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Nothing inspires a good night's sleep like the peace and quiet of a country setting. Far away from all-night sirens and the hum of the city, country slumbers are inspired by fresh breezes and chirping crickets. When we're guided into a deep sleep by these soothing elements, isn't it fitting that the interior environment be as relaxed and inviting?

I think country bedrooms are best filled with pattern and colour, outfitted with vintage treasures, and inspired by the views outside. Here's how I turned a pair of guest rooms into cozy spaces that are ready to welcome visitors.

Look outside

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The best interiors are informed by their natural surroundings. What better place to seek inspiration than the rolling countryside? In this case, both rooms had a distinctly different exposure and view, which allowed me to tailor the mood to the vista beyond. The north room looks out to the apple orchard, corn fields and Georgian Bay in the distance (hence my combination of crisp apple red, soft ochre yellow and cool blue), while the west bedroom is filled with long views of the woods, clouds and sky, and the ski hills of Collingwood (murky grey-greens, soft sky blues and natural flax tones seemed to fit the bill perfectly). Wherever you are, there's inspiration just beyond the windowsill.

Rethink storage

Standard built-in closets can be considered a necessity for rooms that get daily use, but for cottages and country properties that rarely see guests unpacking steamer trunks of garments, a simple solution suffices. I tackled the storage challenge in two distinct ways individually suited to each room. In one room I combined built-in drawers and closets with an open centre nook to create a daybed/hangout area or extra sleeping space. Thinking out of the box with ready-to-go IKEA cabinetry can produce some great results. By adding crown moulding and baseboard detail, I got a custom look for a friendly price. In the other room I opted for an antique European pine armoire to allow a bit of space to hang garments (it was a great deal at $600 from the Christie Antiques Show). In both rooms I added a chest of drawers to amp up the extra stashing space.

Embrace the slope

Anyone with a sloped ceiling has spent time pondering where to apply paint, and how to deal with the tricky condition presented by the angle. Do you wrap the colour up and over? Do you paint the end walls in one colour and the rest in a second colour? Add to it that the slope is rarely, if ever, a perfectly sharp angle when it transitions from flat to sloping, and you'll know why I came up with the solution I did. By installing a piece of chair-rail trim at the top of the vertical wall, just beneath the slope, you can create a crisp delineation between walls and ceiling, allowing you to paint the room in two distinct tones (because I'm always in favour of the "more is more" approach to paint colours).

Mix and mismatch

I've never been one to buy "suites" of furniture, and prefer the casual combination of elements from different sources. Sometimes I find a perfect pair of bedside tables, but it's often a mismatched pair that works for a country bedroom. As long as you find two tables that have a similar scale, height and finish, you can create a match. I nabbed two tables, both with an ochre finish, for $125 and $145. They required no refinishing or restoration, and compliment the blond wood tones of the armoire and dresser.

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Go luxe with lighting

You've heard me say too many times that I like a little sparkle in every room, and the country is no exception. Where a brand new crystal fixture might seem over the top and grandiose, my vintage finds helped me embrace my sow's-ear-into-silk-purse approach. Pot lights are out of character in the country, and a single bulb often isn't bright enough, so multi-arm fixtures can be used to get the appropriate amount of light while injecting a touch of glam factor. The chandelier was a steal at $375 and the crystal bedside lamps were irresistible at $145 for two.

Play up pattern

Think of your room schemes like a patchwork quilt, and layer a multitude of patterns together to create the casual charm befitting a country boudoir. I made a formal red-ground paisley more laid-back by juxtaposing it with perky polka dots, rustic embroidered crewel, and charming ticking stripe. My blue scheme started off with a bird-printed linen, then combined with velvet-backed embroidery, more ticking stripes and more paisley (do you see a paisley theme developing for my country adventure?). By combining a variety of different patterns you'll notice that the colours don't need to match exactly, yet still look wonderful together. This is the laid-back charm of country decor that I love!

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Antique brass bed, dresser, art, quilt - Christie Antiques Show:

Mattress, box spring, bedding, alarm clock, white vase - Sears:

Chandelier - Residential Lighting: 416-537-3138

Bedside tables, chair, art above bed - Around The Block:

Custom spraying of all furniture + built-ins - Benjamin Refinishing: 416-745-2559

Fabric on chair, seat cushion, bed pillows - Telio:

Bedside lamps - Hollace Cluny:

Built-in cabinets - IKEA:

Paint - Para Paints:

Upper walls - Soft Cashmere P5177-24

Lower walls - Desert Sand P5224-14D

Trim - Soapy Water P5223-14D

Cabinetry - Tribeca Square P5207-34

Chair frame, bedside tables - Hottie P5086-75


Headboard - Sarah Richardson Design:

Mattress, box spring, duvet cover, sheets, duvet, pillows, alarm clock, lampshades - Sears:

Bedside tables, blanket box, armoire, stool - Christie Antiques Show:

Bedside lamps, upholstered chairs - Around The Block:

Bed skirt, drapery, chair and headboard fabric - Schumacher, available through Bilborough:

Rug - IKEA:

Chandelier - Elegant Garage Sale 416-322-9744

Chair-rail panelling - Brenlo:

Paint: Para Paints:

Upper walls - After Glow P5215-24

Lower walls - On Location P213-51D

Trim - Soapy Water P5223-14D

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