How to bring British design into your home


Kathryn Ireland’s signature style is on display in her showroom, featuring a comfortable sofa piled with plump, colorful cushions. (Jon Hugstad)

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a royal wedding in London on Friday.

You have to hand it to the British: They are experts on creating atmosphere, whether they’re planning a major social event or decorating a home.

Classic English interiors have a “wonderful, old, lived-in look,” says Los Angeles-based interior and textile designer Kathryn M. Ireland, who was born in Wales.

Hallmarks of this style, says Ireland, include well-proportioned rooms, high ceilings, big, deep sofas, plump cushions, faded fabrics, hand-me-down art, low lighting and nothing that seems too new. It’s all about looking effortless and being comfortable, she says.

Ireland, whose third book, “Summers in France” (Gibbs Smith), hit shelves in April , says her decorating roots are classic English but her style is “British bohemian meets California country, with a little French provincial thrown in.” And color. Lots of color.

Julian Chichester Hobbs mirror in gold finish ($3,726 at And Beige, 1781 Florida Ave. NW, 202-234-1557, www.andbeige.com). (Julian Chichester)

If you’re looking for English influence, but prefer subtle shades, one of the new paint colors from Farrow & Ball might appeal to you. Like things that look well-worn? A Shabby Chic console or Julian Chichester mirror could fit the bill.

As for that royal wedding: “I’m going to be in Copenhagen,” Ireland says. “But yes, absolutely. I’m definitely going to be watching.”

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