Can’t decide between a simple Scandinavian interior and a pretty country style? Why not have the best of both worlds? “Pale country chic” is an interior style that blends the two, combining the pared-back simplicity of a Scandinavian home with the rustic whimsy of a country one. So if you have a penchant for pretty pastels, faded florals and washed linens, or if your dream home is a pale and pretty country cottage, this is the look for you.
1. Whitewash the woodwork
The first step is to lighten up the space and draw as much daylight into your room as possible. Dark-toned wood finishes are counterintuitive in this look, so keep surfaces and woodwork light-toned or white.
Whitewashed floorboards and crisply painted walls create a bright and relaxed backdrop in this airy room. The white painted beams magnify the effect.
More Gray and Neutral Colors to Consider
2. Go for faded florals
Bright country florals are out for this look, but soft, washed-out patterns are definitely in. Pick florals in soft pastel shades or choose vintage textiles for that authentic soft-wash look, and you’ll create a room that is understated and pretty.
You don’t need too much pattern to create this effect either. Mixing in just a few patterned cushions or pillowcases with crisp white bedding, as was done here, will be enough to create the desired effect.
3. Mix and match patterns
There’s nothing precious or overtly expensive about this relaxed look, so you don’t need to concern yourself with hunting down matching accessories or formal items. A hodgepodge of patterns and textures in faded tones is much gentler on the eye.
This soft and inviting sofa piled with pretty pillows is a perfect effortless-looking example of how to mix florals. As long as they are tonally similar, the look will work.
4. Favor pastel colors
Approach color cautiously. Avoid anything primary-toned and embrace anything pastel-toned.
The result you’re aiming for is a soft wash of color, so pick a pastel shade with plenty of white. If you are unsure, consider whether the paint color jumps out at you or softly recedes; you want the latter. The finished look should be soothing and calming — a big piece in a soft color will act as a backdrop rather than the main feature.
5. Fill your home with flowers
This look has romance at its heart, so plenty of flowers are essential. Forget expensive blooms in formal arrangements; choose relaxed arrangements in an assortment of vintage vases or enamel jugs instead. Sweet peonies, scented hyacinths or hedgerow treasures are just the ticket.
6. Try soft gray as a neutral
To get a soft, bleached-out look, consider using gray as your neutral instead of a warmer-toned beige. Gray has the effect of toning down a warm palette and creating a softer, cooler look instead. It’s a perfect backdrop for pastels and florals.
7. Embrace vintage
Modern furniture shapes and glossy finishes are definitely not elements of this look. Vintage free-standing items, such as the bedside table here, are in. The good news is that secondhand furniture can often be picked up cheaply.
A well-worn patina or a distressed paint finish is encouraged as well. Preloved pieces of furniture have a history and a story that fit right in with this style. Pale finishes are key, but don’t worry if you fall in love with a darker piece; if the shape and size are right, then you can simply lighten it up with a wash of chalky furniture paint.
8. Love linen
Texture is an important element of this style. Washed cottons, natural wood and matte surfaces are all important elements, but the king of them all has to be linen.
A piece of vintage linen with a soft red stripe is a key indicator of timeless country style, and mixing in a few pieces in the form of a pillow or a throw, as shown here, adds a layer of texture and authenticity that elevates a pastel-based design. On a smaller scale, consider the same approach for your tea towels.
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