How to decorate your living room in American country style

American country design calls for a relaxed and personalized style of decor

The American country style includes a lively color palette, an array of textures and the use of natural materials for a comfortable, homey appeal. The American country style has its roots in the early rural country homes of settlers and later in the once celebrated American farm house. This style, now refined to a distinct interior design scheme, includes pine furniture, cotton, linen and wool fabrics, and the traditional color palette of red, white and blue.


Step 1

Paint your walls

Paint your walls either creamy white or pale blue. Avoid icy blues, however, and opt instead for sky blue or robin’s egg blue. If choosing blue for your walls, add white bead board along the bottom half of the wall. Add a chair rail for a finished look.

If you paint your walls white, paint the bead board a bright red. This bold choice updates the country appeal without losing the charm.

Step 2

Select your furniture

Use padded rocking chairs and sofas with oversized backs and arms. Select fabrics that reflect a mix of earthy browns and greens contrasted with bright reds and deep blues. Fill out the living room with cushioned side chairs and mismatched side tables. Use pine or other light to medium wood tones for the furnishings to balance the darker, bolder reds and blues.

If you prefer oak to pine, select color tones a shade or two lighter than the wood. You want some contrast between the wood tones and the fabric patterns and colors.

Step 3

Pattern and texture

The fabrics for your American country style living room should be comfortable, durable and natural. Cotton, linen, wool, leather and suede work well in this design. The fabrics bring in more than color though; they also bring in pattern and texture.

Select fabrics in large plaid patterns, solid colors and floral or pastoral patterns. Use the cotton and linen fabrics for window curtains and side chair cushions, as well as table toppers. Use suede or leather for your larger, upholstered pieces and add a wool area rug to your hardwood floors.

Mix your patterns; the multitude of patterns adds shape and visual texture to your design. In American country, the goal is to create a look that appears developed over time, not planned or contrived. A mix of patterns will reflect that.

Step 4


Essential to this design are the Americana accessories. Art work by early American artists, antique chests and quilts, wicker baskets and personal keepsakes play an important role in defining the room as American country.

Though such homey goods as reed woven wreaths, wood carved hearts and plaques espousing the virtues of the country life can be charming, use them sparingly. In your living room, include perhaps a wreath on the door or set the carved heart in a wicker basket along side your knitting. Keep these rustic accessories a surprise, rather than a focal point.

Things Needed
• Paint
• Bead board
• Furniture
• Window curtains
• Area rug
• Accessories

Tips & Warnings
• Visit yard sales and thrift shops for unusual finds.
• Use sandpaper to "distress" furniture that looks too new.
• Add embroidered throw pillows to the couch but avoid those with "corny" platitudes.
• Avoid glass and chrome.


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