WHETHER  you reside in a busy city or the suburbs of one, there’s something undeniably appealing about warm, earth tone furnishings. After all, it was Laura Ingalls Wilder who said, “Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.” Both warm and inviting, the relaxed interiors that are often found in rural locales combine ease and comfort—achieved, in part, with an effortlessly curated mix of informal fabrics and traditional furniture styles—with a healthy dose of nostalgia (think antique accessories, worn wood pieces, and patinated finishes) thrown in for good measure.

Black and white often gets a bad rap. Despite its virtues, monochrome is often seen as cold and uninviting when used in interiors, and perhaps best reserved for commercial spaces such as art galleries and minimalist hotels. Living with a monochrome palette may not be to everyone’s taste, but with careful design, monochrome schemes can be just as pleasing to the eye as colour; delivering striking contrast, richness and warmth through elements such as architectural features, luxurious textures, couture detailing, strong print and a touch of colour.