When the first Covid-19 lockdown happened in March 2020, I think it is fair to say that many people began hankering after a simpler life, possibly in a more rural setting.
With working from home becoming the new normal, people’s focus changed from workwear and leisure to their homes and garden.
This got me thinking about country style which is still very popular in the interiors world-in sharp contrast to grey (although you can marry country and grey if you wish).
I therefore decided to come up with a list of ways to make your home feel “country,” even if you live in the middle of a town.
Obviously you don’t need to tick everything on the list.
What things scream country to you?
1. Check/tartan. I love tartan. We even have a checked carpet in one room and we have a tweed check arm chair.
2. Fire place-the bigger the better. I would love an Inglenook fireplace-especially decorated for Christmas but I think these have to actually come with the house. I do love our fireplace but you can’t sit in it.
3. Boot room. This is a must for any country house to farm. It needs to be practical with plenty of storage and hooks. Hanging dog leads and welly racks. I have even seen some amazing boot rooms with a shower for muddy children, farmers or dogs.
4. Range cooker or Aga. What says country kitchen more than an aga? There was an old aga when we moved to the farm but it disintegrated when it was moved and I think the cost of getting it to work would have been eye-watering. Mine is a dual fuel range cooker.
5. Welsh dresser. I have a bit of a Welsh dresser problem-particularly dresser tops. At one point, I think I had four or five. I still have three. They look lovely with treasured trinkets and pottery collections but the more you have, the more you fill them ad the more you have to dust.
6. A dog. A farm is not a farm without a dog. Some may say the same about a home. Since Rosie’s demise, we only have the Chihuahua in the house now which I know is not strictly a country breed but she is here nevertheless.
7. A massive dining table-either in a kitchen or a dining room. Ours is eight foot by eight foot and officially seats eight but has stretched to 16 at Christmas and other celebrations.
8. A wing backed chair. I would have two in front if the Inglenook fireplace (see above) but we don’t have one so we have one which our eldest son has claimed for his own and now everyone calls it his chair. It was the chair I sat them on as babies to take their monthly photos and I love it for that reason. So many memories.
9. Beams. We have some beautiful beams in our farmhouse, many of which had a real purpose in years gone by like the one used to hang meat but now hangs a bauble at Christmas. I love looking at them.
10. Ivy. It’s a blessing and a curse. It looks nice and very country (along with wisteria) but my goodness it attacks your brickwork and critters can climb up it.
11. Lined curtains. This is for practical reasons to help with draughts in winter.
12. A statement clock. My mother in law has a beautiful grandfather clock but every fireplace deserves a clock on it. The kids broke all of mine but I managed to get an owl one to last longer than usual.
13. Belfast sink. You always see these in interior magazines when they are showing a farmhouse kitchen. For actual farms, they are not very practical-especially if it is housed in oak. You see the magazine kitchens to not have farmers with big hands washing in them. The farmhouse kitchen sink is the most used tap on the farm so it is wet for most of the day and the wood of the Belfast sink rots. Something to bear in mind if you are thinking of getting one.
14. Stag head or other dead creature mounted on the wall. I picked Boris up at a garden centre one Christmas. He was not named after Boris Johnson, just incase you were wondering.
15. A library or book shelf. How amazing would an actual library be? I would love to have a whole wall lined with book shelves.
16. Bring the outside in. Herbs on the windowsill or, using your windowsills as a greenhouse until you can put plants outside. It all adds to the rustic feel.
17. A large egg holder. I do have several and, you can tell how well my hens are laying by the number out on the work top. It is two at the moment.
18. Lamps. Who doesn’t love the ambience of a lit lamp? I’d have loads if my children didn’t play so rough.
19. Mismatched crockery. I love this. It seems so country cottage. I do see the appeal of having everything co-ordinating but, if you celebrate the mismatched, you can use everything-even when you break one plate out of a set.
20. Bunting. The country dream. In your kitchen, garden, children’s room. It is a prerequisite.
21. Log pile. This always reminds me of the Gruffalo but if you have a log burner or open fire, a log pile is a must.
22. Tweed. Once confined to jackets and other apparel, tweed interiors look so country. From cushion covers to curtains, a little goes a long way.
23. Blankets. There is something about having fluffy, soft blankets dotted around the place. They can add an accent of colour and can be pulled on for cosy nights by the fire, cool summer evenings or silly as a cover when someone is feeling under the weather. Even pets can have one.
24. Wellington rack. Even if you don’t have a boot room, a rack for wellingtons outside the door is essential.
25. Sugar bowls and milk jugs. Preferably in a floral print. Cup of tea anyone?
26. Homemade cake. Always available in pretty cake tins.
27. Rugs. Especially by the fire.
28. Shooting memorabilia. Whether it’s art using empty gun cartridges or a statue of Our Lady on top of the gun cabinet, shooting and the countryside are close friends.
29. Well read books on tables. Favourite title or reference books or even farming magazines which is most likely here.
30. Florals. On everything. Even if they garishly clash.