British Colonial Style Living Room Design

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British colonial style is a popular design that combines traditional British elements, colors and furniture styles with tropical, Caribbean, Indian and Asian influences. British colonial style came before the Plantation style and has a similar way of combining traditional basics with exotic accessories and pieces. You can safely keep that regal, even slightly formal couch and pair it with an old leather club chair and your mother’s antique wood end tables, and build your British colonial living room from there.

You can add tropical influences with splashes of color in accessories and rattan and raffia chairs, or images of the South Seas with a colored wood ceiling fan and an Asian style Hutch. The point is to make it comfortable and chic, with interesting accent pieces.

How To Choose Furniture For The British Colonial Living Room

Animal Prints – These are great for you to add some texture and exotic flavor to your living room and you can easily do so by getting an animal print rug, or an accent lamp with an animal print shade. While it may seem a trendy piece, these prints have stood the test of time and are always sought after, ensuring it will look appropriate for the British Colonial style and your modern home.

Gilded Mirrors – Part of the British influence of this style includes having some pieces that are more traditional, and a stylish gold mirror with some detail on it would go nicely in a British colonial style living room. You could place it over the couch, or else have it on a wall with a similarly styled table underneath to incorporate the elegance of the British Empire.

Ceiling Fan – Nothing says the tropics like a ceiling fan, and putting one in your living room does double duty by being practical as well as useful in warmer months to cool the room. The fan creates a relaxed feel, as if you are on vacation in your own home, which is a key element in this design style.

Ready for Planting Finished Product

Rattan – You can add a rattan end table, especially one with leather accents on it, to give texture and style to your living room furniture set. Rattan is a great material for a British Colonial room because it strongly evokes the relaxed natural feel of a tropical destination.

Trunks - Often times trunks, either old wood or leather ones, will serve as a great set of end tables, or as a decorative element against a wall to add to the British colonial feel of the room. British explorers used large trunks to carry their belongings to exotic destinations, making this accent both stylish and authentic. Plus, it’s an easy way to add extra storage to your living room.

Entertainment Center – Since most living rooms feature a media center, this is a good piece of furniture to purchase in the British Colonial style. Decide whether you want the entertainment center to reflect the traditional British or tropical style, and shop accordingly. Stick to dark, detailed wood pieces for traditional style. If possible, buying furniture made in the British Colonial theme will ensure your piece includes elements of both.

Bowls/Vases – Brightly colored decorative bowls or vases serve as a nice burst of color and design piece in the room. In your room of mostly woods, whites and beiges, which British Colonial rooms tend to be, having bursts of color that are in either an exotic print or pattern are keeping in style and allow you to have a little fun. Ballarddesigns,com, and all have great items in British colonial styles that allow you to add some color and fun pieces to your room.

British Colonial Decorating Ideas


One key decorating feature in a British colonial room is texture, and lots of it. Whether it’s the rattan on the back of a chair, the animal skin rug, a cotton sofa or palm or bamboo trees, British colonial rooms have items that individually include texture, thus creating a dynamic room. Having great textures in your room means that while each item is unique, they all blend together to create a warm tapestry that makes your room appealing to the eye and the senses.

Color Palette

Light colored walls, woods of different shades, and hints of color around the room are common for British colonial living rooms. You can go with a yellow or light green hue as well, but mostly these rooms are neutral in color overall.British colonial rooms allow you to create a lush and comfortable living room for your home, so enjoy hunting for your pieces and relaxing in your oasis.

Last Updated: January 9, 2012
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About Leah Gillis Leah Gillis has worked for several major news outlets, as well as a television series on home buying and decor. Having grown up in New England, she has lived in New York City, Los Angeles and Milan. When not trying to get a great deal, she is often found reading something, writing something or talking to someone.

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