The Key Characteristics of a Traditional English Bedroom

Traditional English Bedroom

If you’re considering redecorating your bedroom and want to introduce a touch of traditional English style, there are some key elements to be aware of…. but before we get there, just one important pointer. The traditional English style isn’t rigid, but rather has enough flexibility to fit in with most types of home. Don’t think you have to recreate something reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice to get the look, either: providing you stick to some basic key elements when it comes to color, accessories, and fabrics, you can be as subtle and refrained as you like – although, of course, if you want to go all out with four-poster beds, top-to-toe florals and more wood than you’d find in an average forest, there’s nothing to stop you!


The traditional English style is all about florals. Whether it’s a bedspread covered in faded roses, a wallpaper strewn with daisies, or statement curtains teeming with wildflowers, you need to have at least some element of flower -power in your room to get that authentic English vibe. Just how far you go with the theme is up to you: if you want to go all out with floral walls, floral bedcovers, and floral window dressings, then feel free. If you’d rather a subtler approach, a few scatter cushions will still give the desired look without leaving you to drown in a sea of chintz. One thing to beware of is an overly uniform, designed feel: if you do choose to have multiple floral motifs, try to vary them up, rather than having the same pattern throughout.

Muted Colors

As noted by The Spruce, colors are vital to a traditional English bedroom (think greens, yellows, and pinks – all the colors, in fact, of an English country garden), but avoid the temptation to take things neon and keep the hues subtle and muted. Complement the basic color palette mentioned with some washed-out blues and faded greys to reflect the colors of the English sky.

Plants and Flowers

Plants and flowers will not only introduce some color and life into the bedroom, but they’ll also give a real sense of the English country tradition… providing they’re chosen wisely, that is. Avoid the temptation to take things tropical and keep things simple (and British) with some indoor potted ivy’s, ferns and geraniums. As suggested by Architectural Digest, plant them in a colorful pot (an Asian-inspired porcelain planter may sound slightly off-key, but its reference to Britain’s colonial past is surprisingly apt and will add a nice contrast to the otherwise bucolic feel of the bedroom). When it comes to cut plants, a small bunch of flowers that looks like it’s been taken straight from the garden will go down a treat, while some fragrant, over-blown roses will also add the desired touch (and smell divine into the bargain). Keep things slightly messy in terms of the arrangement – you want the end result to look like you’ve plonked the flowers into a vase (which, by the way, should be glass or crystal, and preferably antique), rather than engaged the talents of a florist.


Fabrics are where you get to have some fun. If the overall style of your home is contemporary, some crisp, white linen bedclothes will give a traditional English feel while matching the overall design of your décor. If you want to go for a more country-inspired aesthetic, try a patchwork quilt or some grain sack pillows. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with floral or ticking-stripe bedclothes. Fabrics elsewhere should follow the same principle, but keep things mixed (remember, the overly designed layout is the antithesis of the English look): geometric patterned fabric can be matched with florals, and colors can be mixed and matched to your heart’s content (while still sticking to the same color palette seen elsewhere of pinks, greens, yellows, and faded blues).


How you go about choosing the furniture for your English bedroom will depend on whether you opt for a grand, elegant feel or a more rustic, countrified approach. If you go for the former, an upholstered, Georgian chair, a four-poster bed, and a dressing table in rich, polished mahogany will add a touch of class and a timeless appeal. In the case of the latter, keep things simple with a plain, wooden chest and a bed with a humble design (or even one with upholstered bedpost). Whichever way you choose to take the style, keep furniture wooden (with the possible exception of some antique brass handles on chests). What type of wood you plump for is down to your individual preference- stripped pine, oak, walnut, mahogany all have a place. Rustic layouts may benefit from wood in a lighter treatment, while formal, regal spaces can take all the dark, polished woods you can throw at it. Unless space is an issue, introduce a few floor- to- ceiling bookshelves – no English room, whether kitchen, living room or bedroom, is complete without a few tomes and a cozy-looking chair to snuggle into with a good book.

Ceilings and Lights

Keep things traditional when it comes to lightening: wall sconces, floor lamps, silk-shaded table lamps are all viable options (although keep shades simple and in plain white, cream or ivory). If your room has the height for it, a few beams running across the ceiling will add a true authentic touch.

Finishing Touches

Don’t underestimate the difference finishing accents can make – not only will they emphasize and reinforce the overall look you’re going for, but they’ll also introduce that personal touch that will really help turn your bedroom into a cozy haven. As suggested by Decor4all, turn over your local antique shops, flea markets and thrift shops for such classic English accessories as candelabras, table clocks, and porcelain figurines. When it comes to art, portraits, murals, and landscape paintings are all very much in keeping with the style, while a few clutches of family photographs (preferably in black and white) on a bedside table or chest won’t go amiss, either.

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