How to Create Romantic Style at Home by Katherine Sorrell

Who wouldn’t fall in love with romantic style? Feminine, delicate and oh-so pretty, this is a timeless look that will work in all styles of home, from a bijoux city apartment to a grand country pile, says Katherine Sorrell.

Make your home a haven from everyday worries with a romantic decorating style that takes you worlds away from the busy bustle of modern life. It’s a look that is eternally charming and appealing, pretty as a picture, soft and dreamy and completely irresistible.

The first ingredient? Sumptuous fabrics, of course. Think lacey trims around the edges of pillowcases, napkins or cushions, or even entire panels (especially vintage or antique) hung across a window or thrown over a bed. Sheers are also perfect for this look. Employ organza, chiffon, tulle, georgette and voile in opulent swathes and gathers, and layer them with crisp cottons and linens for interest and appeal. Since how things feel is just as important as how they look, add some deliciously soft and tactile fabrics such as angora, mohair or cashmere, or perhaps warm and snuggly wool or felt. Choose floral patterns that look as if they’re worn or faded (definitely not digitally printed or modern in style) – you just can’t beat classics such as roses, hydrangeas, peonies and the like, especially when they’re hand-drawn or block-printed. Decorative details are important, too: embroidery, borders, ruffles and scalloped edgings will enhance even the plainest of fabrics, and since a little goes a long way there is no need to break the bank to achieve the desired effect.

As for furniture, opt for simple, country-style or shabby chic furnishings in natural pine or else painted in pale and pretty colours. You may wish to go to town in the bedroom with a canopied or half-tester bed (if you’re on a budget, simply hang generous amounts of hemmed, sheer fabric from a hoop above the bed for a similar effect), combined with blissfully beautiful bed linen: perhaps crisp white cotton edged with drawn threadwork and topped with a vintage chintzy eiderdown or satin quilt. In the living room, opt for a plump and (of course) comfortable sofa, chaise longue or armchair in a traditional style, piled with cushions and bolsters trimmed with lace, embroidery or buttons, while in the kitchen an old-fashioned dresser is just the thing, piled with vintage patterned crockery.

No romantic home would be complete without atmospheric lighting, which is best achieved by combining a variety of light sources – a central chandelier perhaps, together with a selection of wall and table lights, the latter small and graceful rather than large and imposing. Don’t forget that twinkly fairy lights and a selection of candles or tea lights (preferably scented) will really add atmosphere to your home.

And speaking of finishing touches, choose surface finishes that are shiny and reflective, from mirror to pearl, polished metal to glazed ceramics. Accessorise with fine china teacups and cake stands, delicately etched glassware and bone-handled cutlery. One or two heart-shaped pieces add to the effect – as will a scattering of small ornaments, from birds and animals to female figures. Last, but definitely not least, add flowers everywhere possible, in vases and milk bottles, jam jars and other informal containers. Roses or ranunculas, alliums or asters – informal arrangements of old-fashioned blooms with a lovely scent will be sure to bring romance to any home.