Paula Sutton at Hill House Vintage shows us how to create the perfect country look

Take some styling tips from Paula Sutton at Hill House Vintage
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • Whether you live in a county pile or not, you can still enjoy country style. It’s not even necessary to live in the countryside, as the craze for ‘cottagecore’ on instagram shows.

    There’s something about the nostalgic country look that’s strangely comforting in unsettling times. These styling ideas from the lovely and talented Paula Sutton at Hill House Vintage, could work just as well in a suburban or city setting.

    1. Go classic with blue china

    A table laid with vintage blue china will look elegant, whether you’re dining indoors or out. Classic pieces, from Chinese Willow pattern to Dutch Delft Blue, have gone in an out of fashion for decades and right now, blue china is having its moment back in the style spotlight.

    Not just that, it will bring a boost of colour and heritage charm to a table setting, as demonstrated by Paula at her home in Norfolk.

    2. Clash colours

    View this post on Instagram

    As I stood there in my high waisted ‘Hobit style’ corduroy trousers, puff sleeved blouse and hand knitted tank top, I tried to explain to my sceptical teenagers that once upon a time, Mummy would hit the dance floor wearing Lycra, whilst Daddy (currently wearing a coincidentally matching pair of corduroys – albeit in a rather brighter hue – and comfortable house loafers…) would be at the decks, one hand clasped ‘professionally’ to his DJ headphones – head nodding vigorously with pleasure – whilst he mixed the vinyl to a crowd that raved around him…😂 Even Coco doesn’t quite believe it – rather like the fact that I can hardly believe how my interior tastes once leaned toward what can only be described as “neutral”…😳 who would have thought! Embrace age – embrace change – embrace your eccentricity and embrace your individuality – the colourful journey of your style evolution is half the fun!! 🌈🦋💗 • • • #littlestoriesofmylife

    A post shared by Paula Sutton (@hillhousevintage) on

    There’s a tendency to think that country style interiors have to be ‘matchy-matchy’. Paula has thrown out the rule book with these two occasional button-back chairs and combined wildly different colours, patterns and textures with aplomb.

    The result brings a fresh feel to a traditional style that puts it firmly in the 21st century.

    Related: Be wowed by a charming farmhouse with an eye-catching extension in the East Sussex countryside

    3. Mix country styles

    View this post on Instagram

    I was once told in a comment that my home was “full of tat”, and that the commenter had “Seen it all before…” I think that they were rather taken aback when I happily agreed with them, and thanked them for confirming that my hope to achieve a ‘lived in’ and eclectic English country house look was obviously successful and being achieved in the most authentic way possible! 😂😂 Elegantly ‘Lived’ in, a bit tatty at the edges, gloriously mismatched and very obviously well loved is EXACTLY how I want my home to look. There’s a joyful mix of inexpensive vintage, more expensive antique, high end high street, and more affordable high street, exclusive boutique and many small, independent, creative and artisan business purchases making up the hodge podge of comfort that I call home. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but isn’t that the beauty of it? I look at Instagram and appreciate everything from the glossiest modern interiors, to the most rustic, deconstructed homes and everything in between, and I thoroughly enjoy them all. The one thing that binds them all together? The fact that their owners are passionate about their homes, and love the style that they have. When that joy shines through, you can show me maximalist so called ‘tat’ and you can show me sleek, minimalist designer – I’ll enjoy it, love it and gladly tap ‘like’ on it all!! ❤️❤️❤️ • • #mystyle #myhome #myinteriorstyle #mycosyhome #cosyhome #mycountryhome #countryinteriors #countrylife #countryhomestyle #countryhomesandinteriors #countryliving #diningroom #dining #interiorismo #inmydomaine #thatsdarling #pink #thinkpink #romantichomes #interiordetails #periodhomes #traditionalinteriors #myeclecticmix #colourlover #colourmyhome #vintageinterior #vintagemix #shabbytoantique #englishcountrystyle

    A post shared by Paula Sutton (@hillhousevintage) on

    No-one wants to live in a museum, so mix different eras and vintages. A bit of French farmhouse here, a hint of Swedish Gustavian there… Paula is the queen of layering styles.

    It’s all topped off with Edwardian candy stripes, creating a relaxed look that oozes character and charm.

    4. Create a gallery wall

    View this post on Instagram

    #AD I was once asked whether my husband was happy with the abundance of floral pictures and feminine touches that seem to ‘pepper’ my home… It hadn’t occurred to me that my home appeared particularly feminine, as I’ve always felt it was more vintage country house with a mix of retro pretty, balanced with hardwearing functional… After all – with 3 teenagers and a water loving (often muddy) dog – it can never be too ‘pretty’ or too precious. The criteria for my home has always been good design, classic style and quality with a vintage or antique vibe. Thus when @OriginalBTC approached me and asked whether I’d like one of their Special edition Hector 30 table lights – I didn’t hesitate. There’s not a frill or a flounce upon it, but it’s a hand crafted, British manufactured, timeless classic – and that ticks all boxes for me. The bone china shade and brass stem ensure that it fits in with my ‘timeless past era’ aesthetic and adds just enough ‘elegant sleek’ to the ‘shabbily chic’ that surrounds it. British craftsmanship at it’s best – (which is something I’m happy to support during these testing times), plus with a perfectly balanced attractive yet functional Hill House signature ratio – and that’s pretty perfect in my eyes! • • • #Ad #britishtimelessclassics #lighting #Hector30 #Hectorlight #britishmanufacturing #handcrafted #bonechina #madeinengland #OriginalBTC @OriginalBTC

    A post shared by Paula Sutton (@hillhousevintage) on

    We love a project that can transform a home in a weekend – and a gallery wall is one such task. Even if you don’t have a huge collection of family heirlooms or artworks, a trip to a car boot sale, an antique gallery, or even a charity shop should turn up some treasures.

    Related: Be wowed by this charming country farmhouse in Sussex

    Mix vintage framed paintings with gilt mirrors, family photos and even some of your own artworks (if you’ve had time to get creative during lockdown).

    Make sure there is a loose theme running through, such as florals, portraiture or still life to pull it all together – and lay everything out on the floor first, so you can see how it looks before you start banging holes in the walls.

    You can follow Paula (and her gorgeous chocolate labrador) @hillhousevintage

    All the latest from Ideal Home