Published on October 28, 2019

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French girls have captivated the imagination of American women for decades with their ability to speak a romance language eloquently, wolf down a wheel of cheese without a second thought, and effortlessly mix flea market finds with family heirlooms. But across the Strait of Dover in the United Kingdom, serious decorating savoir faire is brewing.

We’ve always admired the Brits for their edgy fashion sense and stylish royalty, but lately, their charming homes, filled with bold wallpaper, bright hues, and rattan everything, have us taking a second glance. Part of this English renaissance is led by homeware designer and creative consultant Matilda Goad, whose scalloped rattan lampshades have gained cult status among the British fashion crowd since she debuted them in 2017. 

With a knack for putting together whimsical country-meets-city interiors that lift the spirit, she’s just the person to teach us everything we need to know about iconic modern-day British style:

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Courtesy of Matilda Goad

On the one thing you’ll notice in every London home…

Color. I think generally the climate plays a big part in this, considering half our year has dramatically less light. In many homes here, the primary objective is to make them cozy and fill them with layers.

On thinking big in a tiny apartment…

I think lots of dinky items make a room look small. Go for the biggest piece it can hold. It will somehow feel far larger than it is. If you have low ceilings, avoid pendant lights and opt for flush mount ceiling lights or dot lamps around the room. I love to use wallpaper in smaller spaces, particularly with awkward jutting or sloping walls; I just used a clover print by Josef Frank in a tiny room and it completely transformed it.

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Courtesy of Matilda Goad
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Courtesy of Matilda Goad

On the balancing act…

For me, one-off vintage pieces not only look great but can be picked up for a lot less than new furniture. There’s something lovely (not to mention sustainable) about giving an old object new life! Creating juxtapositions is key—for example, an antique sideboard with a modern artwork hung above it. It’s all about creating balance.

On navigating the flea market…

Vintage and antiques shopping can be great fun, but it’s important not to get carried away. I am always very careful to consider a piece’s condition. If something can be restored, great, but I draw the line at marks on linen, damaged mirrors (new glass is never the same!), and obvious chips.

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Courtesy of Matilda Goad

On highlighting history…

It really upsets me to see old buildings fitted out from floor to ceiling with new fixtures that will inevitably be ripped out again in 10 years! I’ve chosen a very calming shade of pink to mimic plaster in my home, with a run of cupboards that almost blend into the wall and thick, striped, mustard-and-cream blinds. The building is old and I wanted to try to retain many of the original features, both from a financial standpoint and to maintain the property’s character.

Sure, the French have impeccable style, but British decor is where it’s at.

Discover more reasons we love European decor:
The Brits Have a Shelf Just for Cheese in Their Kitchens
The Small-Space Tip That Paris It Girl Sabina Socol Swears By
Luke Edward Hall’s New Collection Is Proof That British and Swedish Styles Mix Well

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