top of page

British Style: Your Ultimate Guide to Key Design Elements

colorful sofa and gallery wall

There is a unique eccentricity to British style that gets us every time. When we look at our favorite designers and looks from across the pond, we find there is a celebration of what is joyful over what is expensive that lends authenticity and warmth to the spaces. And like us, these designers tend not to take themselves too seriously. Even grand rooms will have something silly in them, and doing what you like and what makes you happy is the best approach to design in our book!

Are you ready to take a walk with us through what we consider to be some of the key elements of (current) British design? Let's see if you agree!


Rarely do you see a "perfect" room that feels staged in British design. We are enamored with the way the rooms feel collected and lived in, with layers of unique patterns, colours and elements that create depth and interest. The tendency to have personal, quirky and handmade items incorporated into the designs lends a cozy, lived-in aesthetic. The Brits' ability to see the beauty in the unusual creates this eclectic flair that captures our fancy.

A colorful dining room at Palette restaurant with Kit Kemp wallpaper

When in NY you can experience the talent of Kit Kemp at Palette, the little restaurant tucked away on the Beauty floor in Bergdorf Goodman. The Gotham Salad is a staple there, and I highly recommend it! Photo via Kit Kemp


With many eccentric characters hailing from Britain, it is no surprise that there is a whimsical nature to many of the designs we gravitate toward for inspiration. Celebrating the unique details that create joy is inherent to British design. There is a sense of humor that personalizes the spaces and shows off a sort of irreverence that is both charming and interesting. Can cuteness be irreverent? We aren't sure, but we like it best when it comes off that way.

Photo 1 via @Lamp London Home / Photo 2 via Molly Mahon / Photo 3 via @Drummonds Bathrooms

Pattern Play

"Have nothing in your house which you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

–William Morris 1880 We could not agree more with William Morris , founder of the Arts & Crafts Movement in Victorian culture. Based on this heritage it is no surprise that the UK has an abundance of talent in pattern designers across all mediums. And the mix of so many patterns and mediums is what makes the style unique. From hand-painted details to the mix of all sorts of colour palettes and print scales, the pattern play is one key element we strive to emulate when we create an eclectic interior.

a bedroom behind curtains underneath a hand painted arch

Tess Newell is a talented decorative artist who hand-paints bespoke murals and furniture. She started out in set design in the film industry, and she has recently launched her own collection of hand-painted homewares which embody a free-spirited version of grandmillenial style.

Hand-painted bunk beds with patterned drapery, whimsical animal wallpaper, children's room

Kit Kemp makes a smaller space sing with character, whimsiness and fun.

Photo 1 via House of Hackney / Photo 2 via Emma J. Shipley / Photo 3 via Ellen Merchant


Decoupage, block-printing, hand-painted furniture decoration, embroidery and needlepoint, hand-pleated lamp shades, and all other sorts of crafts contribute to the allure of British design. We absolutely love two things about this element. One is that having something handmade always brings a personalized feeling to a space. The other is the way that handicrafts can take something old, an antique credenza for example, and give it new life. Handmade items add a human element that gives a space warmth.

Photos via The Fabled Thread

Photo 1 via @dingleydellcreative / Photo 2 via @sophiafrancesstudio

Striped, Skirted and Pleated

“The details are not the details. They make the design.” - Charles Eames

While the Brits do not corner the market on stripes, they know how to do a stripe like no one else. The bench from Studio Atkinson shows that a little detail makes the piece. At Colours of Arley you can customize your striped fabric in more than 180 color options. Sink skirts are making a comeback, adding a little charm and tradition in small kitchens and laundry rooms, as are pleated shades in fun fabrics. Penny Morrison's flagship shop on Langdon Street in London is the holy grail of patterned and pleated lamp shades, but you can also get the look at places like OKA and etsy, or give a DIY tutorial a try.

Photo 1 via Studio Atkinson / Photo 2 via Colours of Arley

Get the Look

If you're ready to bring a little British style into your space, but you aren't planning a trip across the pond anytime soon, don't despair. Aside from our ability at TATE | studio to help you to achieve any or all of these design elements in your home, there are lots of fun ways you can do it on your own too!

1. Learn a Handicraft

fabric wrapped picture frame mats

Wrapped mats via @carolynmisterek

2. Buy Vintage and Antique (and gussy it up if you want!)

woman looking at vintage items at Round Top Antiques in Texas

3. British Home Decor Brands You Can Shop in the US

woman sitting in colorful room with red walls in front of a fireplace

Oka Building on over two decades of collections, 13 experiential stores in the UK and three in the US (including one on McKinney Avenue in Dallas) OKA evokes a cozy, eclectic British vibe.

Morris and Co. The timeless designs of William Morris in fabric, wallpaper and paint.

Clothing, homeware and accessories are produced in collaboration with artisans, weavers, and mills from across the globe.

photo via @oka

4. Contact TATE | studio!

We would love nothing more than to help you bring some British design elements into your home, or to simply help you to express your own personal style through your home, whatever that may be!

Just fill out our Design Inquiry Form to get the dialogue started. And follow us on instagram for more inspiring content. We look forward to hearing from you!

97 views0 comments


bottom of page