Earthy colors and natural materials are two basics for the "old world" style of decorating. To get an idea of the colors we're talking about, go for a walk outside and take notice of the beautiful colors around you, the blue sky, the golden sun, even the chocolate brown of mud in the springtime. Ok, so you don't have a view of the blue/green Mediterranean Sea but you've seen pictures of it haven't you? On that walk, stroll through the produce department of your local grocery store and note the dark purple eggplants, the red peppers, yellow lemons, green olives. These are some of the colors you'll want to consider for your Tuscany decorating. Natural materials will include wood (think rustic, sturdy type furniture), tile (colorful ceramic for wall accents) natural stone for flooring and unpolished metals such as copper, tin, or pewter for accents.
You probably already have some Tuscan influences in your home. Iron scrollwork brackets, terra cotta planters (more about these later), fruit themed artwork, colorful pottery, copper, tin, pewter items, tapestry wall hangings – what was old is new again! Check your garage, attic or flea markets for some of these items.
What could be simpler than lining a sunny windowsill with some pretty little terra cotta pots with Italian herbs (oregano, basil, sage, etc.)? Do you have a section of old wrought iron railing that once graced your front porch? Bring it in, clean it up and get creative. Maybe you could use it for a pot hanger in the kitchen or hang it on the wall for a decorative accent in the family room. How about that old leather trimmed trunk? It may make a great coffee table or storage area. Since colorful tile work is essential for the Tuscan style, how about making your own mosaic masterpiece? Just break up a few pieces of old china, (use safety goggles), apply it with tile adhesive to a terra cotta planter, old vase or whatever you choose, let it dry for 24 hours, grout it and wipe down with a damp sponge.
If you're redoing your walls, a simple way of getting that time-burnished stucco look is to use Venetian plaster, which is simply drywall compound mixed with latex paint. First, paint the walls a Tuscany color such as gold, cream or even a terra cotta red. Then spread the plaster over the wall in varying thicknesses – let some of the painted wall show through. Then, you can seal it with a latex sealer if you wish. Or, you may want to check out wallpapers that imitate this look.
Keep in mind, the whole idea is to create a warm, comfortable "lived in" look and you'll get it using these ideas and some of your own.
Jill Kane is the owner of http://www.1st-Home-Decorating-Ideas.com. A site with tips and resources related to home decorating.