Interior Design

5 reasons why we love the folksy look

There's a new look in town and it's super easy to achieve

Folksy Look - Kit Kemp interior
(Image credit: Future/Simon Brown)

There's a new look taking the interiors world by storm: folksy. Step aside cottagecore. 

It's a beautiful trend that's perfect for this moment in time. Defined as  ‘having the characteristics of traditional culture and customs’ and ‘informal and unpretentious’, a folksy home is one that brings together the decorative arts and crafts of different cultures to create playful, unique and homely spaces. 

Here’s why we and so many names in interior design love the look.

See: Interior design trends – top looks for the year ahead

What is folksy style?

At its heart is a deep appreciation for the handmade explains fabric designer Vanessa Arbuthnott. 'Folksy style is a celebration of handcrafted pieces within the home that have a naive charm as well as a celebration of pattern and color.' 

Prints, papers, fabrics and furnishings handcrafted in traditional methods take the lead, often resulting in rooms with a riot of color and pattern. To describe the look as a trend is itself a contradiction. Championing traditional folk art traditions, naivety, simplicity and imperfection the look is homely and timeless. 

1. Folksy means freedom to mix and match styles

Folksy style - Kit Kemp shepherds hut

Read about Kit Kemp's shepherd's hut in her book Design Thread

(Image credit: Hardie Grant / Simon Brown Photography)

The great thing about the folksy home is that anything goes and you can mix and match different fabrics, wallpapers and styles to your heart's content. Taking inspiration from the traditional interiors and decorative arts from across the world, from Romany caravans to traditional American farmhouses, the folksy look is a celebration of different cultures. 

Speaking about the renovation of her vintage shepherds hut (above), interior designer Kit Kemp reveals that, ‘breaking the rules and stretching the imagination with color and pattern is always fun. Mixing styles in surprising ways creates spaces that are memorable and makes them feel alive.’

See: At home with Kit Kemp – be inspired by her inimitable creativity

2. Folksy celebrates handcrafted pieces 

Folksy style - Vanessa Arbuthnott living room

Vanessa Arbuthnott's living room featuring artwork painted by her daughter, Rose Arbuthnott, her simple colourful fabrics and a traditionally woven Welsh blanket on the footstool

(Image credit: Future / Brent Darby)

Incorporating handcrafted pieces can make your home feel folksy and unique as fabric designer Vanessa Arbuthnott explains. 

'In this world of mass production a handcrafted addition to an interior really stands out. These handcrafted pieces also provide a celebration of pattern and color, which in my view are always needed within a home,' she says. 'Beautiful handwoven woollen rugs and blankets give a naïve Shaker-like charm and add warmth as well as being decorative. Simple functional creative objects such as a handmade peg bag, tea cosy, tea towel or even upcycling as old office chair, can add a unique home spun charm to a house.'

3. Folksy spaces are colorful and happy

Vanessa Arbuthnott orange kitchen

(Image credit: Future / Brent Darby)

Taking inspiration from the traditional interiors and decorative arts from across the world, from Indian block-printed fabrics to Moroccan Berber rugs, the folksy look is often vibrant, colourful. Don't be afraid to to team handpainted walls and furniture with traditional woven rugs and handmade patchwork quilts in myriad colours. 

See: Kitchen ideas – decor and decorating ideas for all kitchens 

4. Folksy style supports independent artisans

Folksy style - Wicklewood mirrors

Handpainted mirrors and handcrafted textiles in the Wicklewood showroom

(Image credit: Wicklewood)

When it comes to creating a folksy look, there are lots of interiors brands, such as Wicklewood, that specialize in scouring the globe for beautiful handcrafted pieces made using traditional techniques to decorate with from hand-thrown ceramics to hand-crafted quilts, our collection is eclectic and yet elegant. 

Folk style is not just a look but a way of living and at Wicklewood we champion the handmade,' says Rosie Axford, Founding Partner at Wickelwood. 'We support artisans globally, using age-old and local textile techniques, combined with vibrant color and unique pattern, to create beautiful colorful pieces that transform your home.'

5. Folksy gives your home a personal touch

Folksy style - Molly Mahon children's bedroom

A children's bedroom decorated with Molly Mahon's mix and match Greencombe fabrics

(Image credit: Molly Mahon)

Decorating in a folksy style is not about creating a coherent look, but combining pieces you love to create a personal space, as Molly Mahon, block printer and fabric designer explains. 

'To me, a folksy look is made up of lovely hand crafted pieces imbued with charm and stories... adding elements of this in to an interior can help add meaning and interest to a room.

'Decorate in the moment; if you find something you love, make a place for it.'

Pippa Blenkinsop

Pippa is a contributor to Homes & Gardens. A graduate of Art History and formerly Style Editor at Period Living, she is passionate about architecture, creating decorating content, interior styling and writing about craft and historic homes. She enjoys searching out beautiful images and the latest trends to share with the Homes & Gardens audience. A keen gardener, when she’s not writing you’ll find her growing flowers on her village allotment for styling projects.