Best aspects of British design

Best aspects of British design

Do you love living in Australia but sometimes miss the British way of life?

One solution that works a treat is to adapt some of the best features of top quality British design and create a real home from home. With just a few additional touches, you can recall the ambience of an English country cottage or a smart, contemporary town house. Here are a few ideas to help you decide which aspects of British design might work in your home.

Names to know

Some of the top names in interior design have their own unique styles. They include designers who are artistically trained in the fine arts and those who have a more technical, architectural background.

For a relaxed, bohemian style, look to Abigail Ahern, whose often-quirky approach includes spray painting furniture to replicate artefacts favoured by the pop art movement.

Charles Rutherford has a flair that derives from sculptural, architectural work and is the one to watch if you dream of smart, contemporary interiors that are also tranquil and chic.

Finally, for the quaint country cottage look, Nina Davis is the go-to designer for all things quintessentially English.

Principal features

When you look at the most acclaimed design traits around, you’ll soon find a number of elements are central to the British look. Pay attention to window treatments, furniture, textiles and lighting in particular. You can easily imitate the designer look in your own home just by picking up on the trends and adapting them to suit your home and the Australian climate.

Window treatments

Almost all British designers prefer to show off the clean architectural lines of windows by ditching curtains for smooth-edged blinds or shutters. Even if you’re aiming to achieve the country cottage look, you are likely to find that nowadays, floral chintz is confined to upholstery, throws and floor coverings, rather than window dressings. If light and sound control, privacy and security are priorities, the solution is to install stunning DIY shutters. These offer you the ability to let in just the right amount of daylight and allow you to screen specific areas as required. A fine range of styles and materials means that made to measure shutters will really enhance your property, no matter what its age or your preferred decor.


Top British designer Caroline Paterson originally worked at the furniture department of Christie’s and loves to display fine antiques to their best advantage. If you have one or two special items, think about how to make these the focal points of the rooms in your home. Bespoke furniture can be particularly impressive and it’s not difficult to assemble comfortable living spaces around outstanding pieces.

It also seems that furniture is increasingly beginning to merge with technology, so embedded speakers or other devices are becoming very popular in Britain. Multifunctional furniture is also heading towards achieving a dominant position in the British market, at the same time as unobtrusive furniture is recognised as key to making sure that the items you value as important in your home are given the attention they deserve.


Superb use of fine fabrics in interior design is the hallmark of companies such as George Spencer Design. Whether you go for soft and squidgy fabrics that reinforce your desire for inner comfort or enjoy a spectacular dash of leopard print, you might find that textiles are a great way to bring back echoes of dear old England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales. Think plaid patterns in strong colours and you can’t go far wrong. Adorn your house with scatter cushions in nostalgic prints and wallow in the effect that these create.


The king of designer lighting is, of course, Tom Dixon, who is currently swamping all the corporate spaces in London with his wonderful lighting plots and designs. Floor lights are currently fashionable, especially the Mirror Ball, as well as pendant lighting, and there are stunning table lamps in copper and brown glass and silicon – such as the eye-catching Trace Table LED Table Lamp.

Dixon also designs furniture and rugs to complement his imaginative lighting. Among the most sought-after pieces are the Slab Dining Table, which is reminiscent of 1950s interiors, and the Y Chair with Skids, which comes in black or white.

Making the most of the current popular British trends in interior design is relatively easy – it just takes a little imagination and the will to succeed. One of the useful things about shutters, for example, is that they are well suited to the Australian climate and help to deflect excessive heat on those scorchingly hot days.

Australian Times

Australian Times

For, by and about Aussies in the UK.