In When Harry Met Sally, a couple’s apartment furnishing debate comes to a head over what Billy Crystal’s character deems “a stupid wagon-wheel, Roy Rogers, garage-sale coffee table.” Unfortunately, Western style is often stereotyped as having an overabundance of wagon-wheel, Roy Rogers, garage-sale coffee tables; logs; animal trophies; and Native American accessories. This misconception gives Western style an undeserved bad rap. Designers today are interpreting Western decor traditions with thoughtful mixes of modern and rustic, and cozy and chic. It’s time to shift our perception of Western style and incorporate it in new ways.
2. Use quilt patterns in new ways. A traditional quilt pattern takes on a new use as a wall tile pattern in this bathroom. Designer Suzan Fellman recommends choosing a grouting color that matches the colored tiles, as she did with the grout between the red tiles here.
3. Update the trophies. This buck silhouette emits playfully positive chi in this bedroom. Look closely and you’ll spy another contemporary approach to wildlife art: a colorful bear portrait in the bathroom.
4. Mix in modern details. This kitchen has big Western cabin bones — a stone fireplace, wood cabinets, large exposed trusses. But the restrained details add modern flair. The graphic rug is a fresh interpretation of Navajo style; the oversized pendant in glossy black adds a big, modern touch.
Of course, you don’t have to go to the extreme of using a facade completely made of logs. Log details can add a rustic modern touch in smaller doses. A custom-cut log design adds warm Western style to this bathroom ceiling.
6. Repurpose horseshoes in an artistic way. On this animal rescue ranch, kicking off dusty boots and hanging one’s hat upon opening the door are everyday occurrences. Designer Fellman (see the second photo) composed horseshoes found on the property and then had a metalworker solder them together.
9. Rethink the antlers. The form is widely available in resin or ceramic versions these days. Jason Miller designed this striking ceramic sconce. Feather wallpaper adds a Native American element in unexpected colors.
10. Work in some caramel leather. Interior designer Brandi Hagen had fun playing with her client’s penchant for Western style in this sitting area off the master bedroom. A coffee table upholstered in warm-colored durable caramel leather anchors a bedroom sitting area. Western prints, a colorful horse painting and a graphic Thomas Paul thoroughbred pillowround out the accessories, while a restrained color palette keeps things from turning too themey. Coffee table: Century Furniture
11. Know that it’s always OK to celebrate the cowboy. In this Denver study, artwork by Duke Beardsley adds Western range style. It hangs over an elegant mantel reclaimed from a Scottish castle. Sturdy leather furniture contrasts with the soft fabrics and polished chandelier.
15. Mix in drywall or plaster with reclaimed wood and stone. The white walls in this bedroom let the Montana moss rock fireplace and rough ceiling beams and planks stand out. The rest of the color and material palettes pick up on the colors found in the stone and wood.
By the way, no matter what Billy Crystal’s character said, I’m still pro–Roy Rogers, garage-sale wagon wheels, whether used for a coffee table, a light fixture or yard art or cleverly integrated into a stair railing, as you see here.
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