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The sophisticated feel: Bringing classic British style into your interiors
When you think of British interiors, cozy ancient cottages with oak beams, thatched roofs, and flower filled gardens probably spring to mind. This pretty and typical idyll of Olde England is still a very popular interior choice, yet it definitely inhabits the more humble end of the British decorating spectrum.
Britain is, of course, a land of cottages, farmhouses and modest dwellings, but it’s also has many grand mansions, country houses, and castles full of sophisticated interiors and impressive architectural detailing. You too can open up your home to classic British style and achieve a truly sophisticated feel with some well-chosen furnishings and décor directions.
The drawing room is traditionally the place the British demonstrate a taste for a formal style. Historically, this room is large in scale with tall ceilings, high windows, sofas, armchairs and usually a grand fireplace as a focal point. This was the room where callers and guests would be greeted; so comfortable seating was a must. Two sofas facing each other was a common set up, giving the room balance and aiding conversation. Depending on the look you desire, there are a number of fantastic options. Emulate faded nobility with a shabby chic Chesterfield in battered leather or try the opulence of a velvet chaise lounge with tasseled fringes, a Knoll style couch in stunning brocade or a fabric sofa in muted shade dressed with vivid silk cushions. Other seating suggestions include upholstered Ottomans, footstools, club style chairs, or elegant French accented armchairs with carved legs and shimmering upholstery. Fabric designs can be chintzy, botanic, oriental, striped, or tartan and the more luxurious the finish, the better the results.
Collections and accessories
Collections are a signature decorating feature of grand, old British homes. Whether it’s a selection of silver framed photographs on a grand piano, a spread of bone china plates suspended in an alcove or walls crammed with family portraits, collections get pride of place. Other accessories that conjure up a sophisticated mood include silverware, porcelain urns, wooden trunks, traveling chests, taxidermy, and animal skin rugs and antlers. Flavors of old colonial days and the Raj are often referenced in British interiors; so don’t be afraid to include accessories with an Asiatic influence.
Shades of sophistication
There is a wide spectrum of wall colors available to those revamping a room with British style. The main rule is to avoid shades that suggest modernity – bright zingy pastels and supercharged contemporary colors will jar – but if your heart is set on a particular shade, you’ll probably be able to find a close heritage style equivalent. Olives, grays, earthy shades and deep hues of scarlet, emerald, blue and pink all hit the mark for authenticity and impact. Matt finishes that absorb rather than reflect light will give the perfect look. Counter the effect of dull paint surfaces by using candelabras, chandeliers, and grand over-mantel mirrors to spread light through a room.
For classic sophistication with a British accent, it’s necessary to be bold. Get an expensive, luxury look by seeking out one-off pieces of great quality furniture and building a dreamy decor around them. Visit some historical stately homes for inspiration, watch some Downton Abbey reruns, start channeling your inner Brit-chick, and wait for the sophistication to start flowing.
The Hazelton Hotel - Toronto, Canada
Located in the heart of Toronto’s chic Yorkville neighborhood, The Hazelton Hotel boasts a stylish gourmet restaurant, a full-service spa, a state-of-the-art cinema, and luxurious, art-infused interiors designed by internationally acclaimed Yabu Pushelberg firm. Complete with sumptuous bespoke furnishings, lavish bathrooms, and walk-in dressing rooms, the hotel’s oversized rooms and suites greet visitors in an atmosphere of exclusive luxury and 40’s Hollywood glam.