Thursday, 10 March 2011

How To Create Belgian Style

Well, hello there. It's YOU! Hurrah!

You're just in time for Part 3 of Inspiration Week: Belgian Style Interiors.

Eeeek! One more day until the Inspiration Journey Linky Party. Are you ready?

I hope this week I've showed you that it's fine to link up ANY kind of inspiration post. Interiors, gardens, clothes, crafts... 

Two questions.

What to wear? Now, I'm thinking this would be a good look. Very in-keeping with today's post, don't you think?

{That dress'll be all dirty when you stand up, mark my words, young lady.}

And do you have your party button?

It's here if you need it:

Modern Country Style

Now that we have the details sorted, let's get on with the show...

First up, what is Belgian Style? My definition would be that it's about combining extreme visual restraint and rustic warmth to create elegant, pared-down rooms with a strong nod to an industrial past.

I've only drawn on the elements that I love from this style. I looked at huge numbers of pictures of this style, discarded what I don't like and have tried to make it my own. See what you think.

The elements I've chosen to focus on create a more restricted version of Modern Country.

Looking at my Belgian Style Inspiration Images (and these are just the tip of the iceberg of the ones I've squirrelled away), I've put together a list of things that I'd consider to be my Top 5 Belgian Style essentials.

Shall I share?

Is a cucumber cool?

Bare wood: almost always unfinished, perhaps waxed at most, which helps to create that essential rustic atmosphere.

A restricted muted palette: The colours used (though colours seems a rather flighty word to use in this slightly sombre context) are restrained greys, taupes, soft browns and off-whites in order to draw your eye to the gorgeousness of what lies within the rooms.

{Hot pink walls might not allow an antique factory cart to speak for itself, y'see. }

A touch of Soft Industrial: By that I mean repurposing beautifully-made objects that have some kind of mechanical past.

Used Furniture: There's nothing new and sparkly about the furniture used in these rooms. The pieces all have a rather battered beauty.

A mix of textures: the colour palette is so restricted and muted, but that's not to say that the rooms need to be visually unappealing. Quite the opposite, in fact. The visual interest springs from an array of different textures. Belgian linen is beautifully nubby and, when mixed with cottons, velvet, weathered wood and wicker, plus wool and cashmere in the colder months, creates the perfect backdrop to highlight beautiful possessions.

{Synthetic is so over, baby. ;-) }

Are you ready for Friday's party? I sooooooooo am. I'm really excited to see what floats your boat.

Or should I say, rather seasonally, what flips your pancake?

Aaah, it was a lovely Pancake Day on Tuesday. We had family over for teatime and made lots and lots and lots of batter and flipped lots and lots and lots of pancakes. Scrumpdiddlyumptious.

{And a very full tummy.}
See you tomorrow, butter beans.

Images via: Cote De Texas, SangMaestro, House Beautiful, Pieter Vandenhout, House Beautiful, Arcobaleno, Unknown, At Ease Interiors, Broc Clark, Belgian Pearls, Anthracite

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Unknown said...

Woaaahhh Sarah, what delicious pictures of restrained Belgian style! I love this look, and it is the same in the gardens, so much creativity but such carefully chosen pieces. I think it only works if you do have really interesting and special\well designed pieces of furniture though because they are really on show. The untreated wood looks wonderful, but I imagine every bit of spill/grease/pawprint leaves an indellible mark? But not going to let a bit of practicality spoil the enjoyment of these glorious rooms!

My post for your party tomorrow is choc full of colour! Have finally decided that I love calm neutrals in my house, and a riot of colour in my garden!

Travel With Lulu said...

I LOVE PANCAKE DAY! I told my husband, no matter where we live in the world, for now on we are celebrating pancake day. I traded in my maple syrup for butter, fresh lemon, and sugar - heavenly! We were all so excited about it, like little kids.

Love these inspirational photos - I certainly couldn't pin Belgium decor - so this is a great education for me. Love it!

I finalized my post today for tomorrow - can't wait to see you there. I'll be wearing something groovy for sure ;) XOL

Susan T said...

I must admit I didn't consider Belgium had a particular style until today. Wow what gorgeous photos, muted colours in the main. I can almost smell the wood.

Erin said...

I never realized how much I like Belgian style, so thanks for opening my eyes!! I love it!


Sarah, your teaching style is so warm and practical. I really enjoyed this post. While it is not exactly my style, I do have the "battered beauty" part down, in my furniture. Love that phrase.

See you tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

This is definately I style I love and I'm sure my husband would much prefer this as to ruffles and whites that I keep trying to bring in. :) I think it's probably easiest to pull off with the right house...I'm really enjoying all your own takes off these different styles. You have a really good eye for picking out the prettiest parts of a room ~
Enjoy your day!

Unknown said...

I did not know the Belgian-style ...
is a bit dark and harsh ... but there are many things I like
A kiss

Janell @ House of Fifty said...

I really enjoyed this post, love a little Belgian style, I think my newly refinished table qualities with its worn natural wood. Fabulous images here! Janell

Anonymous said...

I am seriously in love with these rooms. The pared back natural rustic look is just what floats my boat. I love colour in other peoples homes, but this neutral palette is so serene and calming. This is the epitome of the perfect surroundings in my mind.

This is the best post ever!

Lisa x

It's me said...

Wowwwww Laura...i like this style !!!..have a nice day

Ann-Marie ~ Brambly said...

Love the photos. I can picture myself living in every room.Thank you for stopping by Bramby and following. I'm looking forward to visiting your blog often and gaining fresh inspiration. Have a terrific day!


bj said...

All the photos are wonderful. Altho I am a bit more for color and "fluff", I think I might enjoy living in these rooms. :))
Thanks so much for coming by...hope you will come again soon.

High Street Cottage said...

I love Belgium style, Swedish, German, all of it. They tend to me to go by the "less is more" policy. Which you can really see from the photos you're sharing, Sarah. Wonderful rooms. Hope you have a wonderful weekend if I don't see you, xoxo tami

Tricia said...

LOVB these photos. This is my kind of look. Rustic with refined is so gorgeous!

michele said...

I have always adored Belgian style. i am lucky to have a source close to home who imports gorgeous pieces from Europe, and I often visit just to soak up the vibe. the linen, the scrubbed wood, the raw, the ethereal...hoping to incorporate my Belgian sideboard into this latest makeover. who says it needs to be in a dining room? why not a teen's bedroom for maximum storage and mainly because he loves looking at it?

just picking out an outfit for your party tomorrow. pintuck linen dress just for you.

big hug.


Divine Theatre said...

I would live in Axel Vervoordt's home if he would let me!
Gee whiz, it's so big he might not even know I was there! LOL!

WobiSobi said...

Love the dress you are wearing.. And these interiors are amazing, the feel is so comfortable, and soft. Once again you are inspiring me..

Kelsey said...

These pics are to die for!! I especially love that coffee table with metal paint splattered legs in one of the last pics. Sooooo purty! I'm a new follower and just looove your blog! Thanks for the inspiration!

Rachel Rose Mercantile said...

Sarah,from so far away,I really think your blog is changing my style.I love the soft colors-such a contrast to my usual red & black desires.

Casa Très Chic said...

Laura, the images are perfect.
I absolutely love belgian style, in part because of the shades of greys and beiges and the faded wood.
Congratulations, this post is fabulous.

michelle said...

These are sooo gorgeous!! You find the yummiest pictures my dear!! What a warm and charming sense of style this is, a place the is relaxing, casual and yet elegant! Love it!!!

LindyLouMac said...

Um Belgian Style not something I have ever considered before, but these photos are lovely.

Anonymous said...

Mark my words young lady... Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I love it, Sarah! I always know I'm in for a treat when I come here. Great inspirational photos! I really didn't know what Belgian Style was. I'm fascinated by the architecture of these homes. I think your eye is drawn to design because of the muted colors.

I shall wear a ruffled t-shirt and jeans, tomorrow. I don't want to outshine the "young lady" :)

Big hugs!!!

alison said...

Well my dear, you have me on a steep learning curve...Belgian Style...mmmm, very nice indeed...all those moody greys and browns and off whites...mmm I'm liking very much. And that velvet lounge, oh my!

Looking forward to tomorrows post and all the lovely inspiring links. a cucumber cool? You are so funny ; )

Alison xx

Alison Agnew said...

all gorgeous photos indeed which do definitely inspire...i will be back tomorrow and hope that you will join us again for fridays unfolded.


stuff and nonsense


Hi Sarah, Thanks for visiting my part of the world. Thanks for sharing yours with us!
Have a great weekend!
~ Julie

Cindy said...

Let me start out by saying that I adore your sense of humor! And yes, it's me.
I love the Belgian style, it is one of my favorite. Greet from Belgian Pearls has introduced that style to me and so when I see your images, I am drawn into them again. They feel so elegant, so livable, yet so dreamy.
Hope I made sense here.
Hugs, Cindy

Room Seventeen said...

Oh I love it! If you want to see more Belgian Style:

♥ Mary Janes TEAROOM said...

Beautiful, inspirational photographs Sarah!
Susan x

At The Picket Fence said...

That fact that you wrote scrumpdiddlyumptious just made me like you even more! :-) I absolutely love the chandelier in that first pic and all of them were just so lovely and elegant yet relaxed at the same time. I'm hoping I will be able to get a post ready for the party cause I just hate to miss out on a good time!

Anonymous said...

Very nice collection of images and great context in your discussion to explain what makes this particular design style stand apart. The muted colors make it easier for me to actually see the particular elements selected for the rooms and how the elements complement one another. This was an excellent post Sarah! thanks so much.

Olive said...

Love, love the woods. Battered beauty that is lovely.

Elizabeth and Gary said...

Hi Sarah,
I enjoyed your post so much....
I have always loved a wooden ceiling, in fact I am looking into doing just that in a few rooms of my home right now. There are so many styles of decorating that I'm drawn too, I think its hard to just stick to one stlye.So I play with many and who knows that I'll come up with LOL.
Have a sweet day and hugs, Elizabeth

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

I didn't even know there was a Belgian style but I love it!! This was such a fun post to read.

Luciane at said...

Yummm.. pancakes??? Now you got me hungry!

I've missing you.... I was painting my house.... truly busy the last 2 days! Your post is great. You've explained Belgium style really well. Good job!

Can't wait for tomorrow!!! It's a Parttttteeeeeee... :-)

Have a great day, sweetie.


Luciane at

Miranda @ Pressing On said...

I really like this Belgian style. I've never actually heard of it, but it's a very soothing mix of masculine and natural with just enough texture to please. I really like a couple of the living rooms! Yummy!

Leah - The Inside Story said...

Gorgeous pictures, Sarah. This would have to be my favourite style, ooh amongst a few others. I love this pared back style with beautiful statement pieces of furniture and the rough worn in timber. It's very hard to get past this look, I dream about it!! Thanks for more inspiration!! Leahxx

Tricia said...

Hi Sarah! I've been thinking about your linky party. Look at my post and tell me if you think it is okay. I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be about inspiration you find elsewhere. Sorry, I'm kind of slow I guess :)

With the time difference and all, when will you be putting your link up?

GoldenValley50 said...

Hmm....a question Sarah. Is it called "Belgian" because it comes from Belguim or is "Belgian" a specific style? Not sure on that one but nevertheless, love so many of the elements displayed in your gorgeous photos. Can't wait for your party (although still trying to work out exactly what my inspiration is and what to wear - decisions..... decisions.....?) ;)Sharyne

Phyl said...

Belgian style? Who knew? Thanks for the introduction! I am loving it even tho it is a bit strong for my small cottage style home. I do have an unfinished wood piece here and there and even an industrial piece or two but didn't know the name for the whole look! Thanks for the info and wonderful pictures.

vosgesparis said...

Such a nice post! In this kind of situations I do realize I am not a native English speaker or writer... I don;t think I could tell a story in such a fluent way you did in this post , expressing what you see and feeling the pictures .. Oh well I will learn some day LOL or take a look here

Watch out for my house in the IKEA family live spring issue of this month. s

Deborah said...

You are the funniest and just so darn cute!
I love these photos and loved your comment about that gorgeous girl in the dress getting it dirty on those steps!!!! You made me laugh-out-loud!
Love, love, love these lovely images and style!

Deborah xo

Boho Farm and Home said...

Love the pictures, especially the exposed wood, really lovely!!
I will link up with your "inspiration Friday" next week...I know just the post!

Meera @ firstsense said...

Oh Sarah - this is me ALL OVER! Belgian style, you've taught me something! I want to move into one of these places, maybe add in a couple of colourful cushions, then I'd ask for nothing more!

Looking forward to your party, sweetie xxx

Meera @ firstsense said...

It's well past my bedtime but I cannot stop staring at these photos, they are SO UTTERLY BEAUTIFUL! I am mesmerised.

Lolo @ The Adventures of Stig and Lolo said...

The belgians sure know how to live! Simple. rustic. clean. neutrals.....*sigh*
All of your inspiration pics are gorgeous! Thanks for stopping in to check on me too sweetie :) We didnt get any snow at my house, but we did go to my friends' house and it did get a bunch of snow! It was a lovely time.....
Hugs to you girlie!
Hope your project is coming along good too :)

Unknown said...

I never heard of Belgian style so feeling rather ignorant but thank you for setting me straight! I couldn't go for the whole rough edged look in my own home but elements of it are so beautiful - the natural fabrics (velvet baby oh yes) and the industrial touches which you know I adore. Such lovely images you've chosen and that massive chandelier has given me goosebumps.

I'm all ready for the party, bright red lippy, glam frock and everything...

See you then chicken xxx


Oh so beautiful... and so so me! Maybe I am living in the wrong country after all?

Have a great weekend. Lisa

Holly said...

I didn't know there was a Belgian style! Love the rustic accents. said...

Oh my goodness, such beauty again. I love how you said battered beauty. I like that. I'm going to remember that one. Take care lovely!

Privet and Holly said...

Got my button,
got my post written,
looking forward to
joining the party!!
Loved how you boiled
down this dreamy style.
I'd adopt it in an
instant if I was
starting from scratch!
I may just adopt some
of it, anyway...
See you tomorrow!
xx Suzanne

On Crooked Creek said...

Very nicely styled. However; I need color in my life! For 20 plus years I was an Army wife. We had white walls, white floors, white kitchen and bathroom cabinets, plain beige furniture. . .almost institutionalized me!!! I adore your own home as you use color in a more sutle way. Keep the inspirations coming! Great luck with your party tomorrow. I'll drop in.

G said...

You make it all sound so easy! Beautiful pictures, love the mixture of textures most of all. Georgie x

Decor To Adore said...

Oh dreamy sighs~ I adore your blog. The images are just so inspiring.

I will be back.

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

Gorgeous choices, Sarah. I had no idea what Belgian style was, but I think I like it:)

Holly Lefevre said...

Pancake Day...that sounds like a necessity!

So I love this style. I do not have muted color sin my house by any means, but I adore so many elements of what is found here - it is warm and cozy feeling without clutter (another one of my problems) or fussiness.

Beautiful eye candy. Hope your dress is not too dirty!

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Sarah...

I really enjoyed this post about the Belgian design style. It was very interesting and informative! I especially liked the dining room and ohhh...those fabulous grayish/taupe velvet sofas...sooo pretty! I must admit that Belgain style is almost exact opposite of how I have designed my home...I have lots of color! Hehe! is so refreshing to something so different! Thank you for sharing with us!

Warmest wishes,
Chari @Happy To Design

Becca Bertotti said...

Drooling over these gorgeous inspiration pictures! The chandelier in that great room is ah-mazing! Thanks for sharing, Becca

Johanna Gehrlein said...

Hello Sarah,
very lovely post about Belgien Style. But if this young lady don't stay away from Belgian chocolate, laying lazy on the stairs will not have the same Whow-effect some years later.
Best greetings, Johanna

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