British country homes evoke an image of comfort, cosyness and warmth. Partly, yes, because such warmth is mandatory living in a rainy environment, but also because they look and feel like such a welcome inside hug which is given immediately when the quintessential details are tended to.
Granted the above image is not an actual cottage as it was the set designed for Nancy Meyers’ film The Holiday, filmed in part in Surrey. However, I chose the above image because when we design our homes to evoke the English country charm, Meyers achieved so much of it spot-on right. From the tufted ottoman, to the ottoman itself as the coffee table of choice, mixed prints, oodles of books and exposed beams, these details, as you will see in the list below resounding remind onlookers of English country style, and in this case a cottage.
In my own home I have been perusing frequently through The English Home magazines I have saved over the years, saving images that speak to me, images that offer a similar size or design of space and offer ideas for how to create an English cottage aesthetic.
I have begun to embrace wholeheartedly #1 on today’s list in both my mudroom and foyer, and I look forward to welcoming even more wallpaper into my home. Hopefully if you too are wanting to welcome decor touches of the English countryside into you home, today’s list will offer plenty of ideas to choose from.
~For each of the images shared below, simply click on the image to tour the entire home from which it was included.
William Morris is the founder of the Arts & Crafts decor movement, and with his well-known wallpaper company which began in the 1860s in England, a love for nature as well as symmetry and subtly as well as vibrant natural color are an example of beloved English wallpaper designs. There are many more of course, but wallpaper creates a cosy space, a welcoming, more personalized space.
~Want to wallpaper in your home? Read this post for detailed how-tos to a successful decorating session. ~Tour the entire Oxfordshire Arts & Crafts Townhouse: A Way with Wallpaper here.~
~Tour the entire Oxfordshire Arts & Crafts Townhouse: A Way with Wallpaper here.~
2. Wood accents
As a way to welcome nature into the formal living space, wood furniture, wood legs on upholstered furniture and regal cabinetry and shelves offer the balance of hard and soft surfaces.~An Englishman’s Brooklyn Townhouse, decorated by interior designer Benjamin Vandiver. View the entire home here. ~
~An Englishman’s Brooklyn Townhouse, decorated by interior designer Benjamin Vandiver. View the entire home here. ~
3. A penchant for garden and animal details
While English country homes will undoubtedly have a garden outside their doors, bringing an appreciation for nature inside will be more than common as well. Whether seen in the wallpaper with floral or animal prints, vases full of blooms, potted plants inside or a demonstrated affection for dogs in figurines or any other decor detail, the love of the outdoors is certainly a common presence.
~British interior designer Imogen Taylor’s Burgundy home to which she retired. Tour the entire home here.~
4. The classic pudding sofa
Soft, plush, deep-seated and begging you to sit and stay a while. While the name may or may not have been coined by British furniture designer Loaf, the concept is iconically British – cosy, cosy, cosy.
5. Pleat, folded, rolled, padded upholstered arms
As you can see above, rolled arms on either an upholstered sofa or armchair that have gradual pleats pulled neatly over the rounded design intonate British furniture. Almost as if to signify a warm hug, such furniture provides literal warmth when you snuggle in as many days of the year are damp and cold, stepping inside a home that is cosy is all the more desireable.
~Tour the entire home in Cozying into Country Durham, English Style Abounds!~
6. Fabric covered lamp shades
Again, adding fabric to any space creates warmth, and especially in intimate spaces – bedrooms, reading nooks – the subtle, yet significant detail of fabric shades is an idea worth trying. Prints or solids, especially if the fabric is of high quality, purchasing such fabric is far more affordable for a lampshade than an entire sofa or chair.
~Tour the entire home of Tightly Tailored and Filled with ANtiques in Hampshire here.
7. Seagrass floors
British designer Ben Pentreath swears by seagrass, and if you have the opportunity to tour any of his projects, you will see they look quite nice. Adding a touch of nature, high functionality and wearability, they also, as he states, offer a lovely subtle scent. Layer with a a wool rug and you have created a warm space without excessive expense.
~View the entire home shown above in Signature Statement of Varying Chairs~
8. Ottomans as coffee tables
While there are exceptions, in the country, an ottoman is more often than not likely to be at the center of a living room or sitting room rather than a wooden table. Use as a coffee table and place trays and books, as well as always have an additional extra seat if ever necessary.
~Tour an Oxfordshire Farmhouse Regally Remodeled, with Comfort Made a Priority here.~
9. Traditional period details
While the items may or may not be old, they are a decision to pay homage to a particular period in history. Vintage chandeliers, exposed beams in the ceiling, wainscoting and wood floors are savored. Traditional lamps and the welcome of candles are chosen over canned or recessed lighting.
~View a list of time periods and their designated names.
~tour the entire Cornish Country Getaway with Touches of the Sea here.~
10. An Aga stove
Used as much to heat up the home as to cook, the Aga stove is very much a luxury item now (and yes, it is available in the states), but in nearly every interview in The English Home magazine, when they share spotlight interviews, the one detail each guests shares a English Home mustn’ be without is an Aga. Just Aga. 🙂
~Tour this entire home, titled Let the Lighting Do the Talking here. ~
11. A mudroom is a must
Having grown up with a mudroom as we lived out in the country, the need for such a room is a must. Whether you are gardener, have pups, ride horses or generally find yourself outside often, having a space that is designated to taking off the “gear” and not bringing the dirt into the rest of the home is a typical space found in an English country home.
~Tour TSLL’s newly decorated mudroom here.
12. A cabinet or designated shelf for teapots and cups and saucers
After reading yesterday’s post (18 Ways to Enjoy a Good Cuppa), this decor detail will come as no surprise.
~Tour the entire home in Country Durham here. ~
13. Color abounds (and it works)
It is indeed a skill, but with time and experience and an understanding of hues and the size of patterns, it is a skill each of us can acquire.
~Tour A Cozy, Signature Bloomsbury Flat here~
14. Mixing small and large prints in the same space
The Spruce shares, “Large prints will be paired with smaller prints, such as gingham. Using similar color palettes in the patterns keep this from becoming overwhelming. “
~tour the entire home in A Small Yet Elegant London Flat~
15. An abundance of reading material
Bibliophiles may just have a predilection for English country decor if not solely for their love, display and admiration of books. In so many of the photos of today’s post/episode you will see books, and that is not by mistake or exception.
~Tour this entire Bibliophile’s Dream House here.~
16. Built-in bookshelves
And since we are talking about books, the English country homes are designed with storing books in mind. Built-ins are part of the decor and not only in the library or living room. Notice in bedrooms and even in kitchens, there are spaces for books.
~tour the entire home here in Finding Balance with Colors & Natural Textures in North Kensington~
For warmth, to cover old floors or stone floors, layers of rugs on seagrass, rugs are a mainstay and frequently seen in English country homes.
~Tour the entire home in A Welcoming Home in Wiltshire, England~
18. Climbing roses or vines on the exterior of the home.
While this final decor detail is outside of the home, it is still attached to the home, so I thought I would include it. Stepping into an English garden is an entire new post/episode, but yes, a vine of some sort whether it be a rambling rose or wisteria or clematis, is a must for English country homes.
Personally, I am smitten and have been smitten for some time with the English country decor approach. Creating a cosy, welcoming home for the inhabitants and any guest who is invited inside rests in paying attention to the details shared above – texture, layers, welcoming in touches of nature, not being afraid to mix up and discover what actually can match and creating spaces for everyday pastimes you love.
Enjoy the journey of adding English country touches to your own home wherever around the globe you call home.
~View all of TSLL’s British-Inspired Decor posts here.
~The English Game, Netflix
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #281
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14 thoughts on “281: 18 Ways to Welcome English Country Decor Ideas into Your Home”
This made me smile as a lot of these features are in my home and I never even considered them to be British Country… waiting on the delivery of my roses for the front door.
I love hearing this! As I shared with Bev, you have an intuition for what textures, layers and colors create a balance of warmth. So excited for the rose to grow for you and create a welcoming interest. Thank you for stopping by Louise. 🙂
HI Shannon: As Louise stated above, I, too, have always included these items in any home where I have lived without even know they were English country-style décor. And this was in a time long before the internet. Funny, how we are drawn to certain styles for unknown reasons. I am fortunate to have the rustic, wood beams in my current home, which always make me feel welcome and cozy when I come home. As usual, thank you, Shannon, for putting into words what I’ve always felt in my heart.
How wonderful! You understand intuitively how to create a cozy, welcoming home. Thank you for sharing Bev.
Fun checking out all the decorating ideas for inspiration. Interesting how unexpected some of the combinations are and how they combine to create such a warm and beautiful space. Thank you Shannon.??☔️
Judy, It is a wonderful skill that I am just at the beginning stages of learn and understanding, but what a skill to have! 🙂
Thank you for another excellent podcast episode! When I can’t fall asleep at night I visualize exactly how I would decorate the cottage from “The Holiday.” One of my favorite movies, and certainly my all-time favorite set!
Thank you for tuning in CiCi. That cottage is just all sorts of cosy yumminess. I love that you think of it when you can’t fall asleep. Thank you for sharing. ?
I have been so spoiled being a first born in my family…everyone was born and raised in England. So learning decor ideas from my grandmother has been second nature to me!
Hi Shannon. I love listening to your podcasts while I multitask ? and this one was another goodieI am often interested in the sponsor deals, but if I am exercising, etc while listening I can’t write them down to check out later. I popped over to the show notes to see if they were listed, but don’t see them here. Maybe I’m just not looking in the right place? Would love to see links to the sponsors at the end of the show notes. Thank you so much for the joy you bring to this world ?
country style is my favourite look – the British have mastered this art!
My grandma is the only person I know who had an wood stove (not sure if it was an aga brand). She is from Tasmania originally (a cold beautiful little island at the bottom of Australia). Tasmania has so many English influences. Grandma always insisted on having a wood stove to cook on up here in sunny Queensland. She passed away nearly a decade ago but I still remember her making me porridge on that stove and then going for long early morning walks. Being woken to the sound of a fire being lit in the stove was a delight. She never lit the stove quietly. I think she wanted company.
Charlene, what a lovely memory of your grandmother. I have no doubt she wanted company, and what a wonderful sound to begin the day – someone wanting to spend time with you. I absolutely can picture these moments in my mind’s eye. Thank you very much for sharing. 🙂
Nothing says English country style better than the Aga. (But it was invented by a Swedish physicist Dr Gustaf Dalen in 1922.. A Nobel prize scientist he was blind at the time he came up with the idea of a more efficient cooker for his wife ) .Our first home had an Aga which was new to me and I had to try and figure out how it functioned. The armchair was right next to it. So cosy. After a few disasters of burning roasts I came to love it and would even toast my toes infront of it with the lower oven door ajar in the winter. You could leave the porridge meal overnight in the lower oven and wake up to perfect porridge in the morning . Same with meringuesand Xmad puddings and lots of other dishes. It was a joy?