Right now there are three really strong trends in design - the industrial look, the minimalist look and the natural look. But what does it all really mean?
Industrial. It's about a simple, almost rustic look making the most of worn-looking timber, exposed metal and a palette of mostly white, grey, warm neutrals and all the colours of raw metals. Concrete and exposed brick are also featured materials and you'll often see exposed lighting and wiring. Think warehouse - but with creature comforts!
To achieve the industrial look, pare back to the raw original materials (or bring them in). Concrete or timber floors are essential, combined with those warm neutral paint colours and put the feature focus on cleverly-designed lighting. The right furniture for this look will have timber and metal elements. Cosy away the hard edges with a comfy sofa in neutral tones or greys and keep the natural, grey and white theme going with your small decorative items, along with metal and timber of course!
Minimalist. As the name suggests, a minimalist style is about less being more. White is the perfect base colour, with splashes of black and grey and small hints of colour. Minimalist is about having little to distract the eye apart from your (very few) selected major statement pieces. One way this is achieved is to use uniform flooring, another is to keep furniture styles very clean and simple and arrange it to encourage a sense of openness. Geometric patterns strengthen this feel, while floaty sheers, blinds or shutters soften the space without clutter.
It's quite hard to be really minimalist - you need to be tough on yourself when selecting just a few favourite pieces of art - and they need to be strong, statement pieces. It's a clean, crisp look so go for white walls, ceilings and trims, and spend some serious planning time on storage ideas - everything in a minimalist space needs to have its own home so it will get put away.
Natural. The third big look right now is natural and it's all about the materials. Timber floors and furniture - especially if it makes use of the natural shapes of the timber - are features. The palette is pale but warm, with lots of off-white, beige and biscuit. This is a popular look at luxury resorts and beachside, sending a gentle, relaxing and welcoming message to you as you come through the door.
Natural is the perfect look for those of us who don't relax in an industrial setting and it also offers those of us with a love for the textures and materials of days gone by a chance to enjoy all those unfussy, classic fabrics such as linen, cotton, jute and wool. Using these in their natural tones for rugs and upholstered furniture keep the crisp yet comfy look going, while walls, floors, trims and ceilings get the off-white/light beige treatment. Look for textile patterns featuring organic designs and don't forget the flowers.
Trendspotter: metallics, transparency and texture
Trend forecaster Milou Ket presented to designers at last years Furnitex seminar and if you've been watching any renovation or design television programs lately you will recognise the hot trends she singled out.
Metallics, transparency and texture are all the go.
There's lots of texture in fabric, wall coverings, flooring, hard finishes and decoration. Textured fabric is popular for window coverings, upholstery and soft furnishings, flocked wallpaper (which can also include a metallic note) and on the floor you'll find textured timber, tiles or carpets. It's all about touch and feel.
The metallics are turning up in lighting and as accents in soft furnishings, materials and finishes and wall coverings.
Frosted and patterned glass or Perspex are on trend for transparency and it's a focus for window furnishings in particular - with lots of sheers or translucent roller blinds as well as double layer bed linen with a patterned transparent sheer over a solid colour base cloth.
Happy New Year! I've wanted to do a newsletter for a while now and here it is! Why? So I can share with you the exciting and the best as I find it. The trend predictions from the experts at the design shows I attend, the great, simple ideas to keep your home up to the moment, and easy solutions to common design and decoration problems. This newsletter makes it easy to share that with you and I hope you enjoy receiving it.
I became an interior designer for a simple reason: I love helping people solve design problems. There's the practical side, when I work with my clients to make a space functional and clever, and the decoration stage, when we have fun making the functional fabulous.
But even more, it's about helping make your space really yours. Everyone has their own style and there's nothing better for me than seeing that style translated into a real, living, working, breathing thing. Because we all love having a home we love going home to.