Belfast Telegraph

Home Life

Home on the Range

by Gabrielle Fagan

Life on the frontier or in a rugged rural retreat are the wild or tame decor choices this season. Gabrielle Fagan tracks down the key looks...

Play-it-safe decorators may already be hunkering down for Autumn in that time-honoured way - piling on old and familiar cosy throws and cushions - but the adventurous should explore decor's wild side.

There's a new rugged and real 'wilderness' look sweeping into style, which is either evocative of Wild West plains and cowboy ranches or, for the more intrepid, conjuring the dramatic Arctic tundra.

But don't fret if your wanderlust only extends to taking a short trip to the countryside. A traditional rustic woodland theme, with a style landscape teeming with creatures great and small, is still featuring strongly in collections.

"Warm and cosy in essence, 'Tundra' takes its influence from the distinctive timeless native traditions and breathtaking wilderness of the Arctic Circle," explains Fiona Lambert, vice president of brand design and development at George Home, which is rapidly gaining a reputation for slick on-trend ranges and is embracing both looks.

"We see 'Hibernate' as a softer, more tranquil country look, capturing autumn and narrating its colour changes through a subtle print and colour palette, and enhanced by key woodland characters and iconic images of forests and falling leaves for photographic wall prints."

Whichever way you journey - far and wide or closer to home - it's nature, tame or wild in tooth and claw, that's ruling in rooms.

It's your choice whether you seek refuge with nothing more threatening than squirrels and those ubiquitous stags, or bravely strike out and shelter with bears and wolves.

Woodland Way

While tranquil rustic sanctuaries reflect a traditional country landscape, there are two trend trails to follow. Take to the Highlands with hunting-lodge style tartan touches and stags heads, or opt for whimsy with quirky animal motifs.

"Combining a sense of adventure and escapism, this trend stems from a love of the outdoors and a back-to-basics approach to rustic living," says Andrew Tanner, head of home design at Sainsbury's.

"Mixing motifs sourced from the natural world, heavy plaids and Argyll knits, the feel is textural and tactile. Wood and leather finishes and a warm colour palette add to the authentic, aged feel, while enamel and ceramic pieces help create a crisp, contemporary version of country style."

Capture the Style: Stags - still alive and kicking in decor - are an essential trophy for homes mimicking a country lodge look. In Spaces' British Deer Wall Stickers, £40, are spookily realistic, and equally impressive is Gisela Graham's Large Wall Hanging Reindeer Head (right), £60, from The Contemporary Home.

Pheasant-themed accessories from House of Fraser couldn't be more appropriate and, a bonus, some are currently reduced. Linea Pheasant Place Mat Sets are down to £14 from £20, and matching Coaster Set, £7 from £10. Complement with two framed prints, Linea Highlands Pheasant & Feather Framed Wall Art Set, £50.

If tartan's your taste, the Linea Grey And Red Plaid Sham Cushion is a steal at £18 (down from £45), while Marks & Spencer has a lovely Moon Graphite Checked Throw, £79.

For a more fanciful woodland interpretation, feature a few of the many critters in clothes scampering over collections. Hats seem to be a favourite for creature comfort, with Next's sheep, who adorns a 3D Photographic Sheep Cushion, £14, wearing a flat cap, while the fox of Tesco's Hey Foxy Mug, £2.50, has a top hat.

Natural Choice: George Home's popped a woolly hat on a squirrel; Watercolour Squirrel Cushion, £8, and its All Good Things Are Wild & Free Cushion, £8, seems to sum up the theme.

Settler Spirit

Nomadic, pioneering and free-spirited, this look evokes the rolling prairies of the Wild West, or for those with real decor wanderlust, the chilly, wintry beauty of a snowbound vista.

"We've embraced a raw, innate landscape and underpinned it with a characteristic colour spectrum of brown, charcoal and neutral hues, complemented by rusty orange and golden tones, to add warmth and richness," says George Home's Lambert. "Add texture with rustic linens, chunky knits, faux fur and mohair for luxurious comfort and detail, in designs featuring tribal prints, animals and embroidered landscapes. Carved imitation bone accessories are a perfect finishing touch."

Capture the Style: Wood panelling's essential for a timbered cabin retreat, and faux-effect Wood Panelling Wallpaper, £17.99 per roll, Wallpaper Direct, avoids the need for DIY. Alternatively, Cole & Son Woods Foil Wallpaper, £87 a roll, from Fashion Wallpaper, could conjure a bleak winter forest landscape.

George Home's collection, featuring faux fur and wilderness creatures, is perfect for that striking remote log cabin look. Tapestry Bear Cushion and Tapestry Wolf Cushion (above), both £10; a Faux Fur Throw, £25, and dramatic Ram's Head Ornament, £18 (re-stocked end of October). has chosen relaxed Wild West prairie chic, with Check Duvet Sets from £15; set of two Antique Traveller's Trunks, £99, and a Skull And Antler Wall Plaque, £49. A frontier look's similarly echoed by Sainsbury's, with a Navajo Cushion, £14, and suitably inspiring Seek Adventure Wooden Wallart plaque (above), £12. Set the mood with an impressive Antler Chandelier, which starts from £375 at Alexander & Pearl.

Natural Choice: Rustle a steer, cowboy-style. Abigail Ahern Edition Grey Highland Cow Head (left), £75, from her new range at Debenhams.

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