The best interior designers and decorators in Britain

Of all the decorating trends that have been in vogue over the last 50 years – be it Scandi, Minimalism or Industrial – none has been as powerful or as enduring as that of the English Country House.

When choosing a designer, create a shortlist and have initial meetings. ‘When a project takes two or three years, the chemistry has to be right,’ says Henriette von Stockhausen of VSP Interiors. If they are engaged early in the planning process, an experienced interior designer can help to improve the flow of the layout, introduce inspiring ideas and contribute to a successful outcome.

There’s no industry standard for charging: fees vary from a percentage cost of supplying goods and furnishings; a fixed sum for the project; a fee for the design work, plus a handling charge for purchasing; an hourly rate; or a combination of the above.

‘It’s important to have good communication between designer and client from the start. A clear brief should be agreed up front and then a detailed proposal with costs should follow, so that all parties are clear on how and when the project will be achieved and what it will cost,’ advises Gilly Craft, the president of the British Institute of Interior Design (



Expert at ultra-grand country-house style, Alidad (known only by his first name professionally) has recently completed projects for private clients in London, Paris and Lisbon.

020–7384 0121;


Chester Jones

Former managing director of Colefax & Fowler Chester Jones set up his firm in 1990. Today, the practice is run by his sons Toby and Ben and is known for elegant interiors, sympathetic to a building’s architectural his-

tory, plus the extensive use of art.

020–7498 2717;


Colin Orchard

Former Colefax & Fowler designer Colin Orchard trained under the firm’s decorating doyenne Imogen Taylor. Today, Mr Orchard is particularly well known for classic country-house style, with projects including Ballyfin, the Regency mansion in Ireland, and grand homes in America and the UK.

020–7351 5501;


Douglas Mackie

After studying architecture at Cambridge, Douglas Mackie discovered a passion for interior design when working in New York. Celebrated for classic-meets-contemporary interiors, he’s also expert at integrating art and antiques into his projects.

020–7487 3295;

Edward Bulmer

A champion of natural paints, architectural historian and interior designer Edward Bulmer uses his wide experience and colour expertise to create sensitively restored period houses, which are comfortable for modern life. His recent and current projects include White’s club, Goodwood, Pitshill, Chevening and Dorfold Hall.

01544 388535;

The Drawing Room of Pitshill House, the work of Edward Bulmer. (Paul Highnam/Country Life)

Guy Goodfellow

Another Colefax & Fowler alumnus, Guy Goodfellow is a master of classic country-house style to which he lends an individual twist. He has his own large fabric and wallpaper offering, Guy Goodfellow Collection.

020–7349 0728;

Henrietta Spencer-Churchill

Known for splendid, classic style, Henrietta Spencer-Churchill runs her interior-design firm, Woodstock Designs, close to her ances-

tral home at Blenheim Palace. She’s a prolific author and international lecturer, and counts restoration work at Blenheim among her current portfolio of projects.

01993 811887;

Hugh Leslie

Modernist influences combined with striking colour and pattern sing out in Hugh Leslie’s designs. Another expert who started his career at Colefax & Fowler, he now offers

a full interior-architecture and design service teamed with a flexible approach.

020–7584 7185;

Jane Churchill Interiors

Formal, elegant (yet comfortable) interiors are the hallmarks of a Jane Churchill design. A well-known name in the business since she set up her firm in 1975, Mrs Churchill is the founder of Jane Churchill fabrics, now owned by the Colefax Group, and launched her JC Home collection of bedlinen in 2018.

020–7730 8564;

Janine Stone & Co

Unusually, this firm will manage a project from acquiring a site and obtaining planning permission all the way through complete architecture, build and interior-design services to the final cushion. It specialises in striking, classically inspired interiors with luxurious materials and a modern twist.

020–7349 8888;

An entrance hall by Janine Stone

An entrance hall by Janine Stone

Joanna Wood

Her recent designs include the American Ambassador’s London residence, Winfield House, and the restoration of the Master’s Lodge at Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge. The designer’s empire also includes a charming home-accessories shop (recently moved to a new home on Elizabeth Street in Belgravia), plus Lawson Wood bespoke upholstery, Phillips & Wood lighting and Lewis & Wood fabrics and wallpapers.

020–7730 0693;

John Evans Interior Architecture + Design

Led by John Evans, who has more than 35 years of experience in creating classic-contemporary interiors with a strong architectural style, this firm has offices in London and Birmingham and a diverse portfolio from new-build country homes to ski chalets and private swimming pools.

0121–233 9041;

Katharine Pooley

Fast becoming a global brand, Katharine Pooley’s firm has luxury interiors boutiques in London and Doha, as well as operating full interior-architecture, design and home-dressing services here as well as across the Middle East.

020–7584 3223;


The recent acquisition of architectural interiors company Keech Green has strengthened the Linley design offering. Graham Green and Michael Keech both worked at Ralph Lauren before establishing their firm in 2002, known for its curated ‘modern-deco’ and timeless style. Current Linley projects include the interior of Ravenswick Hall, the first major new-build country house in Yorkshire for 200 years.

020–7730 7300;

Lucy Elworthy

A former decoration editor of House & Garden, Lucy Elworthy has a style that’s particularly sympathetic to period country houses. She mixes contemporary and antique pieces and has an imaginative eye for fabrics and texture.

07957 693246;

Max Rollitt

Antique dealer-turned-interior designer Max Rollitt uses his exceptional knowledge to transform the interiors of period houses. He has an inspiring shop in a converted barn near Winchester in Hampshire selling antiques, plus a growing range of his own bespoke furniture designs.

01962 791124;

A Max Rollitt living room. Pic: Tom Mannion

Melissa Wyndham

Continuing the spirit of the late, legendary interior designer Melissa Wyndham are Vanessa Macdonald and Honor Hebblethwaite. They bring a fresh eye and refined touch to classic rural and urban interiors.

020–7352 2874;

McWhirter Morris

Antique dealer and English furniture specialist James McWhirter and former Colefax & Fowler designer Sarah Morris joined forces in 2005 to set up their Chelsea-based practice. Traditional, timeless and tasteful are the by-words here.

020–7349 2575;

Mlinaric, Henry and Zervudachi

The legendary decorator David Mlinaric set up his firm in 1964, and, today, the practice is run by directors Tino Zervudachi, Hugh Henry, Jason Roberts and Laurence Mac-adam, with offices in London, Paris and New York. They create sophisticated, elegant and comfortable designs for city and country properties. Current projects include a palace in New Delhi, a classical villa in Athens and a chalet in Gstaad.

020–7730 9072;

Nina Campbell

The queen of British interior design, Nina Campbell counts Annabel’s private members’ club (in its first incarnation) as one of her very earliest commissions. She has a constantly evolving style and a growing clientele in the USA, plus successful collections of fabric, wallpaper and furniture and two London shops.

020–7225 1011;

Penny Morrison

Known for comfortable English style and

seemingly effortless, successful combin-ations of colour and pattern, Penny Morrison’s interiors are timeless, relaxed and inviting. She also offers a tempting collection of hand-printed textiles, as well as cushions, rugs and lamps.

020–7384 2975;

Interior designer Penny Morrison’s home on the Welsh borders. The breakfast room is painted in a pale blue that is comlemented by Penny’s ‘Gobi’ fabric. ©Simon Brown/Country Life

Pippa Paton

Pippa Paton is admired for adding contemporary creature comforts to period houses, many of which are in the Cotswolds. She is the author of Twenty First Century Cotswolds (2017) and has a second book in the pipeline.

01865 595470;

Rita Konig

She may be the daughter of Nina Campbell, but Rita Konig has her own take on English style. Known for chic yet relaxed interiors with a dose of transatlantic sophistication, she has recently completed the design of a bou-

tique hotel in West Hollywood, Hotel 850 Bis.

020–3735 7280;

Robert Kime

Antique dealer-turned-interior designer Robert Kime shuns fashion to create timeless interiors in which antiques and textiles lend a distinctive mood. His clients include The Prince of Wales, the Duke of Beaufort and Duran Duran’s John Taylor.

020–7831 6066;

Salvesen Graham

The Wandsworth-based design duo Nicole Salvesen and Mary Graham are known for classic interiors with a twist. Their portfolio of projects is wide, from family homes to ski chalets to private member’s clubs.

020–7967 7777;

Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler

Founded in the 1930s, this iconic company is said to be the longest-established interior-decorating firm in Britain. Its move from Brook Street to the Pimlico Road in 2017 has attacted a new audience and, today, its strength is the breadth of talent and expertise offered by its designers Wendy Nicholls, Emma Burns, Philip Hooper, Roger Jones, Nicola Crawley, Janie Money, Daniel Slowik and Lucy Hammond Giles.

020–7493 2231;

Sybil Colefax and John Fowler

A Sybil Colefax and John Fowler room

Sims Hilditch

Emma Sims-Hilditch specialises in dragging houses into the 21st century with her fresh take on English country style. She’s particularly strong on creating comfortable and elegant spaces that work well for family life – from pool houses to utility rooms – and is recognised for bringing urban quality to the countryside.

01249 783087;

Susie Atkinson

Susie Atkinson cut her teeth on interiors for the Soho House group, before bringing her contemporary look and sense of understated luxury to residential projects. Recently, she has completed rooms for Lime Wood and Beaverbrook House hotels and has also launched her own range of furniture.

020–7384 0700;


Clean, classic style for high-rolling clients

is the strength of this well-regarded firm. Headed by founder Philippa Thorp, the company offers full interior design, architecture and landscaping services, drawing on its impressive experience across residential, yacht, plane and chalet projects.

020–7235 7808;

Todhunter Earle Interiors

Emily Todhunter and Kate Earle are known for classic interiors with a contemporary edge. Currently working on the interiors for a roster of major new-build country houses with some of Britain’s leading architects, they have also reworked the layouts at Reddish House, owned by Cecil Beaton, and are renovating the Arts-and-Crafts gem Rodmarton Manor.

020–7349 9999;

Veere Grenney Associates

Known for his highly creative approach and the ability to combine contemporary pieces in historic settings, Veere Grenney conceives interiors with a discreetly luxurious feel. He has a fabric and wallpaper collection, which showcases his love of elegant pattern in subtle hues, and recently published a new book: A Point of View: On Decorating.

020–7351 7170;

Virginia Howard

Clients head to Virginia Howard for smartly tailored interiors with a traditional feel. She is at home with both town and country projects, including refurbishments of listed buildings.

020–7349 8180;

VSP Interiors

Dorset-based Henriette von Stockhausen is known for designing large family houses in a classic, colourfully eclectic style, and is a dab hand at balancing the restrictions of listed properties with the demands of modern life.

01305 265892;

Wilkinson Beven

Led by founders Richard Wilkinson and John Beven, this firm offers a full interior-architecture and design service from its offices in Birmingham and London. It is particularly strong on Alpine chalets and homes with luxury features, such as indoor pools and spas.

0121–622 7366;

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