All I’ve ever really wanted out of life is to be Iris Simpkins: a newspaper writer living in a small, sleepy village in the South of England. While I’m not necessarily jonesing to end up with Jack Black, I’d give up romance if it meant spending all of my waking hours in Iris’ charming, English Country abode (designed, of course by the formidable Nancy Meyers).
I’ve become increasingly drawn to these types of interiors over the years. English Country homes have a way of making you feel like any moment is the perfect time to curl up with a cup of tea, light a wood burning fire, and enjoy a fine piece of literature. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, who doesn’t want their home to be a reminder to pause and savor the moment?
While often rooted in traditional silhouettes, I love that English Country style can also be a bit zany, thanks to layers of patterns or bursts of color. It’s confident yet unassuming; cozy yet energizing. What more could you want?
Even if you don’t live in a stone cottage set in the rolling hills of England, this sought-after look can easily be achieved with just a few intentional design choices. Let’s break it down.
1. Embrace clutter.
Minimalism has no place in English Country style. In fact, the more tschotskes, the better. Add books upon books to open shelves and surfaces, and proudly display any and all sentimental trinkets that bring you joy.
2. When you think you have enough patterns, add more.
If you’re timid or nervous about pattern overload, opt for tone on tone patterns mixed with bolder varieties so it doesn’t feel like each one is competing with the other. Another rule of thumb: Mix large-scale patterns with small-scale patterns, and vice versa.
3. Layer in a cozy plaid throw.
The cozy factor is of the utmost importance when it comes to an English Country living room, which makes a plaid wool throw the ideal addition to the back of a sofa or the arm of a chair.
4. Nix white walls.
I know, I know. This is a tough one to swallow. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but generally speaking you’ll get that quintessential English Country look with a lot less effort by embracing a bold wall color, which immediately ups the cozy factor.
5. Feature a fireside chair.
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At any given moment your living room should be the perfect venue for a Sunday paper and a hot cup of tea. A slouchy, oversized chair perched in front of the fireplace (if you have one!) is as key to the English Country look as the lakefront is to Chicago—it just wouldn’t be the same without it.
6. Opt for a classic English Roll Arm Sofa.
You already know that we’re die-hard fans of an English Roll Arm sofa here. In fact, The Everygirl’s first sofa collection with Interior Define features this exact style! It’s the perfect blend of traditional and relaxed, making it an effortless addition to an English Country living room.
7. Let the pleated lampshades run wild.
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So often in a @robertkime interior – there is a feeling of a jigsaw – the pieces all fit together, but you can’t always say why. Here, one of my favourite rooms – ever, of Robert’s. We shot it with @_martin_morrell for @tmagazine . Graceful in its scale – no baby chairs for this small telephone room at Robert’s house, Docker Nook, in the Lake District. Proper sized chairs that work beautifully. No fear. Everything simple and delightful. From Deflt tile on through – magically easy. MORE on the STORY – #RitaKonigXRobertKime takeover, this week. x Rita
It may seem like an insignificant touch, but it’s these little details that make all the difference when designing a space. Skip the modern drum lamp shades and opt for a pleated, cone style instead. It’s bound to add classic English flair while also serving up plenty of function for a reading nook or bedside table.