Decorating Your Home for a Casual Look

A casual bedroom

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Do you long for a casual style room that is homey, warm, comfortable, and inviting? Who doesn't want to be comfortable in their own home? If you want to put together a casual style room, learn the basic elements that combine to create a truly casual room.

For starters, casual rooms have simple details, textured elements in fabrics and accessories, restful horizontal lines, soft upholstery, low-luster surfaces, and arrangements that avoid perfect symmetry.

Details are simple, and the elements are rectangular or softly curved. A room decorated in a casual style is the perfect place to have a touch of whimsey. Use an old or reconstructed birdhouse or a wooden candlestick for a lamp base, stack pieces of old luggage for a side table, use a low vintage ironing board for a coffee table.

Casual decorating is easily incorporated into rustic, French Country, cottage, Shabby Chic, or American Country decorating styles.

With people enjoying more relaxed lifestyles, many homes today are decorated using the elements of casual decorating. But any home can incorporate the elements into a guest room, country kitchen, guest room, or bath. The elements of a casual style of decorating can sneak into most any room and make it feel comfortable.

The Elements of a Casual Style of Decorating

Use any or all of these tips to bring the casual decorating style to your rooms.

  • Furniture in a casual interior is soft and comfortable. Upholstered pieces are usually oversized and slipcovered.
  • Many pieces of upholstered furniture are covered in neutral colors, such as tan, gray, beige, or off-white. But other colors are used, too. Soft pastels give a peaceful feeling. Or try darker tones such as navy, rust, olive or forest green, wine, and cranberry for punch.
  • Fabrics on furniture and pillows are usually textured, rather than shiny. Interesting weaves of natural fibers like cotton, linen, wool are typical. New synthetic weaves give a natural look and add durability.
  • For special accents on upholstered pieces, add ruffles, pleats, buttons, ribbon, or cording. Contrasting colored details incorporate the full range of colors in the room.
  • To achieve a casual look, pieces are often long, large, and horizontal, rather than vertical and tall and petite. Tables are chunky and of a large scale, which gives a comfortable feeling, while providing space for storage and spreading out. This helps to create a restful look.
  • A room decorated in a casual style is the perfect place for found items of wicker, iron, and rattan, or flea market finds. Old antiques fit in well.
  • A room decorated in a casual style often has the furniture arranged on the diagonal, cutting off sharp corners. Matched pieces are not required, as the focus is on easy.
  • An ottoman is essential for comfort. Add a large wooden or rattan tray to convert it to a coffee table.
  • Light woods are often used for furniture pieces and wood flooring. Oak and pine are the most popular, either painted or finished with a flat, low luster varnish to protect the grain.
  • Hammered iron, antiqued brass, wrought iron, porcelain, or carved wood are used for the hardware on doors and drawers.
  • Collections of treasured or found items are often arranged to add the casual look. The shelf of a bookcase or corner tabletop is the perfect place for an arrangement of treasures.
  • Bedrooms in a casual style home must have a mountain of pillows and a comfortable quilt.
  • Window coverings in a casual room usually start with shutters, blinds or shades for privacy and light control. They're enhanced with simple valances of fabrics, often layered over non-traditional drapery hardware. Add a touch of whimsy here using a tree branch or old iron pipe for a curtain rod. Drapery panels often hang at the sides or use long iron nails or notched tree branches for tie-backs.
  • Details on window treatments are simple. Contrast lining fabric peeking out from the sides, cording or wide contrast banding, or tab tops with buttons or ribbon details dress up the window--but not too much! Add a simple swag of fabric or fabric tie-backs if you must.
  • Floors in a casual style room are hardwood, tile, stone, or stained concrete. If a carpet is used, it should not be too plush. Rather chose sisal, berber, or long, shaggy styles or subtle geometric woven patterns.
  • Rooms decorated in a casual style have light fixtures made of wrought iron, tin, pewter, or wood. Simple chandeliers look old in wrought iron or antiqued metals. Or electrify a hanging pan rack or hang a rack of antlers. Add small fabric-covered lampshades on the small candle lights. Or select a chandelier that burns real candles for a really warm, homey feeling.
  • Almost anything you have around the house becomes a decorative accessory in a room decorated in a casual style. Gather pillows, books, boxes, candlesticks, birdhouses, and flowers and put them everywhere. Easy-to-keep plants or silk plants add color and texture, and candles give a warm, welcoming glow and fragrance.
  • Artwork of country, casual themes is simply framed using wooden frames, either painted or stained.
  • The dining table of a room decorated in a casual style would be set with rugged stoneware, textured woven or fabric placemats, coordinated napkins, heavy glasses, stainless flatware, wooden bowls, and accessories of iron or pewter. The colors of the table should enhance the theme of the room, using either bold floral patterns, plain pieces, or soft, comfortable pastels.
  • Keep in mind that a room decorated in a casual style should be:
  • Use a casual style wherever you want to create a warm, inviting atmosphere.

For the opposite of casual style see these elements of formal style decorating.