Sophie Robinson is the undisputed queen of colour and packs a punch within the interior design industry. With 25 years’ experience in journalism, television, and design, she has made it her mission to encourage people to create colourful, unique, and vibrant homes they’ll love. She shares her colour inspiration on her award-winning social media, her online design courses, and her podcast The Great Indoors.
During this past year, with all its challenges, we have seen a huge increase in people speculating about relocating to the countryside or urbanites yearning to at least get the look. Whether you’re moving to the rolling hills or staying in the city, the quintessential English country style caters to all. I’m here to break it to you - chintz is finally back on the map.
Chintz florals imbue all the nostalgia and prettiness of the English country house, but it needs a new reinvention to keep it looking fresh and modern. While maximalist style is at the forefront of interior trends, indulging in some full-on florals is only half the story. Finding the right balance of colour, pattern, texture and blending it with eclectic furnishings is key. Country house style is all about looking to the past for inspiration and then mixing it up with design references from all the era’s in a fabulously flamboyant way that looks chic and effortless. Your grandmother’s Victorian sideboard can sit perfectly next to the Noguchi coffee table when you are distracted by the bold botanical wallpaper.
Floral prints are the cornerstone of the country house style, and whether you choose a big bloom or a bold botanical, playing with the scale by mixing both large and small prints can make an otherwise traditional look become striking and modern. Never, ever overly co-ordinate your prints and avoid the matchy-matchy look at all costs. Pattern clashing brings personality and I love mixing patterns together to see how they all fight for attention. That said, you need to think of a tight colour story that will link it all together, and often this can come from one ‘hero’ fabric, like a favourite cushion. Mixing modern geometrics with flouncy florals creates a distinctive and unique look. Don’t forget the ever-faithful stripes, they will never date and are a calming contrast to the more extroverted patterns. For balance add a few plains, otherwise it all goes a bit bonkers.
Whatever route you take, this is a maximum attack approach to decorating so you need to feel the fear and do it anyway. Consider voluminous patterned curtains at the window, a busy patterned wallpaper covered with artworks, a bold rug on the floor and a chintz sofa centre stage. Just hold off on the swags, no one is quite ready for their return yet.