience thanks to the aged copper bath and washboard sets. Make the scheme come to life with boldly patterned curtains.

Antique copper bath, from £6,500, Stiffkey Bathrooms. Apothecary drawers, £4,800, Robert Young. English 17th-century boarded oak chest, £2,200; country stool in ash, £390, both Robert Hirschhorn. Curtain made in 'The Brook' fabric from 'Archive Prints lll' collection, £75 per m, Morris & Co

Photographs: Brent Darby
Styling: Sally Denning
Words: Ffion Riordan-Jones

Paul Smith and Luciano Giubbilei in conversation
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