Design Guide For A Tuscan Style Living Room

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Considered the birthplace of the Italian renaissance, the Italian region of Tuscany has been influencing culture for centuries. The decorating style associated with this region is warm and inviting, with an aged, earthy appearance that relies heavily on natural materials.

The Tuscan style is Mediterranean; influenced by the sea, the warm, sunny climate and the beautiful landscape that rolls over the hills and mountains.

The Southwest U.S. takes naturally to the warm, sunny look of Tuscan design, but you can bring the warmth of the hot, Italian sun, and the intensity of the cool, blue Mediterranean to your home no matter what region of the country you live in.

Your Tuscan-style living room is a relaxing place for your family to enjoy time together, and a welcoming space to bring guests.

Colors

The colors of Tuscany are warm earth tones. Old World style is marked by use of:

  • Gold
  • Yellow
  • Burnt orange
  • Terracotta
  • Olive green
  • Brown
  • Earthy red

The proximity of the Mediterranean Sea is acknowledged with shots of bright blue accents, which give a cool contrast to the predominantly warm color scheme.

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Walls, Floors and Window Coverings

A prime look of Old World decorating style is heavily textured plaster walls. This can be accomplished by actually using plaster to create texture, but is more often achieved by various faux painting techniques that provide a marbled, textured look of depth to the paint.

Some of the faux painting techniques that give the Old World look are:

  • Glazing
  • Sponging
  • Feathering
  • Rag painting

Bring the Mediterranean to your living room with walls glazed in tones of gold and orange. If you want to add drama, one wall painted in a deep red or pumpkin orange will create interest in the room.

Tile is the traditional Tuscan flooring, particularly terracotta or clay tile. As tile can be cold and hard for living room use, a good alternative is hardwood or laminate flooring, with an area rug in warm earth tones to provide softness and a comfortable place for children to sit or stretch out.

Window treatments are often used in Tuscan decor more as a way to frame the window than a way to provide privacy. Use blinds or a shade if privacy is an issue, then accent your windows with draperies in rich, floor-length panels of mid-weight fabrics.

Colors of draperies should accent the rest of the room, and be in keeping with the earth tone color scheme. You can keep the windows low-key by choosing drapes in a color similar, or just a bit darker, than the walls, or create a spotlight for your windows by using draperies in a deep, dramatic color, such as a deep red against gold walls, or olive green against a pale, burnt orange paint.

A valance above your drapery panels adds a nice finishing touch to your window coverings, and brings further attention to a pretty view. A simple, wrought iron curtain rod will complement the curtains without looking too formal.

Furniture

Dark wooden furniture will balance the warm color scheme of your Tuscan living room. The style is rustic, with wooden furniture having an aged, elegant look.

The lines of your living room furniture should be simple, but with touches of ornate carving or inlaid designs. Large, heavy pieces will suit the Old World style, but maintain the proper scale for the size of your room.

A hutch or ornately carved bookcase can display your favorite collectibles, and a coffee table along with one or two side tables will hold lamps, provide a spot to set a glass or dish, and show off artwork.

Set your television in an entertainment center or armoire with doors that can close and conceal video game equipment, movies and clutter. Wrought-iron accents add interest to the wooden furniture and bring the Old World feel to your living room furniture.

A dark leather couch is comfortable, durable and has the presence to hold its own against the dark wood and deep colors of the Tuscan design. Interesting metal stud accents along the arms and back of the couch are a good way to add texture and contrast to the room.

Accessories

Finish off your living room with accessories that make the room feel welcoming and warm. Since the living room is one of the most used rooms in the house, you want to create a space the entire family will enjoy.

  • Lamps and ceiling lights with black wrought iron give good lighting for family activities and maintain the Tuscan style.
  • A collection of majolica or Italian pottery will add cheerful bright color to your hutch or bookshelf.
  • Artwork portraying the beautiful landscapes of Tuscany, the bright Mediterranean Sea or lush vineyards will spark up the walls.
  • A small indoor fountain to provide the tinkling sound of moving water is a wonderful way to liven up your family room. Look for traditional, Old World designs.
  • A tall urn, pitcher or vase looks beautiful displaying a bouquet of silk sunflowers.
  • Set off your fireplace with a screen edged in wrought iron, and a set of black wrought iron fireplace tools.
  • Candles on metal holders give a romantic nighttime glow.

The most important words to remember when decorating your living room in the Tuscan theme are warm, welcoming, earth tone, natural and timeless. You can't go wrong if you keep those concepts in mind when decorating in this cozy, Mediterranean style.

Last Updated: November 20, 2011
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About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

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