EUROPE FEATURE: How to nail the British Interior Style
Image by Ingrid Rasmussen
Just like all the best Brits, the British interior style is a charming mix of tradition, eccentricity and humour. And while more minimalist interiors are in favour on this side of the world, we could learn a lot from this characterful and maximalist style.
But where do we start in trying to describe it? It's a challenge even for the Brits themselves. "It's quite hard to define as it's so eclectic," London-based designer Abigail Ahern tells us. "We fuse so many different elements together. Glam, comfy, country, modern. But the main thing is comfort. Comfort is key."
The period architecture of British homes also plays its part. "Edwardian homes are known for deep bay windows, terracotta details and gable ends whilst by contrast, Georgian homes are known for pediments, pillars and columns," explains Lucy from English interior store Rockett St George.
Lucy believes British interiors have an unparalleled eclecticism. "It's the combination of old and new. Some of the most breathtaking homes I have ever visited are the ones that manage to successfully enhance the period features of the home whilst embracing the modern."
Think a traditional dual aspect living room filled with modern art, a chintz-covered sofa and stripped back parquet floors. "This contrast of styles and mix of eras really plays to the quintessential British feeling," says Lucy.
Abigail agrees. "A uniquely Brit flavour would include adding and mixing in classic styles and then modernizing that look with current pieces like lighting, art and accessories. Soho House are so clever at this," says Abigail.
Abigail Ahern's home creates a moody, 'whisky club' feel with lots of accent lighting, a Chesterfield sofa, plush cushions and whisky club chairs.
Vintage finds on display are another must-have for the British aesthetic. "I just don't think you can get the 'British' look without incorporating vintage rugs, furniture or antique homewares into the home. You do not have to go crazy on this, but by just having a vintage table lamp with a 70s style shade or something similar will inject a little charm and style," says Lucy.
Lucy also suggests creating a cabinet of curiosities filled with memories, treasured photographs and vintage pieces collected over the years. "It's a life-sized memory box that you can curate over the years and it's really special."
Image by Ingrid Rasmussen
Restrict your palette, so you can mix styles
The Brits are bold and rebellious when it comes to colour, with living rooms often painted in deep, jewel tones. But Abigail says the trick to keeping this look sophisticated is to restrict the paint palette to only two, maybe three, different shades of colour.
"A lot of us are fans of the restrained palette look taking inspiration from the traditional gentlemen's clubs of London. Earthy tones, some jewel tones, heritage tones," explains Abigail. "Fundamentally it's all about mixing eras, using a masculine paint palette and adding in some super comfy loungy pieces. Nailed!"
Another example of Soho House perfecting the masculine British aesthetic.
Above all else, be brave
Lucy's absolute top tip when trying to incorporate British flavour is to be bold, take creative leaps, and tell a story.
"Source eclectic, one-off pieces that ooze a fabulously British character. For example, Bird Feet Tables or animal shaped table lamps are a brilliant and incredible humorous ways of injecting a little fun into the home! In my experience, anything with personality or that tells a story is truly magical and can really transform your interiors into something that is uniquely charming."