As a London-based team with Sydney roots and Mediterranean sensibilities, our interior design compass is all over the map. In our humble opinion, in a cool, jet-setter way. Of all the styles around though, modern British country homes and cottages might be one of our favourites. Think about it; timeless charm meets contemporary elegance. Cottagecore meets sophisticated. From elegant cottages nestled in picturesque landscapes to grand country estates with a touch of luxury, country-style is an antique interior design style, with a no frills approach to beauty.
In this article, we will provide you with valuable insights on how to achieve the modern country aesthetic, both via elements listed and using luxury suppliers we personally know and work with. So grab a cup of tea, sit back, and get ready to be inspired by the beauty and elegance of British country homes and cottages.
The modern country home is no suburban style house; it is much more
Country homes have become synonymous with a simpler, more idyllic way of life—a cherished emblem of England's architectural and cultural legacy. From their low ceilings and exposed beams to their thatched or tiled roofs, each element showcases a harmonious blend of tradition and elegance. These one or two-story structures, often constructed using local materials such as stone or brick, meld into the surrounding landscape, offering an enchanting sight for all.
Traditionally serving as farmhouses or homes for agricultural workers, the British country house continues to dot the landscape, seducing urban dwellers to embrace the tranquility of the outdoors.
While each cottage evokes its own particular style, you'll notice that every dining room and living room has a warm and inviting ambiance, boasting traditional furnishings adorned with delightful floral prints.
Beyond their architectural allure, English cottages hold a profound cultural significance. Romanticized in literature, immortalized in art, and immortalized in folk songs, these homes evoke nostalgia for a simpler past—a reflection of England's agricultural heritage and a longing for a more tranquil existence.
As time marches forward, the allure of English cottages endures, however, they are getting more and more contemporary as trends shift.
The modern country home aesthetic effortlessly blends traditional elements with contemporary design, resulting in a space that is both charming and up-to-date. Neutral colour palettes and the use of natural materials are hallmarks of this style, with open floor plans and large windows now becoming common features in modern country homes. Texture plays a key role in achieving the desired look, with natural British stone, reclaimed wood, and brass accents adding visual interest and warmth to the interior design.
Many designers incorporate technology and smart home features in these refurbished cottages, which allows these homes to balance comfort and functionality to create a comfortable everyday life.
When it comes to designing a modern country home, investing in quality pieces is essential. Second-hand shopping offers a treasure trove of unique finds that can add character and charm to your space. From farmhouse-inspired rugs and elegant accessories to soft linens and traditional florals, there is no shortage of options to choose from. Additionally, consider incorporating wood flooring, upholstered furnishings, and timeless wallpaper to further evoke the modern country style.
Simplicity, symmetry, pastels, cushions: The perfect country modern house
01. Joanna Wood’s Cotswold house
With a reputation cultivated over 25 years, Joanna Wood is one of Britain's top names in the global interior design industry. Joanna gives her meticulous attention to detail to every project, resulting in a classic design that blends traditional and modern components. Originally built in the 16th century on Saxon foundations, this country home was renovated while preserving the rustic grandeur its first farmer owners had imbued in the structure.
02. Retrouvius’ renovation of a Dartmoor house
The Retrouvius design firm uses carefully recycled materials for unique, modern purposes. Taking on a small number of projects each year, each is carefully suited to the client's changing needs as well as the requirements of the location, whether it be a modern penthouse, mediaeval priory, boat, or boutique. When they took over the refreshing of this Dartmoor home, they gave it an aesthetic completely different from other country homes. Instead of opting for the traditional, they went for a laid-back, rustic feel that embraces soft, natural textures and the organic feel of the hills surrounding the estate. The final effect is soft, muted, and earthy, in complete harmony with the powerful structure of the house.
03. Natasha James’ Yorkshire home
Natasha James is a textile designer who delved deep into her passion for textiles after moving to the North York Moors. She is passionate about exuberant colour combinations, patterns, and creating uplifting and welcoming spaces. Her Yorkshire home is the perfect result of all her creative vision, a deliciously layered space full of joy, pastels and play.
04. Caroline Riddell’s renovation of a Berkshire modern country style house
Caroline Riddell is an interior designer known for her warm, elegant but not too “precious” interiors (although we might disagree with that statement!). Her spaces always look styled, but never at the expense of the clients’ personality and homeliness. This 17th century rectory and barn is an exquisite example of Caroline’s style, which feels organically developed yet perfectly balanced.
05. Marion Lichtig’s renovation of a Cornish house
An accomplished interior designer with over thirty years of experience, Marion Lichtig creates spaces that feel effortless. Her style is classical yet understated, balancing between traditional and contemporary elements. In this Cornish holiday home, the clients initially wanted a completely modern home. Once that was turned down by local authorities, Marion was brought in to create soft interiors that highlighted the structure of the home and the immense amount of light coming in. The interiors now feel balanced and airy, with comfort at their centre.
How to achieve the modern country aesthetic with luxury suppliers
01. Infuse modernity with ABI Interiors' range
02. Choose Ark One Wood for classic timber beauty
03. Add quality details with Dowsing and Reynolds
04. Incorporate Empty State's lighting for contrast
The modern country house is all about balance, so if you feel that your space is too overcharged with classical elements, Empty State's lighting will equalise the space.
05. Create a cool modern house with LEDS C4
06. Sprinkle glamour with Northern Lights
Studio Duggan, Holland Park project
07. Paint with emotion with YesColours
08. Create a cosy ambiance with Tim Page Carpets
No country modern house is complete without soft furnishings. Tim Page Carpets is your best bet.
How can I incorporate modern design elements into a traditional British country home or cottage?
To infuse modern design into a British country home or cottage, consider clean-lined furniture, contemporary lighting fixtures, and a neutral color palette with pops of bold colours.
Are there any specific architectural styles that are commonly seen in British modern country style homes and cottages?
British country homes often showcase traditional architectural styles like Tudor, Georgian, and Victorian. Thatched roofs add charm to many British cottages, while large gardens or landscapes surround them. Stone or brick exteriors are also common features.