Design Hints

Simply Country

Pick up helpful tips that will help you hone your home's look to favor simplicity over clutter.

The primitive and Early American inspirations that guide Sharon Pitre's decorating lend themselves to a look that tends more toward streamlined than cluttered. Here are some of the ways Sharon makes it work in her Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada, home:

Mix old and new for a similar effect: To stretch your decorating budget, look beyond antiques stores to get the look you love. A reproduction butter churn in Sharon's living room (purchased from a discount home decor store) has just as much charm as the antique one in the breakfast area -- at a much lower price tag.

Alter pieces to suit your needs: Remove a cabinet door to show off a collection to better effect, or hang a corner shelf sideways, as Sharon did with a corner display rack installed horizontally in the guest bedroom. If the item is not an antique or collectible, consider giving it a new finish; Sharon painted a trio of baskets hung from the dining room ceiling red, beige and blue to better suit her palette.

Use fabric to introduce pattern and texture: Drape a coverlet over the back of a chair or sofa, hang a bonnet or stockings from a peg or hook, cover a cabinet door with a patchwork quilt, or fill an empty space with a stack of folded linens. Don't have enough old linens? Dye newer ones with tea or coffee to instantly age them.

Raise your displays: High shelves, display rails or ceiling hooks draw the eye upward and maximize your wall space's decorating value. Hang baskets, buckets, lanterns, linens, artwork and even small furnishings from hooks or pegs, where they will command more attention than if they were simply placed atop a table or within a cupboard. Sharon smartly showcases a green footstool and a child's chair on a peg rack in her dining room.

This home was featured in the May 2012 issue.

Written by Lisa Sloan
Photographed by Bill Mathews
Styled by Gloria Gale