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“London is brimming with inspiration and variety—whether you’re inspired by its history, its royal parks, outstanding architecture or bustling arts and design scene,” says Louise Bradley, one of the UK’s leading interior designers for almost 30 years and founder of Louise Bradley Design Studio.
And who can argue with that, really? The British capital seamlessly blends traditional architecture with modern design in a sophisticated way.
“What inspires me the most about London is its diversity and timelessness—it’s a city with a well-established reputation and personality, woven from a multitude of individual threads,” she adds.
Bradley often brings this unique London mix of classic and contemporary elements into her work—whether it’s preserving one-of-a-kind architectural elements or incorporating innovative decor objects from London’s up-and-coming creatives.
Of course, it’s easier said than done. Since London is such a popular destination, it’s easy to fall into the clichés (red telephone booths, anyone?). So how do you avoid that and still end up with a design that is unmistakably London?
“I would suggest carefully layering your design and taking inspiration from the less obvious elements associated with London,” Louise suggests. “You might be inspired by the beauty of Regent’s Park and the surrounding townhouses, which can in turn influence the neutral, earthy color palette you choose for your interiors, together with adding or preserving architectural detailing which is more classic.
It can be small elements that make up the starting point of your design, from which you expand, according to your taste and lifestyle.”
The good news is that the city is full of distinct design elements so finding the right ones for your home and style, shouldn’t be an issue—from the pastel-hued Victorian townhouses of Notting Hill and the grand classic homes of Belgravia’s Eaton Square to the posh new developments of Chelsea.
“I would always recommend a mixture of classic and contemporary elements, brought together to create a timeless interior,” says Bradley. “Invest in beautifully crafted pieces and focus on long-lasting materials that age uniquely over time. When it comes to decor, creating the perfect London look is seamlessly combining elegance with an edge. I'd recommend shopping for contemporary art and unusual pieces from the wonderful artisans we have both in London and throughout the UK.”
Start off by creating a mood board that will help you visualize what the space will look and feel like. Choose your textiles, finishes, and furniture pieces.
“I would advise against designing each room separately, as the interiors won’t be cohesive, and you will lose a sense of harmony within the house or apartment,” Bradley suggests.
“Everyone has their own taste in color preferences; however I always like to keep a color palette muted, selecting classic shades, and layering them with beautiful textures and elegant silhouettes, adding pops of color throughout the space with the final layer of beautiful artwork and objets d’art,” she says.
Here we rounded up some of the most stylish furniture and decor picks that will help bring that unique London vibe into your home.
The Eleanor Rigby Leather Company Zayden Chesterfield Leather Sofa
It really doesn’t get more British or classic than a Chesterfield sofa. This one is upholstered in Italian leather in a gorgeous chestnut hue.
To buy: $7,599, neimanmarcus.com
Tom Dixon Etch Pendant
Add a modern vibe to your kitchen with these striking geometric pendants by British designer Tom Dixon. They are available in four different finishes.
To buy: $575, dwr.com
Restoration Hardware Gerard Leather Club Chair
Create a relaxing sitting area in your library or office with a couple of these Art Deco-inspired club chairs by Restoration Hardware. They are crafted from luxury leather and sport rounded lines and hand-hammered details.
To buy: $2,195, restorationhardware.com
Restoration Hardware Cayden Console Table
This rustic 19th-century inspired console table is perfect for a hallway or your living room. Crafted from solid oak with metal hardware and corner brackets, it oozes traditional charm but could be styled with contemporary piece of décor, too.
To buy: from $2,475, restorationhardware.com
Matthew Hilton Profile Chair
British designer Matthew Hilton takes inspiration from classic furniture design but updates it with a modern aesthetic in mind.
The profile chair is functional with its ergonomic design but it’s also incredibly cool and modern looking.
To buy: $595, dwr.com
Matthew Hilton Cross Extension Table
Hilton’s Dulwich extension table has such a clean and timeless silhouette. It sports rounded corners and legs that draw away from the table’s edges to allow for more legroom. The top expands with two more leaves and can accommodate up to ten people.
To buy: $2,696, dwr.com
Louise Bradley Lisbon High Lacquer Side Table
Sophisticated and full of character, this side table could be the perfect spot for a lamp or a vase.
To buy: $3,067, louisebradley.co.uk
Paul Cooklin Edition 5/10- Bicycle, Greenwich, London
London is a creative hub for up-and-coming artists so adding a few bold works of art by local artists is such a cool way to bring the city’s vibe to your home and support local talent.
To buy: $1,480, saatchiart.com
Royal Albert Old Country Roses 20-Piece Set
This beautiful 20-piece set will transport you straight to the British capital when it’s time for afternoon tea. It’s crafted from fine bone china and features a classic rose pattern reminiscent of traditional English gardens.
To buy: $311, harrods.com
Soho Home Lund Rug
This Persian-inspired wool rug will elevate any space. You can place it in your bedroom or living room for a touch of classic elegance.
To buy: from $5,969, sohohome.com
Matthew Williamson Luxury Scented Candle
Let British fashion-designer-turned-interior-decorator extraordinaire Matthew Williamson bring the aroma of traditional English gardens into your home. This fruit and floral based candle has notes of roses and bergamot and comes in a stunning ceramic vessel that we’d repurpose as a vase later on.
To buy: $172, amara.com