May 18, 2010

Relaxed Elegance

This time of year, I am drawn to a more relaxed interior where flea market finds sit beside treasured antiques and the rough-hewn meets the refined. It's a casually elegant look that allows you to drag the crystal chandelier onto the deck or bring a peeled-paint chest indoors. It's rooms filled with laughter and late night storytelling, not worrying about beach sand mixing with fine crystal, and when flower arrangements are picked straight from the field. I like to call this look "relaxed elegance". No need to get fussy; use what you love and have fun mixing it up.
Being able to put your feet on well-loved pieces of furniture, while still achieving a sense of gracious living, is what it's all about. Choose classic-lined furnishings that will grow with you and your changing tastes. Furnishings with multi-purposes can be moved from room to room if need be, giving you a little extra for your decorating dollar. Select sturdy chairs for the dining room or extra seating in the living room or bedroom. Use chests as coffee table and benches and ottomans for additional seating as well as impromptu table in any room in the house. Now put your tag sale finds to good use and freshen them up with a bit of paint or light sanding.
Mismatched china, a worn table, terracotta-potted flowers and grandma's silver all work wonderfully together. In fact, mismatched china has been in vogue for as long as I can remember and is a welcomed addition to the well-dressed country home. You can find lovely china pieces at flea markets and tag sales to mix and match to your hearts content. There are no hard rules here--buy what you love and use it daily. The same holds true for crystal and silver. Buy bit and pieces because it speaks to you and not for its monetary value.
Collect vintage fabrics and use them for tablecloths, napkins, placemats, chair cushions, or toss one on a lampshade to give the room a soft glow. A large remnant works wonderfully as a chair or sofa slipcover, and at the end of a bed to add a touch of color and pattern to your room.
If you can find an assortment of old wooden candlesticks, give them a coat of fresh paint to bring the collection together (distress if you'd like). Use lots of candles to welcome anyone who enters. A nicely scented pillar on a flea market china plate is all you need. Lots of fresh flowers displayed in ceramic pitchers, glass jars or old teapots will add color and a touch of romance to your home.

Images via, and my collection


Will @ Bright.Bazaar said...

I'm with you! That second image = swooooon!

Charlotte said...

I'm not so sure it's the relax style or the soothing colors but I luv all these photographs.

Kimberly Merritt said...

I agree. These photos make me want to live outdoors all summer long.