Italy is a country that’s rich in history and character – as well as good food and wine! Spending time with family and friends is valued and so the Italian home has become extremely important as the location for those famous two to three course lunches in the middle of the day. The luxurious-meets-cosy-family-hub approach is appealing. Why not bring Tuscany to Torquay or Taunton?
Italian walls traditionally have stone meeting with plastered walls. Natural stone is considered perfect as it is, while stucco walls are plastered and often embrace faux-painting techniques to make them more interesting. Whatever wall you have, the idea is to make it look textured and old to hint at Italy’s rich history. Stock up on light yet warm colours such as apricot and beige, with touches of blue and green for that Mediterranean vibe. The key is to not be afraid to experiment. If you feel you need a finishing touch, metal accessories, especially those with scrolled designs, are ideal.
I could sum up your ideal Italian furniture in three words: wood and metal! Wood is at the core of any room and endless finishes range from copper and bronze to brown and black. If you’ve already invested in a pallet coffee table or dark leather sofa, this is a really good way to show either of them off and combine our own popular furniture styles with those we’re borrowing from Tuscany. As for the metal: metal tables with stone or ceramic tops are en vogue and a safer way of edging towards Tuscany if you’re feeling less confident.
Stone will seal that authentic Italian home. Marble and travertine are your top options, although they won’t be for you if you dislike any signs of wear and tear at home. Travertine isn’t the shiniest of materials but Italians love its connection to the Roman Colosseum in 72 A.D. It also possesses many of the same qualities as marble and is similarly priced at up to £35 per square foot – with the added bonus of being warm underfoot.
Being so close to Spanish styling, terracotta tiles are also a popular option, but in general those richer colours that move away from neutrals are best reserved for Spanish style interiors. Whitewashed hardwood and natural stone get a big tick while dark oak just misses the mark.
To tie your walls, furniture and flooring together, hang mirrors with wrought-iron frames on your living room walls or snap up a brass chandelier or two. Lanterns are particularly budget friendly and won’t date, as are terracotta pots to house your flowers in the garden. You’re likely to find fruits and vegetables grouped together in framed artworks in a true Italian home but for me, this brings back memories of still-life drawing at school. There’s also a fine line between reflecting the style and turning your home into an Italian grotto so keeping your own accessories and only drawing from one or two Italian influences would be my tip. No coloured shutters, ivy framing windows or herb pots lined up in the kitchen.
If you have the extra money though, there’s always an exception to be made for the wine cellar!
If you need help recreating the Italian style, post your job – whether that’s for a flooring specialist or a plasterer. Up to three local tradesmen will contact you and you’ll be able to view their profile pages, before hiring the right man or woman for the job!