English Country House style

English Country House style

It's quintessentially English with timeless charm. Country house style allows for eccentricity, simplicity, florals, comfort and cosiness. And it's an eco friendly look because you'll find pieces you need at antiques fairs, auctions and second-hand shops. And there's plenty of scope for upcycling

The English country house look is ultimately timeless. It can be grand - think wisteria-clad Georgian mansions full of floral chintzes and linens - or far simpler a la country cottage with low beams, cosy armchairs and jugs of garden flowers for decoration. And because nothing has to match and it doesn't matter if mantelpieces and window sills are covered with bits and pieces, it's easy to get the hang of. Unlike minimalism.
 
 
The cosy interior of a traditional English country house is hard to resist. This style has it all: eccentricities, historical features and ancestral beauty. If you're more maxi as opposed to minimalist in your tastes, country house interiors will suit you because you can continue adding to your interiors and they'll become ever more characterful. From floral motifs to antique furnishings, it's an easy style to master.
 
History
This style is steeped in history. It dates back to Tudor times, a period of relative peace and security in England. As it was no longer necessary to focus their energies on the defence of property, aristocrats could instead prioritise design and their houses became sources of pride, a way of displaying their wealth and impressing their peers. However, we have the 1920s to thank for the style we recognise today.  Ironic as it sounds, it was an American woman, Nancy Lancaster, who 'coined' the style. Her interior design revolved around comfort and elegance and she found ways to combine the traditional country house style of bygone centuries with the practicalities of modern life. Her aesthetic continues to impact our interiors a 100 years later, with the younger generation loving the ease and comfort of it. It's a style with many permutations from the ‘shabby chic’ look that can only get better with time, or the ‘more is more’ approach which means your home evolves as you collect and adapt artworks, antiques and soft furnishings.
 
A house with period features lends itself to country house style. Picture courtesy of Edward Bulmer Natural Paints
Floral table linens are perfect for the look
Get the look
There are many ways to achieve a country house style. 
Antique everything 
Antique furniture is a must. At the heart of the English country house look is what's known as eccentric busyness. So go wild! Pick tasteful furniture pieces in different styles, from different periods. It may seem random, but when they sit together they will look right. You can enhance rooms by choosing colours that complement and having a mix of soft furnishings upholstered and florals and stripes. Embrace floral wallpaper and don't be afraid of pattern. Find vintage chairs and have them reupholstered in a chintz. But remember you're going for charm, not chaos.
Historical features 
Period accents will tie the look together, so country house style does obviously work well in older houses and cottages perhaps with original beams, an open fireplace, a well patina-ed wooden floor.  Invest in some quality frames for family photos -  they'll give your home a personal, homely feel.
Fabulous florals
Florals are de rigeur for this style. A big theme is the idea of bringing the world outside in. Whether you fill your house with vases of flowers, or opt for floral prints on curtains and tablecloths, you can freshen up your home with florals. If you want a more subtle floral effect, invest in some (ecofriendly) antique silver. Lots of silver pieces feature floral motifs and they will also add touch of nostalgia.   
Be Bookish
Classic books fit perfectly into the scheme. Bookshelves are essential in country house interiors, and it’s another case of the more the merrier. As well as a copious amount of bookshelves, your country house wouldn’t be complete without some cosy nooks and comfortable sofas so you can get your nose thoroughly stuck into a great book. And with our temperamental British weather, you'll end up spending a lot of time in these cosy corners, so invest time in perfecting them. 
Delicate details 
Once your furniture and fabrics are in place, it’s time to focus in on the details. The beauty of an English country house is that you constantly discover new personal touches within the eclectic theme. Baskets, boxes and ornamental antiques are perfect for adding characterful touches. What’s more, they'll give the impression of a vast collection that’s taken generations to acquire, giving a warm ancestral feel to your home. 
 
It's hard not to love the English country house because it can be so idiosyncratic, unstuffy and welcoming. If you love antique jewellery and vintage clothing, then you're probably a country house style aficionado, while those of us who've tried.. and failed.. to do minimalism embrace it too.
 
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