There’s something about British style that has captivated the world for decades. It’s placed on a pedestal for being distinctive, effortless and influential because whether it’s in fashion, music or interior design, attempts to emulate British style are constant.
A ‘Made in Britain’ stamp signifies quality and timelessness, and all the projects in our Brit list are marked with these British attributes. From Nicky Haslam’s decorative masterpieces to Laura Hammett’s perfect fusion of classic and contemporary, marvel at the work of these inspiring British-based interior designers.
Image Credit: Oliver Burns
1. Oliver Burns
Oliver Burns, the UK interior design house founded by Joe Burns and his wife Sharon Lilywhite over 13 years ago, takes a deserving slot in our shortlist. Its projects are quintessentially British and home to the finest finishes and classic furniture pieces. ‘Thoughtful Luxury’ is the philosophy the firm lives by and uses to influence every project it undertakes. The husband and wife duo strive and succeed to balance aesthetics and functionality, attentively considering every last detail to produce spaces that are perfect for modern living. And while modernity is close to the firm’s heart so too is the past and, in true British style, Oliver Burns is dedicated to preserving and restoring Britain’s incredible historical architecture. Its very first project returned a ramshackle Grade II listed mansion to life but its most notable restoration has to be the renovation of Walpole Mayfair, which saw the team sensitively restore the home of Britain’s first prime minister.
Image Credit: Helen Green Design
2. Helen Green Design
Helen Green Design is another unmissable force in the British interior design field. The design house, founded by the late Helen Green in 2002 and now headed by Design Director Natalia Miyar, boasts unrivalled skills in achieving effortless elegance. Its projects include onshore and offshore feats, having transformed private yachts as well as homes in luxurious locations such as Belgravia, Barbados and Val d’Isère. The combination of modern and traditional elements in addition to understated colour palettes flattered with exquisite upholstery and rich woods are invariables in the firm’s interior endeavorers. Much of Miyar’s work carries a cosmopolitan air as she draws inspiration from her global travels but this image taken from a Knightsbridge apartment – complete with a button-tufted leather stool and bookcases filled with charismatic old tomes – is thoroughly characterised by British charm. Discover the studio’s beautiful product range here.
Image Credit: René Dekker
3. René Dekker
With experience that spans 25 years, London-based interior designer René Dekker knows all the tricks of the trade. The designer has been awarded a string of deserved accolades for his spaces which always embody a luxurious and opulent sensibility. Most often than not, Dekker starts with a neutral canvas, painting walls in subtle shades of taupe and mushroom, and lets the details do the talking. Parquet flooring, animal skin rugs and antique fire surrounds are just a few of these sublime details. Not forgetting to mention the restored wall mouldings, coloured upholstery and bespoke furniture. Where does Dekker spread his interior design magic? At the most discerning addresses across the globe from Moscow and Europe to China and the USA. And like so many of the best designers out there, he’s also been hired to revamp private yachts, luxury restaurants and boutique hotels.
Image Credit: Laura Hammett
4. Laura Hammett
The British-born designer set up her eponymous firm with Aaron Hammett in 2008, specialising in luxury residential projects across the world but particularly in Britain’s most coveted hotspots, including Kensington, Knightsbridge and Henley-on-Thames. Every project by the design super-couple is directed with the pursuit of classic contemporary excellence in mind. Their combined 25 years experience enables the pair to create elegant colour schemes with their eyes closed and you know any space they touch is going to be occupied by the most beautiful home accessories. As well as working on contemporary homes, the firm has also transformed several listed buildings with the utmost care and precision, bringing them into a modern-day focus whilst maintaining their original characteristics. And for the shopaholics out there, Laura Hammett’s stylish storage solutions are the stuff fashionistas’ dreams are made of.
Image Credit: Kelly Hoppen
5. Kelly Hoppen
Kelly Hoppen has firmly established herself as the head of one of the most famous British interior design houses. The designer has well and truly perfected the art of interior design with her signature look which is all about neutral tones and lots of them – whites, greys, beiges and, her all-time favourite, taupe. These calm colour palettes and her integration of eastern and western influences result in balanced interiors. Beautiful textures are also important to the designer and are a mainstay in her interior projects to bring a feeling warmth and comfort. Carefully contemplated lighting and luxurious but low-key accessories are why the design guru counts a host of high-profile commercial collaborators and A-list celebrities as clients, including Victoria and David Beckham, Madonna and Elton John.
Image Credit: Veere Grenney
6. Veere Grenney Associates
Powerful juxtapositions are Veere Grenney’s speciality – coupling the old and the new with restraint and grandeur. With over 30 years experience, the man who trained under reputable interior designer Mary Fox Linton started his company back in 1996 and has been called to both sides of the Atlantic for his sought-after style. If you’re the owner of an ample art collection, Grenney knows how to flaunt canvasses like no other (wall art is intrinsic to the majority of his projects.) Wood flooring, interesting furniture silhouettes and patterned wallpaper bring further character to his designs. This kitchen-cum-living-space shot taken from a country house project in the Hamptons displays his penchant for subtle colours and Mid-century furniture. The exposed ceiling beams and wonderful use of natural light show off the designer’s skills at enhancing a room’s characteristics.
Image Credit: Nicky Haslam
7. Nicky Haslam
There’s a reason Nicky Haslam has been commissioned to design the homes of rock and roll royalty, such as Mick Jagger, Ringo Starr and Bryan Ferry, and that’s because his decorative projects have a distinctly glamorous attitude. The designer started practicing his craft as an interior designer in 1972, founding his firm NH Design in the late 1980s, and has since developed a world-renowned reputation for his extraordinary creative vision. His portfolio includes private residences, restaurants and offices that span from the English countryside to New Orleans. Awash with ornate wall mouldings, plush upholstery and period artefacts, Haslam’s projects make historical characteristics shine in a 21st century light. Bold floral prints, grandiose chandeliers and striking works of art are staples in his remarkable designs.
Image Credit: Katharine Pooley
8. Katharine Pooley
Possessing a talent for creating quality at-home beauty, Katharine Pooley is regularly commissioned to work on properties in the most prestigious postcodes. Highly inspired by her extensive travels, no two of the London-based designer’s projects are the same but a running thread of timeless elegance is sewn throughout her work. Her go-to colour palettes include grey, cream and taupe, often offset with dark upholstery and wood. Truly desirable lighting features and plush fabrics reside in Pooley’s living spaces; traditional cabinetry takes over kitchens; and white marble gives bathrooms a luxury factor that doesn’t age. Thanks to her eye for quality craftsmanship, Pooley has also expanded into curating a personal homeware range, filled with thoughtfully created products that often pay tribute to mother nature’s beautiful creatures and foliage.
Image Credit: David Collins
9. David Collins Studio
For a masterclass in British interior design, study the work of the late David Collins. His London-based design house has undertaken a diverse range of residential and commercial projects, which include Alexander McQueen and Jimmy Choo stores as well as the homes of celebrities including Madonna, no less. The Dublin-born designer established his consultancy in 1985 and the design DNA he built into his firm still lives on after his passing thanks to his loyal team. The tasteful interior designs feature stunning elements, from hand-embroidered walls and eclectic antiques to velvet upholstery. With even a quick glance of this project, it’s clear that any room by David Collins Studio is filled with only the finest pieces, arranged in the finest manner.
Image Credit: Louise Bradley
10. Louise Bradley
Whether it’s a Switzerland chalet, a country cottage or villa in Kuwait, Louise Bradley can do justice to any space with her impeccable taste and enviable artistic insight. The creative confirmed her name in the industry’s master list when she started her business in 1991 and has since earned herself an esteemed reputation. Proportion is a factor that takes precedence when approaching her projects and Bradley values the tiny features in a room with the same consideration she gives to large furniture pieces. Muted room schemes, out-of this-world fabrics and metallic finishes make up some of endless exquisite components in Bradley’s work. As expected, the designer’s very own range of furniture, accessories and fabrics is just as elegant as her interior design ventures.