‘Take your cue from any global style – and avoid the dreaded ‘themed room’ – by juxtaposing eclectic elements of pattern, colour and form with – in this case – elegant, traditional shapes and materials. Whether your budget stretches to designer pieces or thrift shopping rules – follow the pointers below for a look that is directional and full of personality, yet won’t date.’

A rustic Italian interior design scheme elevated with pretty palazzo styling, perfect for an elegant conservatory or garden room.

1. Pick a pastel palette, then add accents

A pretty ‘almost-pastel’ palette comes alive with the addition of rainbow bright accents. The softer elements promote quiet relaxation while the livelier hues add vibrancy and an uplifting feel. For the most part – and it’s always all about proportion – stick to muted pastels such as blush pink, gentle lilac, baby blue, sand, soft mint and natural linen hues. Then, by way of decorative accessories and detailing, add in a handful of brighter shades such as teal, magenta, orange and violet.

2. Set the scene: choose your backdrop

Inspired by a pattern on 15th Century, Italian, tin-glazed pottery, this elegant hand-printed wallpaper from the Rapture & Wright design studio, available through Telescope Style to order by the metre, provides the perfect backdrop. Use on all four walls or team with a toning but slightly darker shade of blue interior emulsion. For a crisper, more modern look with plenty of contrast, paint the surrounding walls a toning, ivory white hue.

3. Think practically: room function and storage needs

First and foremost, when it comes to furniture and layout you need to be practically-minded. Think about who is using the room, how many people you need to comfortably accommodate, either seated for eating or relaxation. Also consider how much and what type of storage you require. The entrances and exits to the space will then inform the room layout. Aim for easy, unimpeded access to each different activity area.

4. Focus on shape and silhouette

This scheme is loosely inspired by the decorative flamboyance of Italianate villas and palazzos but also simpler rustic Italian interior design. Hence scrolling lines and sinuous curves are a recurring feature on furniture and accessories. Decorative wrought-ironwork on a stone topped console takes centre stage, while a petite bench sofa lends its neat, pretty silhouette. The curvaceous detailing continues on colourful, accent accessories with traditionally shaped – yet fun and modern resin cutlery, beautiful stoppered glass bottles and charming, framed, dried flowers. 

5. Layer textures and materials: opt for natural fibres

Linens and silks are your go-to fabrics for fusing honest, rustic appeal with a more elevated, grander feel. Pleated silk shades made from vintage Indian textiles, silk Ikat scatter cushions hand-loomed in Uzbekistan and jacquard-woven linen tablecloths with intricate, Hungarian motifs add eclecticism. Beautiful, large scale, canvas paintings hinting at dreamlike, pastel landscapes and almost Impressionist, abstract florals add exquisite texture. Team with the real thing by filling vintage Chinoiserie jugs with armfuls of blowsy, summer blooms to inject energy and vivacity. All that remains is to fling open the doors, lay up the outdoor table and serve an al fresco, summer lunch party!

Pictured above, clockwise from bottom left:

  • Pressed flower framed wall art with hand-written, vintage botanical inscription, by European twentieth-century originals specialists All-Origine in Italy. Contact directly for stockists.
  • Original canvases from the Jessica Zoob fine art collection. Contact the studio directly for pricing and information.
  • Vintage Asian ceramics, from a selection, at Telescope Style
  • Jacquard-woven, pale yellow, linen tablecloth with Hungarian-inspired motifs, by Julia Brendel, various sizes available, through Telescope Style
  • ‘Honorine’ acrylic spoons from the ‘Tradition Française’ collection by French firm Sabre. Contact directly for stockists.
  • Vintage Indian saree, pleated silk lampshades, by Samarkand Design, through Telescope Style
  • Antique natural linen upholstered sofa, try Vinterior for similar, Napoleon III style French upholstered sofas.
  • Pink silk Ikat cushion, by Rosanna Lonsdale, through Telescope Style
  • ‘Woodcroft’ wrought-iron and blue-stone console table, 81cmH x 160cmW x 40cmD, contact One World directly for pricing & availability.
  • ‘Big Jars’ hand-blown glass, stoppered bottles by Elizabeth Lyons. Available in a range of sizes and colours through Holly Hunt‘s London showroom.
  • Background: ‘Majolica’ Italianate hand-printed wallpaper in pale blue, £25/metre (min. order 10 metres), by Rapture & Wright, through Telescope Style

Author: Annabel Smith

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