Guide to Modern English Interior Design – Elegant and Stylish

Are you looking for a stylish and elegant way to decorate your home? If so, modern English interior design is the way to go!

This blog will guide you in creating a modern British home. So jump in and start planning your dream home!

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What is Modern English interior design?

Modern English interior design is a style that combines British style with contemporary elements. This creates a stylish and timeless look. Many homes use this style today. It is becoming popular for its ability to be both elegant and functional.

modern english grand living room
Elegant and grand living room

English interiors would use floral-patterned made from chintz for curtains. Modern English interiors would instead use plain or simple patterns for the curtains.

modern english living room plain curtain
Plain curtains | Image credit:

This does not mean we do not incorporate any of the English decors. An example would be including Chesterfield sofas that evoke a timeless, traditional aesthetic.

modern english chester sofa teal
English style interior with Chesterfield sofas

What are the features of the Modern English style

Classic and timeless

English design evokes a sense of timelessness, luxury and elegance. At the same time, it also emphasises comfortability and practicality. 

modern english lounge

Not only are the materials of high quality, but the designer has considered every detail. This includes armchairs, sofas, ottomans, bookcases, and more. All these pieces are designed to stand the test of time. 


One of the hallmarks of this style is a fireplace. This is usually placed in the living room.

modern english living room fireplace

It adds a touch of sophistication and warmth to any room. Plus, it acts as a focal point to create an inviting space.

💡 Tip
In Malaysia, an actual fireplace would not be suitable in our hot weather. Instead, we could use a faux fireplace as a replacement.

Decorative wall panels

Decorative wall panels are also a common feature of this style. They are a great way to add interest to any room.

modern english corridor panel moulding
Corridor with wainscoting for added visual interest

Examples of such wall panels are wainscoting and crown moulding. These elements add texture and depth to any room in your home, creating an elegant atmosphere.

Colour palette

For a modern British home, neutral colours are often used with pops of bright and bold accents.

Here are some colours that are popular for this style.

Timeless colour with a monochrome palette

White is the most popular choice for a base colour for modern English homes. It is classic and timeless and provides an excellent canvas for other colours to stand out against it.

modern english living room white palette

The clean look of white also creates a sense of open space and airiness.

Black may seem to be a colour to avoid. But it is an excellent choice for accent pieces in modern English interiors.

modern english black kitchen
Kitchen design using black kitchen cabinets

It can provide contrast and create a sophisticated look.

Neutral colours

Neutral colours can be a beautiful addition to any room. They are perfect for contemporary settings or rooms that need a touch of elegance.

modern english living room neutral palette

Creamy colours such as ivory, cream and light beige go well with modern furniture and accessories.

While taupe looks great with wood tones and flooring.

modern english bedroom with neutral colour
Bedroom using a taupe colour palette

Grey is an elegant choice for almost any room. It goes well with both natural materials (wooden floors, stone) and artificial ones (furniture, wallpaper).

Bold colours and patterns

One way to do this is by using floral prints, which can add a vibrant and lively touch to any space. Floral prints can be found on a variety of items, including curtains, cushions, rugs, and wallpaper.

modern english floral print curtain
Floral pattern curtains | Image credit: Etsy (Micozyshop)

Rich, jewel-toned hues are another way to add bold colour to a modern English interior. These deep, saturated colours can create a luxurious and sophisticated atmosphere. They are often used to highlight specific features or focal points within a room.

modern english wine room sapphire blue

Some popular jewel tones for English interiors include emerald green, sapphire blue, and ruby red.

Other ways to incorporate bold colours and patterns into modern English interiors include using coloured artwork, adding patterned throw pillows or blankets, and using bold, graphic wallpaper.

modern english ruby chesterfield sofa
Image credit:

It’s important to balance these bold elements with neutral accents, such as white or beige, to create a cohesive and harmonious space.

Use of muted pastel tones

Muted pastel tones can be a great way to add a touch of femininity to your home. This will give the room a soft and calming feeling, while also giving it an updated and modern look.

modern english bedroom pink pastel


English interior design emphasises the use of soft, diffused lighting. This creates a warm and inviting atmosphere in any room.

Natural light

Most interior designers use natural light as a key part of their design process. This adds a warm and inviting ambience to any room.

When you pair this with sheer curtains, it softens the light and ensures that it is not too intense.

modern english corridor natural light
Foldable doors to allow plenty of natural light in

Use large windows or doors to allow more sunlight to enter the space.

Skylights and atriums are also effective at bringing natural light into a room.

modern english dining natural light
Foldable doors and reflective coloured-mirror to reflect the light

Another option is to use reflective surfaces, such as mirrors or light-coloured paint, to bounce sunlight around the space. This makes it feel brighter and more open.

Recessed lighting

Recessed lighting is the most common type of lighting used in modern English homes. This type of light is installed into the ceiling, which creates a softer, more diffused illumination.

modern english living room recessed lighting

Pendant lights

Pendant lights are used to provide general lighting or to highlight specific areas of the room such as a dining table or kitchen island.

modern english dining pendant lights
Pendant light highlighting marble dining table with gold utensils

Wall sconces

Wall sconces are lights that are mounted on the wall and can provide both general and accent lighting.

They are a good option for illuminating hallways, corridors, and other spaces where overhead lighting may not be practical or desired.

modern english entertainment room wall scones


Lamps add a touch of elegance and warmth to any room. Whether you’re looking for a classic English style room or something more modern, lamps can be the perfect addition.

modern english sofa chair with lamp
Image credit: Laura Design company

There are many different types of lampshades to choose from such as floor lamps and table lamps.

💡 Tip
Try choosing those that give off a soft warm light for a more comfortable atmosphere.


When it comes to furniture for this style, comfort and elegance are the two main considerations. Typically, this look is achieved by using victorian furniture.

Upholstered items are often used in classic English-style furniture. This adds an extra level of comfort and sophistication.

Chesterfield sofa

Chesterfield sofas are a popular choice as a piece of Victorian furniture due to their versatility.

They can be made in various shades and textures, and often become the most eye-catching item in a living room.

modern english bar chesterfield sofa

These long couches come in plush fabrics or rich leather. They are recognized by their tufted upholstery and rolled arms that are the same height as the back.

Add some velvet cushions as a finishing luxurious touch.


Rugs can add texture, warmth and style to a space. This makes them perfect for use in living or dining rooms.

modern english living room with blue rug
Blue rug on marble creates a living room space

Choosing vibrant colours and intricate patterns would instantly transform a room. It can bring an air of sophistication to the space.


When it comes to curtains in the English style, simplicity and elegance are key. You can use sheer or opaque curtains to create that elegant look, depending on your needs.

modern english bedroom with teal curtains

Create a timeless, polished look in your space with an array of curtains that range from antique-inspired prints to neutral hues.

💡 Tip
Make sure the curtain’s length reaches all the way down to the floor for style and elegance.


If you’re looking for a versatile and stylish way to add English style to your interior design, an ottoman is a perfect option. Originally from Turkey, these furniture pieces have become popular all around the world thanks to their classic design.

modern english living room with ottoman
Ottoman used as a coffee table

This footrest can be used as side tables, coffee tables or even as seating options- making it perfect for any room in the house.

modern english bedroom ottoman

The most common usage would be at the edge of a bed in the master bedroom.

Artwork and paintings

Artwork and paintings can be a beautiful addition to any room, but they need to be treated with care if they are not to be overwhelmed by design.

modern english bedroom with beautiful art painting

Keep the artwork and paintings light and airy in order for them to blend well with their surroundings.

Other accessories

Other items such as vintage clocks, bookshelves and cupboards, antique vases and ornaments, or anything else with an old-world charm, can be used to complete the look.

modern english lounge with bookshelves and antique clock
Antique clock to bring old world charm to the lounge

These can be displayed on mantles or bookshelves as interesting conversation pieces. These are a nice finishing touch with an English country style.

Carpentry and decor

One of the important features of the English style is having detailed decorative wall panels.


Wainscoting is a traditional English style of wall panelling that adds extra elegance and style to any room.

It involves attaching thin wooden boards to the lower part of the walls.

modern english foyer wainscoting

This type of carpentry often features decorative mouldings and trim along its edges as well as intricate carvings on each board.

modern English corridor with wainscoting

In addition to its stylish appearance, wainscoting is also durable and easy to maintain.

Crown moulding

Crown moulding is another type of woodwork often used in English interiors. This decorative trim infuses style and elegance into any room. It adds visual interest to floors and bookcases and gives plain walls depth.

modern english kitchen with crown moulding
Crown moulding on top of built-in cabinets

When decorating an English-style home, take advantage of any exposed structural elements and use crown moulding to your advantage.


Wallpaper is a perfect way to update your home décor without breaking the bank.

modern english bedroom with beautiful wallpaper
Beautiful wallpaper that acts as a backdrop for the bed frame

Wrap up

Modern English interior design is all about bringing together the best elements of traditional and modern styles.

modern english living room with fireplace and art painting

By combining timeless pieces such as a fireplace, Victorian furniture, wainscoting and crown moulding carpentry, you can create a luxurious and stylish home.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to create a space with a traditional charm that’s still up-to-date with today’s modern trends.


English style is a combination of traditional and contemporary elements. If you appreciate a mix of traditional and contemporary elements, the Modern English style may be a good fit for you.

Furthermore, such an inviting design exudes luxury and makes your visitors feel right at home.

Therefore, if you want to add some character to your home without going overboard, choose the English style. It’s versatile and easy to work with, so it’ll fit into any environment effortlessly.

The history of English interior design is rich and varied, reflecting England’s diverse cultural influences and changing tastes over time.

During the medieval period, English interiors were basic, with simple furnishings and minimal decoration. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Tudor and Stuart periods saw the introduction of more ornate and opulent interiors, with carved wood furnishings, richly coloured fabrics, and elaborate plasterwork and frescoes.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Georgian and Victorian periods saw a shift towards more neoclassical and Gothic styles, with a focus on symmetry, proportion, and attention to detail. Furnishings were often ornate and opulent, with a strong emphasis on craftsmanship and quality materials.

The 20th century saw a range of styles, including Art Deco, Mid-Century Modern, and the minimalism of the Bauhaus movement. In more recent years, there has been a return to more traditional and classic styles, with a focus on quality craftsmanship and timeless design.

Yes, we have designed and built a range of styles for our clients. You can view other styles here or contact us to find out more.

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