New England Style

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The New England style was born in the early days of what would become the United States, when British emigrants colonized the rocky shores of the West Coast of USA, including Massachusetts, Maine and Conneticut. Building what they knew, traditional English half-timbered cottages which were then adapted to better withstand the harsh New England winters, the interior design style that developed was also heavily influenced by the local coastal, rural and mountain regions. Many of us draw inspiration from this style of interior decoration as it exudes such a bright, airy and casually elegant feel which makes it easy to switch off and relax in such charming surroundings.

New England Style Design & Decoration

Here is our list of top seven elements that define this simple style so that you may successfully recreate it within your own home, should you so wish:

1) Clean Lines: also a popular design feature of our time and consistent with the American settlers’ limited economic resources. This led to them keeping their homes small and free from superfluous décor. The New England design style isn’t fussy but reflects a warm easy-living lifestyle. Natural woods such as pine or mahogany are used with wide-planks being the most historically accurate. Matching hardwood floors run throughout the entire house except the kitchen, which is usually laid with natural stone tiles.

2) Use of whites: One of the most important design elements specific to New England styled homes is the trim colour. In line with the simple, clean look, woodwork, including interior doors, cabinets, and mantels is often painted a traditional white or sometimes cream, with most rooms being finished with white crown molding. This white finishing lightens the rooms and draws attention to the hardwood flooring which is the other main feature within this style, already mentioned. The more colourful colours used in the other furnishings and soft furnishings are accentuated by the clean white backdrop of the walls. If you have opted for white or cream walls to give the impression of space and cleanliness, consider contrasting it with your soft-furnishings, eg a yarn-dyed duvet cover such as blue and white striped bedding or grey and white striped bed linen, would certainly create the New England bedroom feel you require.

3) Use of natural hues and tones in the colour palette: Heavily influenced by the magnificent beauty of the outlying coastal, rural and mountain regions, these softer colours, which often reflect the colourful seaside, include ocean blues, sand beiges, sunset reds and cranberry-bog red. These colours are used within the our New England bedding range, as seen above, such as the Conneticut red and cream striped duvet cover set or the Maine grey and white stiped duvet cover set. Blue tones are most prevalent with bold blues such as navy contrasting with white for a look that's classic and crisp. Think of that nautical yachtsman style of decoration with which we are all familiar.

4) Practical Puritan pride coupled with an ethos of Puritan thrift: the style may not always be up to the minute trend-wise, but all the elements are of high quality and will last the course. This carefulness with resources and conservatism led to the New England design style incorporating a classic mix of old and “new”. Simple painted wooden furniture sits side-by-side with elegant antiques for a kind of old-money look. Distressed finishes, such as well-worn edges and cooking stains give New England furniture that timeless "country or beach cottage" appeal. We see this nostalgic charm in the use Vintage style bed linen, beautifully crafted bedspreads or knitted throws and cushions.

5) Symmetry: is most important, with furniture and ornaments being balanced to create a harmonious feeling in rooms.

6) Natural beauty: in the use of natural stones, such as slate and granite for stone fireplaces, worktops, cobblestone walkways and foundations. Relaxed and very naturally styled flower arrangements, made from fresh local flowers and branches are an attractive detail throughout the home. Fabrics and textiles also carry on the floral theme and are used in nature prints as well as furnishing fabrics. The natural coastal theme returns with the use of natural seashells, used to adorn everything from small boxes and containers to mirror frames and the like. Seashells are also a common motif in wood carvings and as patterns woven into fabrics.

7) Completing the look with accessories: New Englanders are collectors and those accessories that they have collected mirror the close proximity to the sea and their simple past. Nautical elements, such as ship's wheels, lighthouses, sea glass and fishing nets are often used. Flowers are a common accessory, both fresh flower arrangements and preserved sprigs of dried flowers. Baskets and shelves full of books and odds and ends. In tune with the relaxed homely feel, you will find New England styled homes full of family photos, old children’s books and the general the miscellanea of living.