By Ande Waggener
The American cowboy and the Wild West style are alluring and enduring symbols. Why?
Standing for independence, self-reliance, courage, and strength, the cowboy ethic is something every individualist wants to achieve. Balancing work and freedom with simplicity, the cowboy spirit is a solid foundation for a great life. It’s also a solid foundation for a great interior design.
Modern interior design is more than just a look. It’s a feel. Good design doesn’t just affect the visual senses. It evokes emotions. This is why the cowboy look can be such a powerful interior design style. And thankfully, it’s one that can gallop into any décor, from traditional to modern.
Along with the outlaw Wild West, gone are the days when cowboy styling must be relegated to ranches or log homes. You no longer need wood everything or antlers hanging on the wall to evoke the Western aesthetic.
To achieve a current interior design that conjures the freedom of wide open spaces, try out these eight elements.
1. Use Cowboy Colors
The colors that suggest cowboy are a combination of neutral tones like tans, browns, and beiges brought together with warmer tones like mustard yellows or deep reds.
You can stick with just the neutrals, but you’ll get a more current look if you balance browns with lighter tones.
2. Include Rough Wood in Your Design
You don’t have to have log walls, but good cowboy design needs wood. It needs wood that is more than just a material used for furniture. The wood must stand out, even if it’s something as small as a twig. But if you can throw in an irregular wood accent wall as well, you are well on your way to a yee-haw design.
3. Add Elements of Wrought Iron and Tin
Wrought iron is simple to add into a modern room. For example, you can do it with curtain rods. Or you can do it with headboards.
Tin is also easy to include in your accessories.
4. Drive in the Horses and the Cows
What’s a cowboy without a horse and a cow? Effective cowboy styling includes horse and cow motifs.
You don’t have to be totally on point with cowhides (although if that’s your thing, go for it).
You can be just as effective and subtler with a cowhide pillow. Or you can simply add a horse accessory like a bookend or an antique wooden horse.
5. Bring in at Least One Piece of Leather Furniture
You don’t need a massive leather presence, such as in the first photo in this article, but leather needs to show up someplace. Can you imagine a cowboy without the sexy creak of leather?
6. Incorporate Western Fabrics and Textiles
Southwestern fiber designs, heavy wool, denim, gingham, simple plaids, and burlap all work well in cowboy styling. The Southwestern designs will have the strongest impact. But a subtler statement comes about with checks, plaids, and denim.
7. Sprinkle Around Some Cowboy Symbols
You know what I’m talking about. It’s the kind of thing you associate with cowboys and the Old West.
When you think “cowboy,” you think of hats and boots. You think of rope. (Notice you don’t need to include an actual lasso in your design. You could just combine rope with some rustic wood and create a shelf.)
You also think of spurs, guitars, oil lamps, and of course, horseshoes.
On a side note, you’ll need to decide whether to hang the horseshoe facing up or down. Some believe that it must open upward so your luck doesn’t run out. Some believe it must open downward so it showers luck on those below it. Maybe both beliefs are true, in which case, you can’t go wrong.
8. Find a Place for a Rocking Chair
Can you picture a cowboy kicking back at the end of a long day on the ranch? Doesn’t he look just right in a rocking chair?
Rocking chairs are the perfect representation of simplicity and good rest after a day’s work. A wooden rocking chair will add cowboy style to any room.
Now that you know the eight basic elements of modern cowboy styling, you can choose how you put them together in your room design. Keep in mind that the bigger the element’s presence, the more it will scream “cowboy!” The most effective use of the elements is a sparing touch of each.
Don’t overload your room with leather, wood, and cowboy symbols. Keep the bulk of your design mainstream and then just add small touches of each of the above elements, and you’ll end up with just enough rugged individualism to inspire without overwhelming.
Have you found a way to introduce a touch of cowboy to your décor? What has worked for you?
Images used with permission, courtesy of www.shutterstock.com