The Ultimate Guide to Colonial Interior Design Styles

Discover all of the tips you need to design your home with this guide on colonial interior design styles

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Colonial interior design styles are timeless designs that have evolved over the years. They also had various influences and adaptations. No matter if, you’re drawn to the traditional British Colonial style or the Modern New Colonial design, something is always charming and elegant about these interior design styles.

In this guide, we will discuss both styles in detail, highlighting their key characteristics, color palettes, architectural features, furniture choices, materials, and much more!

1- What is the British Colonial Style

The British Colonial interior design style peaked from the 16th to 18th centuries during the British Empire. Inspired by the exploration and trade routes of the time, British Colonial interiors combine refined British aesthetics while being influenced by Africa, India, Asia, and the Caribbean.

British Colonial style is a relaxed and classy way of decorating a house as It uses dark-colored rattan, timber, and bamboo furniture along with white linens. It also uses lots of indoor plants to make the space feel cool and fresh.

2- Characteristics of British Colonial Style

Colonial Interior Design Styles
  • Color Palette: British Colonial interiors have a palette that is dominated by light neutrals and shades of white, creating this cooling effect in warm climates. On the other hand, dark-stained timbers, rattan, and bamboo provide contrast, reflected in soft furnishings and artwork.
  • Architectural Features: What makes British Colonial homes special are high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, marble pillars, and arches framing generous porches. Chalky white-washed walls are paired with dark timber paneling, and ceiling fans that are made from rattan or timber that helps with the airflow.
  • Furniture Choices: British Colonial furniture features dark-stained teak, mahogany, or bamboo chairs and tables. The defining features of this style are Four-poster beds, canopy beds, leather trunks, bar carts, and campaign furniture. Lightweight and portable furniture is always suitable for easy movement between rooms and alfresco areas.
  • Texture & Materials: Layering different textures is important to the British Colonial style. For example, Dark timber floorboards are paired with Turkish or Persian rugs, animal hides, or natural fiber rugs. Soft furnishings like vibrant tropical, animal, or floral prints, are complemented by billowing white pieces of cotton and muslin.
  • Artwork & Decorative Accessories: Artwork choices may include framed botanical, floral, and animal prints, vintage maps, and panoramic appealing wallpapers. Handwoven and natural artworks like wall-mounted baskets and shell art usually give a sense of appealing peak adventure. Decorative items such as leather books, ceramic jars, glass votives, and botanical accessories add character and often tell a story.
  • Plants: No British Colonial interior is complete without tropical plants, palm leaves, and natural leaves, that add this missing refreshing touch to dining tables, sideboards, and consoles.

3- What is the New Colonial Style

New Colonial interior design is a modern twist on traditional American Colonial-inspired style, dating back to the late 18th century. This modern understanding of the Colonial style maintains the classic architectural elements while incorporating present-day touches for a refreshed look.

4- Characteristics of the New Colonial Style

Colonial Interior Design Styles
  • Color Palette: New Colonial interiors have a warm, earthy tone alongside charming colors like blue and green. Rather than implementing bright accents, this style tends to lean towards wood themes and ultra-fine contrasts in patterns and textures.
  • Earthy Tones & Materials: Earthy tones dominate the New Colonial style, with dark shades similar to earth tones creating a warm and pleasant atmosphere. Natural earthy materials such as wood, wicker, stone, brick, clay, wrought iron, and copper are integral to completing this design.
  • Hardwood Floors: Hardwood floors are a must in New Colonial style, giving a timeless and elegant look. Some of the popular wood options include oak, maple, walnut, and cherry, with wider planks preferred for a more modern look. Herringbone, parquet, or chevron designs add more beauty to the floors.
  • Lighting: Lighting plays a crucial role in the New Colonial style, with a focus on updating traditional components with present-day components. Modern pendant lamps, wall sconces, and chandeliers in brass, glass, bamboo, rattan, or shell add a special charm to the space.
  • Paneling, Moulding, & Columns: Classic features such as paneling, moulding, and columns are integral to the New Colonial style. Updating traditional components with modern materials like wrought iron adds a cool twist while paying recognition to classic Colonial architecture.
  • Wallpaper & Decor: Complex patterns like stripes, herringbone, toile, gingham, damask, and chintz add visual appeal to the New Colonial style. Wallpapers featuring murals or landscapes enhance the decorative element of the home, reducing clutter and showcasing the architectural features.

5- Colonial Style decoration tips

Whether you prefer the elegance of the British Colonial style or the modern twist of the New Colonial style, decorating a Colonial-style home involves careful consideration of colors, materials, furniture, and decorative accessories. Here are some tips for decorating a Colonial-style home:

  • Color Palette: Choose soft and muted neutral tones for a classic Colonial look, and incorporate warm, earthy tones alongside charming colors like blue and green in New Colonial interior design styles.
  • Materials: Embrace some of the natural materials such as wood, wicker, stone, brick, clay, wrought iron, copper, and leather for an authentic Colonial feel.
  • Furniture: Opt-in for dark-stained teak, mahogany, or bamboo furniture with simple yet elegant designs. Make sure to look for four-poster canopy beds, leather trunks, bar carts, and campaign furniture to capture the true essence of Colonial style.

Colonial-style Room Ideas

Colonial-style living room
Colonial-style living room
colonial style canopy bed
Colonial-style canopy bed
colonial dining room
Colonial-style dining room
colonial-style kitchen idea
Colonial-style kitchen idea
Colonial-style hallway
Colonial-style hallway
  • Decorative Accessories: You can personalize your space with decorative accessories that tell stories. Display framed botanical prints, vintage maps, panoramic wallpapers, and handwoven artworks alongside collected elements like leather books, ceramic jars, glass votives, and botanical specimens.
  • Plants: Bring the outdoors in with tropical plants, palm leaves, and natural leaves to add a refreshing touch to your Colonial-style home.
In a nutshell

By adding your personal touch and following these tips, you can create a beautiful and inviting Colonial-style home design that not only reflects your unique style but also your personality. Whether you prefer the timeless elegance of British Colonial interiors or the modern twist of New Colonial style, there’s a Colonial style to suit every taste and preference.

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