Interior design from the English countryside brings a classic yet well-organized appeal to homes in many parts of the world, from Europe to North America and Australia. Some homeowners might consider this design style to be somewhat outdated, more reminiscent of a period piece novel or film than a modern style. However, English countryside interior design is both charming and authentic, and for this reason, it appeals to many homeowners. If you’re remodeling or updating your home, you might want to consider speaking with your local interior designers about how this style might fit your space. Here are a few of the style’s defining characteristics and central decorative elements.
When you enter an English country home through the side or back of the house, chances are the first room you’ll step into is a mudroom. The functional purpose of the room is to store outerwear and shoes so that you aren’t tracking any dirt, mud, or water into the rest of the house. Most of the time, the central furniture piece in this space is a cabinet built out from one side of the wall. There are also often places to sit while removing shoes, an area rug, and decorative coat hooks. Dutch doors are particularly popular for the mudroom and make it easy to open up this space to the surrounding country.
English country homes often contain more than a few cozy reading nooks. This interior design style comes from a country where it rains more often than most regions in the United States, and as a result, these reading spaces and collections of books are a fairly common design element. Bookshelves and fireplaces are standard for living room spaces and bring an ornate decorative appeal. Mantlepiece finishes include brick and stone, a grate, and a shelf for smaller art pieces or potted plants.
Wainscoting is decorative patterned wood paneling applied from the baseboard up to a middle height along the wall. Its design helps add complexity to your walls and protects the base layer of the wall from general wear and tear. It also helps trap heat inside the home, so most homeowners who install this feature within their interior spaces often see a drop in utility bill costs. The upper portion of the wainscoting is referred to as the cap and rail. The sections in the middle of the wainscoting, above the baseboard, are the primary panels, typically divided by a stile. Wainscoting fits well with Georgian-style architecture, which also originates from England.
English country home interior design often includes complex patterns for everything from the rugs to the curtains. While carpeting is not particularly popular in this style, area rugs that cover the majority of a particular room are a nearly essential decorative piece. They add a cozy appeal and keep the space from becoming drab. Patterns for furniture and slipcovers are also common. Floral patterns apply well to the English countryside home’s interior spaces, but for modern decorative purposes, they should be used sparingly.
Dark wood finishes add a rustic appeal to interior spaces, are fit perfectly in the English country home for everything from the baseboard to the windowsills. Furniture pieces within this space also follow this formula, utilizing darker oaks and deeper colors to help ground the room in which they are placed and add rustic appeal. In some cases, these colors are also applied to exposed wood, particularly for rooms on the ground floor.
Many English country homes follow the same dark wood pattern with the cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen, keeping the space warm and comfortable. However, similar to the patterned decor, you can quickly go overboard with this interior design feature. Most modern decorative styles utilize lighter colors to add a more minimalist appeal. If your interior design includes too much darker wood accents or furniture pieces, you’ll need plenty of natural light to give the room a balanced appearance rather than a stuffy one.
The goal of maximalism is to include as many unique decorative elements in a space without making the space itself feel cluttered or stuffy. In many ways, the maximalist interior design style exists as a response to modern Scandinavian minimalist design. Bright and colorful pieces are wonderful additions to a room following this design style, as are patterned items and ornate wall hangings. Throw pillows, lamps, potted plants, and bookcases help to create a “filled” appearance in the room. Though this isn’t a strictly classical design strategy, it applies well to English country design and brings back a classic country home appearance.
Windows for the traditional English country home are often divided by a muntin or sash bar so that the windows are actually formed of multiple panes, rather than a single one. However, in more modern versions of these window structures, the bar dividing the panes is more ornamental than functional, so that double or triple-paned glass can be used for the home. Latticed windows, which were traditionally built with diagonal panes and glazing bars, were also popular in the traditional English country home, but only for those who could afford it.
English country home interior decoration was and still is a fairly complex decorative style. Paintings, artwork, and framed photographs occupy much of the available wall space, while very few windowsills and left empty. Wallpaper for areas that don’t include wainscoting is patterned carefully so that the space doesn’t feel too old-fashioned. Perhaps the trickiest part of including this interior design style in your home is finding the line between beautifully ornate and overly stuffy.
Emulating English country design in your home often requires the assistance of an experienced interior designer. This design style works well for both urban and rural homes, despite the fact that the design style originates from the English countryside. Balancing the complex patterns and colors with natural light can be a challenge depending on the house, but the collective elements of this interior design always bring a charming and authentic appeal to the home.