Country furniture is so gutsy, its lines so strong and forms so simple and straightforward, that it can easily handle big colors in walls, floors, furniture or window coverings.
If the furniture is a reproduction, or perhaps not very exciting, a dramatic color scheme will help disguise and distract from the furnishings. Country furniture can look at home with modern styles, too.
One of the best "country" rooms I ever designed, for example, was a master bedroom in black and white. Woven cotton rugs in a dynamic pattern of black and white were scattered on the wide pine boards of the floor. A contemporary down quilt, covered in white cotton and used with white sheets -- yes, sheets still come in white -- took the place of a more traditional bedspread.
The walls were painted white, with a rough sand texture. Deep frames outlined the two windows, which had matchstick blinds, sprayed glossy black, to cover the glass. This simple palette focused attention on the glories of the room: a period four-poster bed and an English highboy chest in rich mahogany.
With another "country" touch, this one in a dining room with a French refectory table and modern steel and wicker chairs, I painted the walls a deep Etruscan red. The beautiful floors were left bare so the rich graining would be visible. Cotton draperies were eyed to match the color of the walls. This unicolor system created a warm, inviting environment for family dinners.
I used the same approach in the living room of a country home. The furniture, largely contemporary seating units from a city apartment, looked sadly misplaced in the new surroundings, a room of average proportions dominated by a pine fireplace and matching wood frames around the windows.
To mate the modern furniture with its new, antique setting, I used a bold color scheme. Deep evergreen was the color I chose for the ceiling, and I matched it to new upholstery for the sofas, a marvelous textured velvet.
Wood shutters to match the window frames carry out the country effect against white walls. Terra cotta accents in the art, the clay pots holding the tree and plants, the brick trim of the chimney and fresh flowers on the table, are set against the rich patina of the wood floors, adding instant drama to this country room.