Fall is the season for riding boots, plaid scarves, and wax-coated jackets, but this autumn, we’re not only taking cues from the English countryside when it comes to our wardrobes—we’re also embracing English country style at home.
What does this design aesthetic entail, exactly? “English country style is all about pattern, texture, and quirk—the best and most well-rounded rooms have layers of each,” explains Shannon Claire Smith of Shannon Claire Interiors. “Contrary to a more modern or minimalist design, English interiors don't stick to one matching color palette or pattern plan, it’s really all about the mix,” Smith adds.
Additionally, achieving the English country look means incorporating freestanding, antique pieces into the mix, shares Tiffany Leigh Piotrowski of Tiffany Leigh Design. “For example, a pantry might be a freestanding old antique hutch, and the island may be an old harvest table with a lot of history,” she says. Designer Claire Staszak of Centered by Design shares similar sentiments. “Source versatile brown furniture pieces,” she notes. “Even using a cute little wooden cabinet in a more modern bathroom can give a British vibe.” Incorporating some vintage or heirloom pieces into your home is also an excellent approach, Staszak adds.
Smith notes that while many different hues are fair game when decorating in English country style, it’s ideal to focus on more faded versions of a saturated palette—“think plums, rusty reds, sage greens, faded sky blues, and shades of brown—all colors found in nature,” she explains.
Because English country style is all about utilizing pattern, by no means is just one type of print enough. “Layer in different types of patterns, with a focus on stripes, block prints, and large florals, to create layers of interest and pattern,” Smith suggests. You can even add a playful trim or some fabric to a lampshade, Staszak says.
And certainly don’t forget the wallpaper, Piotrowski notes, adding, “A small-scale floral pattern is a great place to start!”
Once you’ve determined the textiles that you’ll work into your English country-inspired space, it’s time to think about decorative accents. Once again, you’ll want to look to nature, Smith says. “My favorite way to seal the deal is to incorporate some sort of wildlife or nature into the space in an unexpected way—a wooden duck decoy placed on a sideboard, framed etchings or paintings or hunting dogs, stately horses, or oil landscapes, or (like in my home) a life-sized sheep statue as a nod to the pastoral!”