British Colonial Style

British Colonial style is relaxed, genteel and travelled. It pairs dark-stained rattan, timber and bamboo furniture with pure white linens and an abundance of indoor greenery to cool and refresh the space.

At its height from the 16th to 18th centuries, the British Empire was 100 times the size of Great Britain itself, stretching from Africa to India to the Caribbean, known as the "age of discovery". It was during this time that British Colonial style emerged, combining refined British interiors with exotic pieces and natural materials from African, India, Asia and the Caribbean.

The travel-influenced interiors include leather trunks, dark stained teak, mahogany or bamboo chairs, campaign chests and collapsible writing desks & trunks. Accents of vibrant tropical, botanical, animal and floral prints in the soft furnishings, artwork and panoramic wallpapers create a fresh and stylish look.

For a step-by-step guide to creating the British Colonial look explore our guide below and shop the style online.


  • Colour Palette; Neutral and Light shades of White are characteristic - making it cooling in warm climates. Dark coloured timbers, cane, mahogany & rattan provided contrast, while greens and blues are reflected in the soft furnishings, hand-blocked prints and artwork. 
  • Architectural features; Backdrop of white wash walls accented shutters, rattan screens and ceiling fans. 
  • Flooring; Timber floorboards with Persian, Turkish, animal hide, natural sisal or seagrass rugs. 
  • Lighting; Pendant lights of brass & glass and Bamboo, rattan and shell pendant lighting covers. 
  • Window treatments; Painted or natural timber shutters, rattan and bamboo blinds and sheer curtains. 
  • Furniture; Dark stained teak, mahogany or bamboo chairs, folding directors chairs, campaign furniture and chests, collapsible writing desks & trunks, four poster beds or cane bedheads. 
  • Fabric; Natural and white linens and cottons, soft furnishings in botanical, floral, stripes and animal prints. Leather seating and locally handcrafted textiles made into cushions & throws.
  • Art; Framed botanical prints, oil still-life, photography, maps, panoramic wallpapers, hand-woven and natural artworks of mounted baskets and shell art.
  • Decorative; Natural and travel collected elements, old leather books, magnifying glasses, trophies, coral, shells and botanical-framed specimens. 
  • Plants; Palms, tropical plants, figs and bunches of natural leaves.


With our collection of songs to audibly accompany the British Colonial Style.


There are so many ways to re-purpose your furniture and decor & update your existing look with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®

See how customers are transforming their Furniture, Interiors and Decor to create a British Colonial Style Look with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®.

Want to learn more? Stay up-to-date with our Chalk Painting Classes.



Ralph Lauren Home is an international leader in the design of premium lifestyle products including homewares, apparel, accessories and more.

Ralph Lauren's Jamaican Plantation Home showcases British Colonial Interiors, exotic decor and a relaxed feel. Campaign chairs, banana leaf flooring and mahogany furniture reflect the Colonial style.

Instagram: @ralphlaurenhome

Photo Source: Architectural Digest



India Hicks is a British born Interior Designer and writer, whose Father David Hicks was also famed Interior decorator. 

India Hicks has written notable design books including ‘Island Life’, and her most recent; ‘Island Style', which are an ode to Colonial and Bahamas Style Interiors. 

Photo© India Hicks



Bunny Williams is an interior designer, garden expert and author, whose book "A House by the Sea"showcases her Caribbean Retreat, including photographs and writings. 

The Book explores the villa's Colonial inspired decor, including the architectural features and the surrounding gardens. 

Photo © Bunny Williams



Expand your Style Personality with Complementary Styles adjacent to British Colonial.