Scotland’s unwavering bond with tartan is etched into its design mantra. This plaid fabric is woven into the cultural heritage and makes for a functional yet sleek statement in a home. Take note that it doesn’t have to be bright or the quintessential red Stuart tartan. Most contemporary houses lean towards soothing grey hues with subtle hints of lavender or light brown. It can range from accent wallpaper and oversized rugs, to curtains, sofa cushions, throws, ceramic porridge bowls, love seats and foot stools — there are no rules. A splash of tartan can add a welcomed dose of personality to any room.
Art adds sentimental value to a room, not to mention character and charm. As a perennial source of inspiration, Scotland has its fair share of craftspeople and artists, each as talented as the next. Scottish art can range from giant abstract thistles in vibrant colours to a miniature cityscape oil paintings worth wondering over. Then again, art is subjective so it could also mean a shabby chic saltire cross sprawled on reclaimed wood or mountain art to commemorate a Munro-bagging expedition! As vehicles to the imagination, add as many or as little artworks as you see fit and watch the room transform before your eyes.
Although a resurgence of antlers in abstract form are all the rage these days, the Scots have been doing this for years and will evidently continue to do so. The trend of antlers in decorating stems from Scotland’s hunting heritage where it’s customary to keep the antlers of a prize catch. Today, they can appear in all manner of forms ranging from white ceramic bookends to loud turquoise and hot pink antler prints embellishing a wall. Don’t panic if you prefer the real deal — male bucks naturally shed antlers once a year, resulting in a harmless decor idea.
Accent pillows are a make or break accessory in a Scots home. More than often, they add that idyllic extra touch of sass or pop of colour that makes a home your own. Go fun and playful with a quintessentially Scottish handcrafted Tunnock’s Teacake or wafer cushion, express your traditional tendencies with a thistle or Scottie dog print, or go all out and embrace an eclectic assortment of crazy cushions. Ideas include prints of famous Scottish novels, maps of Scotland or cheeky Scottish sayings.
A well-lit room can work wonders. Especially on days when the tumultuous Scottish elements act up, creating all four seasons in a day. The remedy? An abundance of creative candles and lamps. Now of course you can shop local at numerous farm shops or splurge on a gorgeous pick of your choice from the Isle of Skye Candle Company, specifically their dreamy Scottish range which includes scents of Highland Gorse and Heather. A crafty alternative is to save a bottle of your fave Scottish booze — think Hendrick’s Gin or some form of whisky — and cut the top off to create a quirky, custom candle. If afraid of fire hazards, the Scots love a good oversized accent lampshade. Add a stag print or tartan for a twist.
Or wood burning stove. The epitome of practicality and wonderfully cosy, a working fire is an essential component in a Scottish home, even on those all too familiar chilly summer days. Those deterred by the accompanying work of keeping a fire roaring (it takes finesse and practice) can opt for a painted fireplace on an accent wall. Similarly, place some fancy candles in a disused fireplace for a warm glow without the added care.
For centuries, artisans in Scotland have exercised traditional weaving methods for tailoring and home decorating purposes. The addition of fabrics in a household from iconic Harris Tweed to thick Scottish wool celebrate Scottish craftsmanship while adding simplified sleek functionality. Muted greys and fun colours work equally as well in the form of a throw casually draped over a sofa or incorporated into a seat cushion. Another top tip for keeping out the cold while looking classy are high quality heavy curtains using iconic local fabrics.
Playing into the old-world charm and emotional memories, many a Scottish home, even if considered contemporary in design, will showcase some form of family heirloom or antique passed down through the generations. This mixing of old and new adds a personal touch and melds the present with the past. Such pieces can vary from your grandma’s antique map rendering of Scotland to a bespoke clock placed on a sleek modern mantelpiece. This way, memories and shared stories are immortalised.