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Say ‘Arrivederci’ to Tuscan Style: How to De-Tuscanize Your House

It’s time to say “Arrivederci!” to Tuscan interior styling.

Bathed in warm reds, golds and olive greens, homes featuring the rustic, sunbaked look of a well-worn piazza, heavy bronze and iron accents, travertine floors and ornate oversized furniture has gone the way of Daisy Dukes, platform sandals and low-rise flared jeans.

Two decades ago, homeowners and new buyers were clamoring for Tuscan styling. Today, the once charming Old-World touches have become dated as Americans rush toward simpler, airier designs.

While it may seem daunting to “de-Tuscanize” a home, small changes can have a huge impact in creating that contemporary and comfortable look that homeowners are craving.

Paint and Wall Coverings

Graham and Brown palm tree wallpaper
Millennial Jungle wallpaper, $150, by Graham & Brown

Tuscan style is infamous for including opulent hues of gold and red, which are no longer on trend. Think fresh and neutral in shades of greige. Current style trends are all about bringing in the light and making a space feel cozy. For a pop of color, consider a contrasting accent wall in a deep blue or green.

Also, wallpaper is making a major comeback. Consider adding geometric shapes or large-scale florals to create a point of interest to any room without overpowering it.

Furniture and Light Wood

Photography by Garrett Cook; interior design by Julie Hallmark

From lighting to railings, say goodbye to the heavy iron scroll work and the dark large-scale furniture. Consider options that incorporate softer hues of lighter fabric or fabric with some texture to it. While leather has its place, don’t let dark leather dominate a room and instead use it in smaller pieces like an occasional chair. Updated furniture styles should reflect clean lines or soft forms, lighter wood tones and not be ornate.

When it comes to art, replace large paintings of dated scenery and primary colors with more modern pieces that are subdued and neutral. Prints should resonate with the new space and have a clean aesthetic.

Cabinetry and Woodwork

While replacing cabinetry and woodwork may be cost-prohibitive for some, there is hope as you de-Tuscanize! With dark cherry wood, orate carvings and cabinetry accents being off trend, painting or resurfacing cabinets to be lighter and more streamlined in design is an easy way to make the change. While deciding which route to go, consider the color of your flooring when finalizing new woodwork selections. For instance, if you have a lot of reddish coloring in your flooring, stay away from cool colors like gray. Woodwork, furniture and paint should all complement each other.

Similarly, a small change that makes a huge impact involves switching out hardware such as drawer pulls and cabinet knobs. Depending on your style, there are a ton of options to choose from, but a rule of thumb should be to stay away from brushed nickel that has scrolls or fancy shapes.

Window Coverings

Photo by Spacejoy via Unsplash

Who doesn’t remember the fancy medallions holding back heavy damask with gold, black, green and red drapes? It’s time to let the light shine in! Consider more subdued window coverings for a fresh and clean look. White or neutral-colored plantation shutters, cellular shades with a complimentary curtain panel and light-colored woven wood shades are all excellent choices to compliment an updated design.


Photo by R Architecture via Unsplash

Dark cherry, marble, anything super shiny and Old-World travertine have had their day in the sun. Many advancements have been made over the last 10 years in flooring material. While vinyl products of the past may have been considered cheap, there are now high-quality options in the world of tile, luxury vinyl products or engineered hardwood. Large-format porcelain tile in neutral shades of gray, cream and beige can also be used for a more contemporary look and feel.

Wall Niches and Columns

Photo by Darren Richardson via Unsplash

Tuscan style is notorious for ornate columns, arches and oddly shaped wall niches. If possible, try to remove the columns for a more streamlined and uninterrupted sightline in the room. For columns that serve a structural support role, consider installing a ceiling beam or squaring-off the column for a more contemporary look.

And where wall niches were the envy of design, they can either be filled in or repurposed as contemporary shelving. But whether storing books, family photos, art or tabletop accessories, just remember, less is more. Avoid overloading shelves and instead choose accessories sparingly in a similar color. Also, group items in odd numbers and add plants for a pop of color.

Jackie Wright is owner and lead interior designer of Macy Lane Designs, a Phoenix decorating, organizing and lifestyle design firm with a core focus on functionality and affordability. The Macy Lane team works with homeowners to transform their surroundings into spaces that will meet their needs for years to come. To learn more about Macy Lane Designs, visit or connect on Facebook and Instagram.


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