British Colonial style can be traced back to the late 19th century, when the British Empire had travelled far and wide to all four corners of the globe.
The style took shape gradually over a few years as colonists and military members travelled. Those who missed their home comforts would opt to take items with them, such as chairs or side tables. However, many British-made items at the time were constructed using softwoods that would warp in the heat and humidity. So, colonials instead commissioned native craftsmen to create British-style furniture out of local hardwood materials, such as ebony or mahogany.
During construction craftsmen would add their own flourishes, such as decorative pineapples, eventually leading to what’s now called “Colonial style” emerging out of a fusion of British, Asian, African and Indian tastes.
Identifying British Colonial design:
British Colonial design is typified for its high ceilings, tropical touches and pale colours, which were chosen to create a cool and airy atmosphere in the hot climates. Botany was really popular in Victorian England, which crossed over into Colonial style too: you will find giant plants like palms in a Colonial style home.
Recreating the British Colonial style in your home:
Opt to wash the walls with a light paint, perhaps a cream or light yellow and find dark furniture for the room or room you’re decorating. You’ll also need plenty of light fabrics, including linen and cotton for draping. Add rugs to wooden floors and opt to use plenty of flickering candles in the evening to create atmosphere.
For the finishing touches, choose old travel relics, such as prints of old maps and leather suitcases with worn luggage labels and stamps. If you can’t afford to buy antique, or you can’t find anything authentic at auction, many shops will sell new items that are distressed to look older. Ikea, for example, recently stocked a gorgeous beige cushion cover with antique looking map print overlaid (left), and framed old world map prints can be purchased from Etsy.com and Not On The High Street.
Colonial style outside of the home:
As most colonialists lived in bungalows, a porch or veranda became a key feature of the home, however, this is you could easily recreate on a two-story house if needed.
If you’re carrying the colonial theme throughout your home, getting the front door right is key. Luckily, we can create bespoke British Colonial style front door for any home.
Simply contact us to get started.
Image credits: Flickr, Ikea.