Grand country homes may look grand from the outside, but can easily look dated and feel unwelcoming on the inside, especially if they have been poorly maintained. Renovating and decorating a grand country house is a huge undertaking, but is the perfect opportunity to improve your home beyond recognition.
Turning a stuffy country house into a bright elegant home isn’t easy. It’s a major project. It requires an expert eye, building contractors with experience of period properties, and decorators and interior designers who can help you achieve the look and feel you want in your beautiful home.
Here are some pointers to help you make your grand country house feel truly like a welcoming home.
Make your country kitchen the heart of the home
No-one can argue, country house kitchens invoke a warm fuzzy feeling. Conjuring up images of Downton Abbey, the kitchen’s multiple rooms for different domestic activities, including a butler’s pantry are quintessentially part of any English country estate.
While less glamorous chores are banished to utility rooms, the grand kitchen in a country home provides an inviting space for family meals, leaving the formal dining room for special occasions and entertaining. Your kitchen should be the space in the home where the family most comes together. You can turn a blind eye to formality here. Make your country kitchen the informal heart of your home.
Elegant furnishings with a modern twist
Classic furnishings are a must in the grand country home, but there are no rules to say you can’t do traditional and elegant, with a modern twist. Forget harsh contemporary shapes. You still need to choose rounded edges and plush upholstery. Select comfortable fabrics that create a warm, inviting atmosphere. Your furnishings need to be grand, but friendly and liveable.
Not everything needs to be grand. Carefully chosen, simple furniture pieces and accessories can fit into the grand scheme. However, you do have to have a bit of an eye for putting things together. Consult a specialist interior designer if you must.
The art of accessorising
When furnishing a prestigious home it’s easy to forget about the small accessories and focus on the large pieces of furniture such as the sofas, dining tables, coffee tables and cabinetry. But without the finishing touches, beautifully decorated and elegantly furnished rooms can feel less than homely.
Personally selected items such as cushions, rugs, mirrors and artwork bring your personality to the room. It’s those little last touches that will make your beautiful home stand out from the crowd. Rugs and cushions are powerful accessories to make a space feel more homely. Rugs especially can bring a large space together.
Your accessories should enhance the furniture and architecture of the room. Avoid matching things too carefully – you can use the same colour to bring a group of objects with different form together. On shelves and mantles don’t place objects in a straight line. Stagger them to create depth.
Decorate with antiques
The authentic, English country house is hard to replicate without using old things. Grand country homes need antiques. The country home is the perfect setting for items that don’t look shiny and new. There is something utterly enchanting about antiques. Centuries of history adorning the shelves and the walls of your home prevent your country home from becoming too modern or blingy.
Breathe life into your home with plants
Plants are wonderful accessories that make a home feel really lived in. Topiary and beautiful plants don’t have to be confined to the garden. Calamondin Orange trees (they are small) are perfect for conservatories. You can harvest the oranges to make marmalade. Country Living recommends you think beyond spider plants. Take a look at their gallery of fifteen unique indoor plants that will add interest to your home.
We love the transformation this couple gave to their grand period house in the country. Bedroom panelling has been painted to reflect light. Farrow and Ball’s Light Blue paint lightens up the whole space and makes the room feel much airier and brighter. It was a bold move, but we think it paid off. Don’t touch panelling and beams in the more formal downstairs rooms. Any whiff of an overly formal atmosphere can be offset with soft, plush furnishings and elegant lighting.