Your essential guide to Hipster Highland house style

As a native Glaswegian with a Scotland-obsessed father, I spent many family holidays in the most beautiful remote corners of the country and climbed more mountains than the average teenager wants to. Now a London-based adult, I seek out this type of escapism and – throw in a bit of vocational property obsession – have really put the hours in to find enticing Highland hideaways. Based on this life’s work, today we bring you a compilation of styling ideas to steal from cosy holiday lets in Scotland – Carskiey House, Eileen Shona, Glenfeshie Estate,  Killiehuntley Lodge and Kinloch Lodge. So shake out your blanket, get the stove on and grab a dram while we give you the main points in this essential guide to Highland homing.

Put a sheepskin on it

You may remember Portlandia’s satirical take on interior styling (bird-based) – well in freezing cold Scotland it’s about cosy-fying every inch of your home. Put a sheepskin on it. A chair, the floor, your sofa, your bed… anything but the toilet seat.

Killiehuntly Farmhouse - Scotland. photo Martin Kaufmann

Killiehuntley Farmhouse, where the feel is Scandinavian-Scottish

Killiehuntly Farmhouse - Hayloft - photo Martin Kaufmann

Killiehuntley – dark wood panelling gives this room a focal point


The perfect desk set up at Kinloch Lodge – right in front of the view

If you have a conservatory, it’s a great way of keeping that room usable in the chillier winter.




  1. Sofa 2. Cushion 3. Blanket 4. Rug 5. Scottish sheepskin

Fill the floor with a huge cosy rug or rugs…

A wood floor in a Highland house looks swish as you like, but it’s not the warmest and original rustic boards are not always compatible with underfloor heating. Fill that floor with the biggest rug you can find. Or start layering some rugs together. Imagine yourself in PJs and bare feet when you’re planning your rug layout and you’ll nail it.


A cosy living room in Carskiey house, on the Mull of Kintyre

And don’t forget the bathroom.


The panelled bathroom of the Old Schoolhouse on Eilean Shona

Make a cosy corner next to the window

The whole point of the Highland house is that it’s in the middle of some of the finest nature you’ve ever clapped eyes on. Window seats or, more simply, seating next to a window, are therefore highly recommended. But you want to make them as comfy and cosy as you can. You need rugs again and plenty of cushions.


A place to sit your whisky bottle is also recommended, as is always having a blanket nearby.



  1. Tweed upholstery material 2. Gotland Sheepskin 3. Red chair 4. Paisley throw 5. Orkney bench

Embrace trad plaids, tartan and tweed

It’s possible to give them all a modern twist if you want to, though the below room is mostly quite traditional and quite lovely for it. Employ cooler colours with your choice of fabric or print to keep it on the right side of cliched and to stop the room from becoming too dark or heavy.


One of the bedrooms at Glenfeshie, where Scottish and Scandinavian design ideas collide

Choose a palette inspired by nature

Soft greys, greens and browns are ideal canvas colours borrowing from the great outdoors. Thereafter, highlights in shades of red and purple (heather) and even yellow (gorse) still feel in keeping with what’s going on outside.


A living room with soft shades and contemporary furniture at Kinloch Lodge


Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

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