30/06/2022

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How to recreate an English stately home interior

The British countryside is dotted with spectacular stately homes, boasting interiors that most of us only see on the pages of magazines, or recreated in a Bridgerton-esque Netflix series. It’s hard to deny however the beauty of a stately home, and the draw of its rich history reflected in striking architecture and evocative interior design.

The central principles of stately home interiors are instantly recognisable: the soaring ceilings and double height windows, a mix of inherited furniture, oversized portraits hung in every room, an abundance of colour, and seemingly deliberate mismatch of patterns. It’s simultaneously playful and steeped in heritage.

A stately home look can be achieved on a smaller, more personal scale with a few well-placed antiques, plenty of colourful print, and some clever DIY tricks to mimic period architecture. Read on for some inspiration…


1. Display real paintings

Scour the English countryside, and you’d be unlikely to find a single stately home that isn’t filled with grand portraits of previous homeowners and family members, or beautiful landscapes depicting nearby views.

Camilla Clarke, Creative Director at Albion Nord says: “Art adds character and a sense of personality to a space that you can’t always fully achieve through materials and colours in a room. A room without art is a room unfinished. Remember art doesn’t always need to be hung on the centre of the wall it can rest on top of tables or layered next to sculptures or on bookshelves and joinery.”

“We love to use tapestries in hallways as they add richness and warmth to a space that may not have much furniture. They also come in huge landscape sizes which make them great for long hallways or entrances.”

2. Go classic with furniture

how to create the english stately home look

Traditional furniture with clever turned wood detailing and sumptuous upholstery is a well-recognised decorative trope in English stately homes. Furniture is meant to be handed down from generation to generation, found in local antique markets or picked up on glamorous trips abroad – it’s a style that happily embraces a bit of wear and tear.

If you’re without inherited treasures, it’s simple to recreate the look with some carefully selected pieces – pay particular attention to silhouettes, which should be solid and chunky but with curved legs or arms, and upholstery, which could be worn leather, a crisp linen, or something densely patterned.

3. Use paint to fake period architecture

how to create the english stately home look

There are several tricks to recreate the grandiose architecture of English stately homes if your own home is a little lacking in crown moulding. Some sophisticated wallpaper – such as the Cole & Son Grand Masters collection with Historic Royal Palaces – can recreate the look of classic arches or wood panelling.

Or for a DIY version with a bit of humour, we love the casual, hand-painted panelling and curvy olive green door frame, both created using Annie Sloan paint.

4. Choose the highest quality flooring you can

how to create an english stately home look

There is a little bit of leeway when it comes to typical flooring in a stately home – it runs the gamut from rugged flagstone, to original wood floors (piled with patterned rugs,) and sumptuous carpets. All of the options however are of the highest quality – a stately home is meant to hold steady for centuries, after all.

We tend to lean more towards comfort underfoot – because whilst we want to recreate the stately home look, we don’t necessarily want to emulate its notorious draughtiness. Keep flagstone flooring, or similar tiles for the kitchen and utility and go for a bit of luxury in your living room and bedroom with a deep pile carpet.

5. Introduce pattern

how to create the english stately home look

A degree of informality in stately homes means that colours and print are mixed with abandon – and so wide stripes, dainty florals, and rainbow ikats sit happily side by side. This is probably the most cheerful side of stately homes, that can otherwise become a little drowned in dark wood and exaggerated decorative detailing.

It’s certainly the most fun aspect of this design scheme to achieve, because you have carte blanche to throw anything that you really love together, whether it’s a sea shell-printed cashmere throw, or a Jemima Duck lampshade

6. Mix in antiques

how to create the english stately home look

Last but not least, adding a few antique pieces to the mix is absolutely essential – and, according to design experts, antiques are a big trend for 2022.

“AW21 and beyond we will see a resurgence in more decorative, 17th-century styles with thoughtful details like hand-turned bobbin or barley twist legs,” says Camilla. “We have noticed bobbin furniture is increasingly popular at antiques markets and at auction, and this is reflected in some of the contemporary homeware companies’ recent collections including those by Alfred Newell, Soane and Soho Home.”

And it’s not just antique furniture that will come in handy in recreating the personality of an English stately home. Interior designer, Andrew Martin, says: Vintage and collectable accessories will also add eternal quirk and give a space which might otherwise be on-trend but lifeless, a real sense of depth, personality and soul.”

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