Although my own home may be a little subdued and 'safe', I appreciate the styles of most interiors but have to admit my favourite is a relaxed, English country style. This style is fairly easy to achieve, especially if you already possess some antique or traditional styled furniture. A mix of both painted and wooden furniture works perfectly, however, with an English country look, be careful not to over-use painted furniture, just the odd piece, let wood show off its natural beauty or the look may become a bit shabby chic. Oak, elm and yew feature in this style, although I must admit I do love the more subtle look of 'limed' oak which is a little further away from tradition, but we don't always have to follow the rules.
When it comes to selecting your seating, I prefer a neutral sofa or chaise and introduce pattern by way of cushions, curtains and rugs. Mixing patterns such as tartans, stripes and floral with textures such as chintz, velvet and linens will reflect the English country style, combine with classic pieces of furniture to achieve a timeless look. Patterns work best on seating when choosing a single or pair of winged arm chairs or occasional chairs which you could upholster in stripes, checks or tartans. Patterned rugs feature frequently as they bring warmth to the normally exposed wooden floorboards. Intricately patterned, Middle Eastern rugs look fabulous and Chinese silk rugs of duck egg and creams also work well and look very elegant, especially in a bedroom.
Decorative accessories are usually in abundance in this style, however, I prefer a more contemporary approach by being selective of your pieces. Lamps and pictures are important and most surfaces would feature a lamp or two. Pictures and paintings are abundant and I must admit I love the look of old architectural and botanical prints grouped on a wall. Large antique oil paintings usually take pride of place over a mantelpiece and decorative mirrors also feature. For a more relaxed style, I personally don't like overdoing symmetry.
English Country Style can be subtle or over the top, to create a subtle look combine the above ideas with minimal decorative accessories. Don't cover your surfaces with antiquities or it may look like the 'old curiosity shop'. You can always move things around, I much prefer to keep things calm by using only a few pieces at a time and changing displays from time to time.
Images above via jjlocations
I hope you have enjoyed this introduction to 'English Country Style'. I have recently updated my 'Interior Design Inspiration' page to make it easier to navigate and find your style, here you find many home tours on differing styles.
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