Wooden floors – getting that ‘country cottage’ look on a budget
While shabby chic is still king of the interior design styles this year, that perennial favourite the ‘country cottage’ look is still as popular as ever. Granted, it may look somewhat out of place in an ultra-modern minimalist apartment, but you can still pull off that cottage look in a suburban semi or a Victorian terrace if you go about it in the right way. And the key that locks this particular look together and can make all the difference is the floor.
Oak boards and that rustic look
The look to aim for is a very ‘traditional’ look that emulates the solid oak boards you usually find in a country cottage. Forget parquet – you’re very unlikely to find a country cottage with a parquet floor, unless your idea of a ‘country cottage’ is a manor house! So go rustic – a real country cottage has plain boards that have plenty of depth and character (and may even be a little bit on the wonky side!).
But that doesn’t mean you have to go for a ‘distressed’ look to get the country cottage feel. Cottage owners are actually rather house-proud people, mainly because there’s very little storage space in a traditional cottage, so avoiding a cluttered look is important if you want to avoid tripping over all the time. Traditional country cottage wooden floors will also have developed a certain patina to them, thanks to years of waxing and polishing. So the tone of a traditional cottage wooden floor is incredibly deep and rich that still holds on to that warmth that’s so important for the final look.
So how do you get all that character and rustic charm on a budget? Well, forget about just giving the floor a rough sanding and then slathering on a dark oak stain – there’s actually far more skill involved in achieving that perfect cottage look. The boards need to almost ‘shimmer’ when you look at them, to create that iridescent look that is achieved through years of polishing and layer upon layer of wax. The stain has to be just right – too dark and you risk swamping the rest of the décor and ending up with a murky, dingy room that’s uninviting. Too light and you miss the whole country cottage look entirely.
A deep, nutty brown with hints of burgundy and gold is the look you’re going for, and to achieve this you need to talk to the experts. They will be able to create a stain or wax polish look that will give you that depth of tone without being too overwhelming or leaving you light, bright and breezy but distinctly un-cottage-y!
A perfect base
Rustic doesn’t mean rough. Just like any other décor style, country cottage wooden floors should be smooth and even (unless you live in a genuine ‘country cottage’, when you’ll probably find that there isn’t a level surface in the entire place). To create a good starting point, you need to make sure that your floor boards are sanded and prepared properly. While you may encounter genuinely uneven flooring in a 16th Century cottage, a more modern home should have smooth, even floors that don’t attempt to trip up anyone who dares to walk across them! Also remember that, although you’re going for the whole ‘rustic’ look, we do live in a modern age where heating costs are considerably more than they were a couple of hundred years ago. So get your floor sanding experts to ensure that before they stain and polish your floor, any gaps in the floor boards are filled and that your floor is thermally efficient as well as great looking.
The country cottage look is a wonderful, warm and homely style that, if you pull it off, can really add character to a house. Get the floor right from the outset, and everything else should fall naturally into place!