Keep Calm and Decorate: Home Inspiration from Great Britain

English country house

There’s nothing like the quiet gentility of an English garden or the energy of a world-class city like London to inspire home decor. Try these ideas to add a little bit of Old Blighty to your home, and create a wonderful and charming setting for your family and friends.

Bring the brights of the city inside

London is a city of great contrasts. Yes, there are old-world cobbled streets, timber framed Tudor shops, and even medieval churches within the confines of the city, but there are also breathtaking skyscrapers, enclaves of high fashion, and warrens of bright colors and neon lining the streets in places like Soho and Neal’s Yard.

One of the best designers of modern London interiors is Tricia Guild. She and her team hit the mark when it comes to delivering bright colors inspired by the lights of the city and the excitement of creating contemporary interiors in older buildings. Team some Designers Guild fabrics with a modern natural fiber area rug to create a seamless modern look in your home.

For a more graphic look in your home, try accent pieces from Irish designer Orla Kiely, whose work graces the best London homes right now. Orla’s work has even been featured at the Tate Modern art gallery on the south bank of the Thames, one of many wonderful free museums with some of the world’s most important art on display.

Think about adding broad swaths of color to your walls, try out a sofa in modern brights, or add graphic curtains or pillows to bring the art house look home.

Create a garden atmosphere with floral softness

The city isn’t the only part of the United Kingdom that can provide you with inspiration for your home. Gardens interspersed within the city and beyond provide this rainy isle with an unparalleled beauty.

The classic English garden is only a few steps away from London. A few tube stops west of the city is the exceptional Kew Gardens, a haven of floral displays, water gardens, and indoor tropical settings that was created in the reign of George III as a retreat from the hectic pace of London.

flower patterns

Kew’s surrounding area, the suburb of Richmond, is full of lovely homes that often draw on the garden for their inspiration. For your home, you can order photographic and illustrated prints from Kew that include early botanical drawings, artists’ renderings, and more contemporary images of the garden’s most beautiful flowers that would look lovely framed.

The Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show is also a wonderful and inspiring experience that takes place in the heart of London, and which can lend itself to your home and garden design. In this show, rooms inspired by the garden are created by interior and exterior designers to showcase ideas for homeowners like you for the next calendar year, highlighting new design colors, construction options, and new products that look wonderful inside and outside the home. Flip through the photographs of show winners to find ideas that you can use that match your own design aesthetic.

Fabrics and wallpaper

If you fabric, wallpaper and home accessories that draw on the English garden to add to your living room or bedroom, try British designer Cath Kidston. Kidston’s ranges of bedding and home furnishings bring a soft beauty to any room, and she has specific products for children as well that combine the colors of the garden with fun, child-friendly prints.

decorative fabric thumb

With stone or wood flooring that draws on traditional styles in your home, these floral prints will create a wonderful and relaxing garden environment that you’ll love for many years to come.

Color and fantasy: The new Great Britain

You can bring the vibrancy of London or the classic English garden into your home through colorful prints, carefully chosen flooring and rugs, and fun accessories for any room. While many of us may think of the United Kingdom as traditional and staid, today’s modern designers have reinterpreted the best of the past for contemporary homes. Try these ideas to add the color and contrast of London’s exciting streets and gardens to your home.

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