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Tuscan Style Defined

Get decor inspiration from the beautiful Tuscan countryside.

By Lisa Frederick

Tuscan design developed naturally from the traditions of rural Italian life. Equal parts practicality and decorative flair, it celebrates the craftsmanship, rugged beauty, and emphasis on simple joys that characterized old-world Tuscan life at its best.

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The Basics

Cozy Country/Rustic Bedroom
Jessica Helgerson

Done well, Tuscan style captures the essence of the Italian countryside without feeling overwrought or theatrical. It's rustic but not primitive, unpretentious and effortlessly stylish. Although surfaces and furnishings are durable enough to withstand the rigors of farm life, they carry a refined air that would feel at home in a palatial estate.

These designer rooms have a Tuscan-style feel:

Pitti Bed
Tuscan Hills

Textured finishes. Wallpaper, drywall, and other manufactured surfaces can look too sleek for Tuscan interiors. Instead, go with more traditional materials such as stucco and plaster, perhaps with a Venetian or other decorative finish. Keep the colors warm and neutral: rich cream, dull yellow, soft gold, terra-cotta.   

Artisanal accents. Tuscan-style accessories evoke the impression of an artisan's hand: thick, glazed pottery, wrought iron and other metalwork, delicately carved stone. Although interiors in this style aren't cluttered, they're not stark either. Choose pieces with strong lines and subtle flourishes, in just great enough numbers to radiate warmth and comfort. 

Natural light. When you picture an Italian farmhouse, one of the first things you may envision is sunlight streaming in through wood-shuttered windows. Keep window treatments clean and restrained so as not to limit the natural illumination, and play up indoor-outdoor connections wherever possible. If your home has fewer windows than suit this style, fake it with soft, glowing lamplight instead.  

Exterior Cut Outs

Exposed beams. The Tuscan approach to design finds beauty in the mundane, and one example is the tradition of wooden ceiling beams in Tuscan homes. Not only are they essential to the framework, but they also have their own charm. If you stain them, use a sheer variety that won't obscure the wood grain. 

Sunwashed colors. Think of the Tuscan landscape: dark cypress trees, rolling fields, rosy pink sunsets setting earth-colored houses aglow. These images are the starting point for your palette. Go for shades that look as though they've weathered a little with the passing years—no sweet pastels, vivid brights, or sharp black and white.

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