In the Tuscan Style '…create the state of mind and spirit that is Tuscany'

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“Top 10 design challenges when decorating in the Tuscan Style.”

Avoid common (and expensive) pitfalls when creating that little piece of Tuscany in your home and garden.


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Specific Tuscan Decorating Questions

Here are some specific questions about Tuscan decorating, answered by our interior designer, Linda.

Remember, however, you may want to contact a local interior designer to visit your home to offer personalized advice on your Tuscan decorating project.

What color should I paint my woodwork in my living room. I have an oak floor and the walls are a yellow gold and I want to create a Tuscan look. Do I go light or dark? Nancy

We can certainly understand & appreciate your desire to create a Tuscan style in your home—the colors, the warmth…the feel. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer…there are only more questions.

There are a number of factors to consider. Is the woodwork you wish to paint small or large, i.e. baseboards or wainscoting? Also, your oak floors can be a factor as they come in a variety of colors that can influence the choice of color for your woodwork.

I would encourage you to purchase the eBook, Decorating in the Tuscan Style, as it has been created to assist people to make informed decisions when it comes to decorating their homes and gardens using Tuscan decor.

I am starting in the kitchen. I have painted my kitchen a cornflower yellow, the cabinets are a medium oak color. I have white wood blinds on all windows. I was thinking that an orange valance on both windows and sliding door would be nice. I have yet to pick counter tops and flooring. I have also painted one wall in my living room a medium blue, the other walls are a light tan. My furniture is brown suede. The wood is walnut. I haven’t done anything else, blank slate. Any Ideas???? Bridgette

It sounds like you’re having fun with the colors and starting to create a particular mood. It’s usually the finishing touches that pull a design together, so choosing a Tuscan style countertop and natural-looking material for flooring will help tie this all together and unify the whole palette. Also, new window coverings could be “playful” and pick up all the accent colors you’re using.

Quite frankly, though, I think you could benefit from the eye of an interior designer onsite so you get a better visual understanding of your space and “shape” what you already have into a Tuscan style. It’s well worth the time and expense to consult a designer because countertops and flooring can be expensive.

“The Tuscan-Inspired Kitchen” chapter in our eBook will also help guide you in making countertop and flooring choices.

I love lots of bright colors—bright blues, greens, purple, flashes of yellow, pink things. I love multi color decoration. Is there any room for that in the Tuscan style? ShaLayla

Oh yes! Your accessories, artwork and fabrics are wonderful areas where you can use splashes of fun colors. Color cheers up any room. Bright colors show a lively personality. Tuscan décor is all about colorful accents.

My main goals for my kitchen and living room are yellows and gold with subtle reds. Can you please advise me? Therese

You’ve already strongly defined where you want to go. Now either you need a tester (try the paint colors yourself if you are a do-it-yourselfer) or use the eye of a designer to help you pick out the “best” Tuscan colors for your kitchen and living room.

And this is might be a good time to read the chapter on “The Colors of Tuscan Design” in the eBook, Decorating in the Tuscan Style.

Apricot is a color I would like to use in my living room, but because my house faces west, I’m concerned that this color will get absorbed by the afternoon sun. The dining room has two windows. Due to the fact that the side window faces an enclosed area, natural lighting is almost nil. My living and dining rooms are divided by an archway wall. The rooms are very small. I believe your eBook may be just what I need to get started. Delores

In our opinion, the beauty of Tuscan decorating is in the colors drawn from nature which provides us with a truly multi-colored palette. In terms of multi-colored decorations, or accent pieces, Majolica pottery is known for its wonderful combinations of colors and hues. If you are considering painting your walls bright colors, we would suggest considering lighting and furniture.

In our eBook, Decorating in the Tuscan Style, we have dedicated a Chapter to “The Colors of Tuscan Design” which includes using a Tuscan “Inspiration piece” to decide on a Tuscan color scheme. As well, we’ve included a full color palette from a widely known paint manufacturer so you can easily choose colors for your Tuscan decorating project.

I have just remodeled my kitchen and put a wrought iron planter on the wall. What kind of plants or flowers do you suggest? Fake, of course. I have put some grape vines and other green plants, but it looks like it needs something more. Lisa

Here are a few ideas to think about: consider hanging a braid of garlic on the wall and put small pot(s) of fresh herbs around, especially if you use them in your cooking. If you want to stay with artificial plants/flowers, a vine would be in the Tuscan style. Could a wrought iron wall hanger hold a serving platter—Majolica styled—colorful & functional? Another thought could be to put candles (likely pillar type) among the greenery—they would give the arrangement some height (there are lots of colors and varieties available).

My husband and I are in the process of building a new home (7000 + sq. ft.) on 2 acres in a country setting in Oregon, USA. Although the home doesn’t look Tuscan from the outside, I’m designing and decorating the interior of the home in the Tuscan/Italian theme.

I’m in the process of faux painting now. We installed hickory hard wood flooring in the dining room and tile in the foyer/rotuda, kitchen and passage ways to the main core of the house.

We are carpeting the living room since the area is very open, large and we are afraid of an echo affect. We think the carpeting will soften the openness of the area.

I do have a question of you. My husband wants to paint all of the interior doors, crown molding and base board molding white. Our daughter thinks it will look out of place with the wood floors. I’ve looked on-line at some Tuscan villas for rent in Italy and there are mixed woods. What is the norm as far as trim and crown molding for the Tuscan style? I thoroughly enjoy your book and your updates. Pat

If it’s going to be a painted trim, in Tuscan decorating style, I prefer not to use “straight” white. Stark white can look “brand new” and that is not the old-world Tuscan look.

There are so many options in your paint colors for the moldings. You can consider light, medium, or dark finishes. If light—use subtle shades (slightly tinted colors) to give a “patina” effect—for an aged appearance. If a medium tone is desired—a little more colorful—consider an olive green or terracotta tint (depending on your wall color) for a more colorful contrast.

NOTE: We generally are looking for contrast in molding with Tuscan style decorating. If dark coloring is preferred—for strong contrast—then pick complementary tones of your wall colors, e.g. deep browns. You can also faux finish your trim and moldings for even more of a Tuscan style.

If you’re not sure how to proceed, you can always ask the advice of a designer. Our eBook, Decorating in the Tuscan Style, also covers this topic in our chapter on “Tuscan Wall Treatments.”

And just a note about the carpet. The beauty of carpets is that they dampen sound (and with all the hard surfaces recommended in Tuscan decorating, you need textiles to soften the room, both visually and “aurally”). Antique rugs (or rugs with an appearance of antiquity) may be added for warmth, color and design.

For those, like yourself, choosing wall-to-wall carpeting, decorating in the Tuscan style becomes more about color and texture than about flooring. Other elements in the room will contribute to that Tuscan feel —like wall texture and color, furniture, lighting, and accessories.

Photo of rounded arches
Rounded arches

I have just begun the planning stages of a new look to my long room (30 feet) which includes kitchen, dining and informal sitting room. There are lots of windows (two windows both 2ft. x 84" on each side of a picture window which is 6ft. x 84" along one wall. On the other wall are three narrow 2ft. x 84" windows, spaced about 8 ft. apart.

What is a “typical” Tuscan style window dressing? I have just bought 21 yards of gorgeous fabric, which led me to try going Tuscan, but I don’t know what a typical style window treatment looks like…drapes or valances or swag? Pleated, flowing, scarf…? Please help if you can. Kerry

As a suggestion, because one set of your windows are only 2 ft. wide, simple side panels can give the appearance of the windows being a bit wider and will emphasize their length. You can add hardware, either a wrought iron or an oil-rubbed bronze rod to finish the Tuscan theme.

Our eBook, Decorating in the Tuscan Style, has a chapter called “Tuscan Style Textiles—Window Treatments & Soft Furnishings” which discusses this topic in detail and will provide you examples of Tuscan style fabrics and finishes.

However, this is a good opportunity to use the services of a window covering specialist. Ask for someone who has an expertise in Tuscan window coverings. You’ll have no trouble finding someone who can help even if you need to call a few interior design firms.

For a comprehensive approach to Tuscan decor, check out our 162 page eBook, Decorating in the Tuscan Style, for loads of ideas, planning forms, how tos and photos—lots and lots of pictures. The eBook provides tips and techniques to get you started and to keep you going with your Tuscan decorating project.


Cover of 'Decorating in the Tuscan Style'


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