If you are an incurable romantic, English Country style may be your cup of tea. Given that gray days abound in England, this style brings cheer year round with rooms in bloom, sunny colors and playful intermixes of pattern and fabric. You can get the look of English Country style by incorporating a few of the hallmarks that make this style so beloved and inviting.
Hallmark 1: Start with Flowers and then More Flowers
English Country decor starts right at the front door with potted plants and billowing flowerboxes. This floral obsession will continue through the interiors with floral patterned rugs, cabbage roses on upholstery and fabrics and even floral motifs stenciled on painted floorboards.
Hallmark 2: Add Pattern and Texture to the Walls
Plain painted walls just do not make the grade in English Country, and there are several options to consider for adding an authentic backdrop to your home. Wallpaper is a wonderful choice that allows you to pick from cheerful floral patterns, wide vertical stripes or tailored diamond pane designs. In lieu of wallpaper, faux painting techniques, such as rag or sponge painting, will give depth to the walls making them look like plaster. A chair rail painted in creamy white with a deeper garden inspired green below the rail and a related lighter tone on top also produces a proper English effect. Paintings of the English landscape or foxes and hounds, floral wall art, and wall shelves displaying bric-a-brac add a second layer of interest.
Hallmark 3: Mix Fabrics and Furnishings
Forget about matched sofa and chair sets. Your goal is to mix styles, woods and fabrics to create the cozy appeal of an old family homestead where several generations of furniture peacefully coexist. Mix painted with unpainted woods in dark and light finishes, and few touches of wicker along with lowboys and highboys and secretaries embellished in delicate rococo style. Glass fronted cabinets with brass fixtures can house leather bound books in the parlor or a collection of teapots in the kitchen. When it comes to fabrics, start with a least one that contains all the hues in your desired palette and let other fabrics and accessories take color cues from there. Mix in some stripes or checks for balance and throw in a variety of small, medium and large prints ground the space with natural wood flooring and a cheerful area rug.
Hallmark 4: Choose Warm Inviting Colors
Deep reds, hunter green, shades of brown and ochre say welcome and take a seat by the fire. Leather chairs in browns or greens with upholstery tacks are the perfect choice for a wing chair and ottoman by a wall full of built-in bookshelves.
Hallmark 5: Creature Comforts
English Country style is obviously influenced by the cold and damp weather of the British Isles. A traditional fireplace is the most coveted source of ambiance and comfort. If your home does not have a fireplace, consider a free-standing electric stove that mixes modern convenience wrapped up in vintage appeal. Set a brass teapot and candlesticks on top for authentic detail. Toss lots of comforters and plump pillows into the room that will invite snuggling with a book by the fire on a dreary afternoon.
Hallmark 6: Choose Proper English Country window treatments
Drapes are the only way to go with English Country, not blinds or anything sleek, modern or minimalist. Drapery either matches or coordinates with the wall paper and provides a homey, comfortable ambiance.
Hallmark 7: Charming Clutter
Details are all-important in English Country style. Collectibles and family photos and heirlooms lend an atmosphere of charming clutter and interest. Antiques and collectibles in brass, glass, ceramic and blue and white porcelain are trademarks of the style. Pieces that tell a story, are related to family history, travels or hobbies are also favorites.