It has been ages since British colonies have ceased to exist though the aura still persists. This is exemplified by the importance of British colonial decor in interior designing industry. A perfect blend of traditional British elements and the rustic tastes of the colonies which they inhabited, the colonial decor is all about elegance and style as well as adventure. What you witness in a British colonial style decor is conventional British interiors and tropical elements. With wooden furniture made of bamboo, rattan and palms, this style creates a great impact on any room with its earthy hues, woven textures and irresistible elegance. To make this style a part of your home, you can blend the historical value pieces with modern ones as the decor itself originated as a result of mingling of traditional British values with those of the colonies. If this style has managed to pique your interest then perhaps you should read the next section and get tips on how to recreate this magical look for your own abode.
British Colonial Design
Colour & Texture
The colour and texture of a typical British colonial home is rich and vibrant, thanks to the varied influences on British culture. Usage of bold animal prints and bright fabrics makes the style thrilling and textured. While decorating a British colonial style room, opt for quiet and subtle colour palettes; choosing shades of berry, forest, sky or sea, pale yellow, light foam green, pastel blue and soft red would be an excellent idea. These colours create an island bungalow appearance but if you want a neutral look then use deeper shades in contrast to lighter ones to evade a ‘washed out’ appearance.
Furniture in British colonial style is, as everything else, a perfect blend of conventional British with Asian and island designs. Opt for beds made of mahogany canopy with beautiful designs and bamboo panels on foot and headboards for a vibrant, visual treat. Faux leather accents would make for perfect backrests and it would be great if you can get tables and chairs with carved legs and exotic prints to put in the living room. Most of the furniture pieces, all across the home, can have cane and shuttered panels. It would also be good if you can include chair backs, table tops and tables made of cane, bamboo and rattan insets. Most of them have tropical designs like botanical, shells and animal prints.
Strong Mahogany Furniture
As British furniture is typically made of mahogany, you can choose a few areas to provide focal point anchors in the room. The replicas of these pieces are easily accessible in furniture stores, antique shops and even the local fairs. Picking up a dark coloured piece or one which is worn would create the traditional colonial effect. If you wish to decorate the living room using mahogany, opt for end tables, mahogany frames or coffee tables or sofas. You can beautify your bedroom with a huge mahogany dresser, night tables and a bed frame.
If you can manage to get some island inspired accent pieces for your rooms, it would be a great move. While you are at it, you can also get some thatched rugs or place mats for the coffee table and some other rags that can be put under plants and books. If there is an unsightly corner in the room, cover it using a bamboo three-panel screen. Choosing wicker furniture pieces and island-type jars, which are full of shells and sand, would provide a great finish to the room. You can also pick up wicker sconces to use as wall hangings in your rooms.
British Colonial Style Accessories
British colonial homes use heavy fabrics to avoid the tropical heat. Curtains with flamboyant valances decorate the windows while the curtain fabrics incorporating gold threads beautify the interiors. The tie-backs in these curtains were traditionally made of braided or tasselled cords. In order to take it to the next level, you can use accessories such as wooden or heavy brass candlesticks to decorate the dining table. Using sisal area rug, hurricane lamps, sconces, potted plants in ceramic planters would enhance the overall colonial mood.
A typical British colonial home did not use carpets, instead rugs and mats were used to cover the wooden floors. Often made of local materials, these were mostly found in sisal or reed. Opt for natural colours which go well with the dark woods and you can recreate that age-old classy effect. You can also get light shaded and hand woven rugs with prints for a slightly toned down yet classy finish.
Draperies And Linens
In British colonial homes, linens and draperies were chosen keeping in mind the heat which persisted in the colonies. In line with the traditional choice, you can also choose draperies which are lighter in shade or have neutral colours to beat the heat. The linens you pick must be cool and light enough to blend well with the colour scheme of the room. Adding mosquito nettings and light silks would make the room look like a typical British colonial piece of work.
Mix Fine China With Pirate Chic
In order to create a British colonial decor, use delicate china vases full of flowers and silver vases with jagged pirate elements to get the complete effect. You can easily find china and silver vases in local department stores. Add pirate elements to them such as old wood pieces, worn-out trunks and fabrics to add that very English pirate atmosphere. Make sure that you fill a vase with old coins and fix up a collection of antique bottles on the mantle of dresser or the fireplace.
Appealing, alluring and adventurous – that is British Colonial decor. Designing your house in this style is a great challenge, which you would love to be successful at. So get creative, have fun and create a home decor that is worth a million bucks.