English Colonial Looks for Your Home

We have done our share of traveling, and I love it when we arrive at a beautiful hotel and get inspired by their decorating choices.  This happened at three different hotels on our trip to Africa.  We only stayed at one of those hotels.  We had drinks at one and afternoon tea at another.  Each hotel was in a different country, but each incorporated its beautiful surroundings into the furniture and accessories collections.  The look that they used is called English Colonial, and it would be easy to get the look in your own home.

First up is the five-star Royal Livingstone Hotel in Zambia.  We went there for drinks one evening so we could enjoy watching the sun set over Victoria Falls.  This hotel is nine years old, and I would best describe it as “new money.”  The decorating style has a definite “Ralph Lauren was here” look.  It’s one of my all-time favorite decorating styles.




This is the view we went to see.  That smoke you are seeing in the distance is the mist created by Victoria Falls which is one of the natural wonders of the world.  We sat on a veranda built over the water.


 Copper sinks - The 2 Seasons

We loved the look of these copper sinks in the outdoor bar’s rest room. We also like their mix of tiles on the wall and the pretty sconces.  A sink like this would be so cute in a powder room.


English colonial decor - The 2 Seasons

We love the alcove created by the book shelves that are built around the sofa.  We also love the dark paint on the book shelves and walls, the books grouped by color, and the framed vintage map hanging over the sofa.  One more thing is the layered oriental rug over the grass cloth rug.  This would all be so easy to recreate in our own homes.

 English Colonial decor - The 2 Seasons

We have a lamp built out of books, and so it was nice to see one in the Royal Livingstone.  Notice that the lampshades are covered in feathers, which would be an easy DIY with feathers and a glue gun.


 English colonial decor - The 2 Seasons

The bar was a real show-stopper.  First off, take a look at the thatched roof and dark beams.  I LOVE this look.  It could be achieved by using grass cloth wallpaper on the ceiling along with faux dark wooden beams.  The heavy dark woods of the bar are softened by the vintage luggage on top.  I’m going to put our vintage luggage on top of a cabinet in our great room today.  The heavy black wrought iron light and leather chairs add some more interest.


 English colonial decor - The 2 Seasons

Another great decorating trick we all use or can use in our homes is mixing contemporary with traditional.  These ikat chairs are somewhat contemporary, but they mixed right in with the English colonial vibe.  I tried to get these chairs in my luggage, but they wouldn’t fit.  Bummer.  Those are the colors we use around here, and I just am crazy about those chairs.  They were in the main lobby, by the way.



English colonial decor - The 2 Seasons


When we arrived, some people were enjoying afternoon tea in another lobby.  Look how the zebra rug softens the concrete floor.  Also, the mixed woods add texture.  I am determined to get a zebra rug to layer over our grass cloth rug in the great room.  I could have bought one in Africa but didn’t want to deal with getting it home.


English colonial decor - The 2 Seasons

There was a mixture of beautiful sconces throughout the hotel.  This one had the shape of a closed umbrella.  We don’t have a lot of sconces in our home because they are too permanent for me.  I like to have the freedom to move things around, and I’m afraid sconces would put a damper on that.  How do you feel about sconces?


English colonial decor - The 2 Seasons

Two days later we had afternoon tea at the five-star Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe.  This hotel was built in 1903 and is definitely “old money.”  It’s my favorite hotel ever.  Oh, and it also had a thick Ralph Lauren look.



English colonial decor - The 2 Seasons


As you enter the hotel, there’s a beautiful courtyard with a reflecting pool.  This is a great way to have a water feature without the commitment of a pool.


English colonial decor - The 2 Seasons

The lobbies of this hotel were loaded with a mixture of worn leather chesterfields, fabric furniture, old botanical prints, oil paintings, taxidermy,  antlers, white walls, and dark wood floors.



English colonial decor - The 2 Seasons

There were also zebra rugs hanging on the walls along with the taxidermy.


English Colonial decor - The 2 Seasons

The veranda overlooked the Victoria Falls from the other side since we were in another country.  They mixed wicker, wood, and rattan to add color, texture.  There was a patina here that could only come from age and use.


Afternoon tea - The 2 Seasons

This is totally off-topic, but here’s a peek at our afternoon tea.  It was delish.


Now, in the intro, I mentioned that the decor of three hotels.  I’ll share the third hotel with you when I do a recap of our week in Namibia.  If you are still reading this, thank you for hanging in there.


Take care.


  1. Beth says

    I just loved seeing these beautiful hotels. It is difficult for me to select a photo I enjoyed best! What a series of lessons in style. You know I adored the Ikat chairs. But I think my favorite had to be the alcove seating. I have been studying rooms using this feature for years. Your trip looks amazing.

  2. KimberlyAnne says

    Loved your pictures and comments on the hotels around Victoria Falls. My husband and I were able to spend several nights at the Victoria Falls Hotel a couple of years ago. It was at the end of a two week trip to that area. We enjoyed the hotel so much we spent one whole afternoon and evening just sitting on the veranda and visiting with our friends. A beautiful finish to a beautiful trip.