British Colonial Decorating Ideas

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British Colonial Decorating Ideas
Wicker furniture is one of the staples of British colonial decorating. (Interior Furniture image by I-MAGIC from

British colonial style consists of traditionally British elements mixed with the flavour of the islands the Brits inhabited during the colonial days of the 1600s and 1700s. To decorate with this style successfully, you should look for an eclectic blend of pieces, because the British colonial style developed as a mix of British tastes and sensibilities and the island climates.

Mix Fine China With Pirate Chic

Don’t be afraid to mix fine, delicate pieces like china, vases full of fresh flowers and silver with rugged pirate elements, advises HGTV. You can find fine china and silver accents at local department stores in the furniture and housewares sections. Add to them pieces that bring in the pirate element. These pieces, which include old pieces of wood, worn-out trunks and fabrics that resemble a pirate’s bandanna, provide a pirate flair that prevents the room from becoming too stuffy. Finally, don’t forget the pirate accents: Fill a vase with old coins or line up a collection of antique bottles on the mantle of the fireplace or on the dresser.

Strong Mahogany Furniture

Select a few strong pieces to provide focal-point anchors in the room. Typically, British colonial furniture is made from mahogany. You can locate replicas of these types of pieces in larger furniture stores or get some originals at antiques shops and fairs. When choosing these pieces look for several pieces that are darkly coloured and perhaps a bit worn. If you plan on decorating the living room with mahogany, look for end tables, coffee tables or sofas with mahogany frames. If it’s the bedroom that you look to turn into a British colonial retreat, go for a large mahogany dresser, bed frame and night tables.

Island Elements

When looking for the accent pieces for your British colonial room, think about securing some island-inspired pieces. To bring these accents into your room, look for woven elements like thatched rugs or place mats that you can put under books and plants on your coffee table. Cover an unsightly corner of the room with a woven three-panel screen. Choose accent furniture pieces made of wicker. Finally, look for island-type accents like jars full of sand and shells or wicker sconces to hang from the walls.

Light-Colored Walls

Typically, British colonial-style homes feature light-coloured walls. While you don’t necessarily need to select white paint for your walls, you do want to consider a light sea foam green or pastel blue. These light colours not only exude an island bungalow feel, but they set off the dark coloured wood accents as well.

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