Interior Design

5 interior tips to steal from Susie Atkinson – the designer behind the five-star Lime Wood Hotel

How to do modern country house style to perfection...

Susie Atkinson at Lime Wood Hotel
(Image credit: Lime Wood Hotel)

When it comes to modern country house style, British designer Susie Atkinson knows a thing or two. 

And she's been back working her magic again at the stunning Lime Wood hotel in Hampshire.

Over the last 10 years, Lime Wood has been the platform and creative space for some of the most exciting interior designers and architects in the UK. Overseen by the dynamic team with Robin Hutson at the helm, Lime Wood has continued to develop a strong design aesthetic over the years whilst always remaining true to its identity as a down-to-earth forest retreat. 

Having completed the Drawing Room as well as the three romantic Pavilion hideaways inspired by the forest last year, Susie Atkinson has now renovated the 13 bedrooms in the main building and the 13 garden rooms, giving each one a completely unique identity, scheme and style.  

See: Interior design tips – decorating secrets for the world's top experts

Her brief for the Lime Wood Hotel was to create rooms with a sophisticated elegance, which still reflected a relaxed country house style. The fantastic proportions and original architectural detailing of the light-filled rooms in the main house were the perfect backdrop for the team to work with. 

See the beautiful transformations below, and 5 ways you can learn about country house style from the renovations...

1. Don't be afraid to mix colors, prints and patterns

Susie Atkinson at Lime Wood Hotel

(Image credit: Lime Wood Hotel)

It's really important to make sure you mix-up your prints and colors so your scheme doesn't look too uniform. The trick is to pick out colors to blend together in different ways, and use complementary contrasting shades, too.

Susie says of the designs: 'The setting for Lime Wood has been a huge inspiration for me. I love to mix the details – whether it’s textures, colors, patterns or eras – creating something very individual is key for an interesting interior. While I of course ensure the spaces are practical and easy to spend time in, for me the joy is creating a unique space that is supremely comfortable and indulgent, appealing to all the senses.'

2. Blend old and new

Susie Atkinson at Lime Wood Hotel

(Image credit: Lime Wood Hotel)

Follow Susie's lead and carefully balance beautiful antiques with vintage pieces and contemporary designs. Adding the odd vintage lamp, side table, chair or objet will ensure there's character and nostalgia sitting alongside newer pieces, and bringing a slice of personality to the space.

In the picture above, we love how the traditional chairs, lamp and wardrobe are given edge with a modern, metallic-topped side table.

See: Bedroom ideas – designs and inspiration for beautiful bedrooms

3. Bring the outside in

Susie Atkinson at Lime Wood Hotel

(Image credit: Lime Wood Hotel)

Inspired by Lime Wood’s beautiful forest surroundings, Susie brings warmth and personality to the rooms with confident use of color and references to nature within the schemes. 

Try adding botanical or floral prints to a statement headboard, cushions, curtains or chair upholstery. Some of Susie's favourite quirky fabric suppliers? Robert Kime, Hazelton House, Larrson, Penny Morrison, James Hare and Claremont will help bring personality and individuality to your space.

4. Add a statement headboard

Susie Atkinson at Lime Wood Hotel

(Image credit: Lime Wood Hotel)

Statement headboards are perfect for a country house scheme – grand, cozy and chic all at the same time. You can add your botanical fabrics for an easy way to inject color, curves and traditional-meets-contemporary style to your bedroom.

See: Headboard ideas – statement headboards and interior designers' tips

5. Introduce carefully curated art to the space

Susie Atkinson at Lime Wood Hotel

(Image credit: Lime Wood Hotel)

Beautiful artwork can really tie a decor scheme together and, when it comes to country house style, botanicals, landscapes or even abstract pieces can really bring the room to life.

At Lime Wood, Susie complemented the classically traditional backdrop by punctuating the rooms with a curation of notable contemporary artworks by artists including Victor Pasmore, Kate Boxer, Tom Hammick, Richard Ballanger, James Dixon and Philip Jones.