As we turn the calendar page to a new year, I have a habit of dreaming about what will come next. I am a planner and love to embark on new projects that have captured my imagination. Inspiration is everywhere, it seems to tease me ... what about this, but oh, look at that.
How I determine what path to follow is never totally clear, but excitement and passion have a lot to do with it. In the world of interior design there are hundreds of home shows that take place around the world that introduce new products and trends that are enduring as well as those that are on the horizon. One of the best is Maison & Objet, an international bonanza that takes place in Paris in September. With hundreds of exhibitors and dozens of rooms on display it feels like an explosion of furniture, fabrics, colours and designs. It takes time to digest. Photos help.
What I discovered from this year’s fair built on many popular themes that we have seen, revving them up to even greater heights. For example, wallpapers continue to show up as a fabulous fashion statement, with florals large and small covering walls.
Bold strokes of colour and pattern give us the courage to experiment with more than whites, greys and other quiet neutrals. While these shades will always lead the way as subtle backgrounds for our homes, rich hues have a place. While leading paint companies highlight their colour of the year, you will notice that they all have a basic premise in common — nature’s palette. Farrow & Ball say that you can never go wrong with colours derived from the natural world. Pitsburgh Paint’s colour of the year is Night Watch, as seen here, a rich luxurious classic deep green. Connecting with nature inside our homes offers a calm, invigorating sense of well-being. Sherwin Williams has chosen Cavern Clay, Dulux likes Spiced Honey and Benjamin Moore goes with Metropolitan, an effortless take on grey — sophisticated and peaceful.
Home is a retreat from hectic schedules, and baffling, scary world news. Cosy themes, rooms that make us feel safe and cosseted make sense. Textures overlap with upholstery and pillows, layers of soft comfort that spell relaxation. Four- poster beds are back to lend a sense of protection to sleeping quarters. Padded headboards soften the bed. Velvet continues to lead in the furniture market. Sofas and chairs are upholstered in an assortment of shades, mid-blues showing up everywhere. But an orange or golden yellow velvet armchair is exciting too.
Minimalism has been transformed with hard edges giving way to curves. Oval is the predominant shape and it’s everywhere — in mirrors, lights, tables and furniture lines. A vignette from Maison & Objet shows how to balance linear pieces with rounded objects. Metal tables are both. Shelves are straight, carpet pattern striped, velvet pillows straight, oversized chandeliers and side lights oval, wall mirrors and sunburst frame round. It’s intriguing to play with what you have and add one or two new pieces that sharpen the look.
One of the easiest ways to bring nature indoors is with houseplants and they are increasing in popularity. You don’t have to go for an entire green wall, although that is very cool. A room with live greenery or flowers feels special. It’s healthy and will enhance any mood or style you have chosen.