While I always work with my clients to develop an interiors style imbued with their own personality there is no doubting that fashion plays a part in design. Paying attention to current trends is a great way to discover innovative finishes and details, or to re-discover styles that have maybe fallen from grace for a few years but whose resurgence strikes a chord with your own tastes. Amongst the many predictions for the year ahead, here are just a few that strike a chord with me for 2020.
I have never been a big fan of the relentlessly grey room. Undoubtedly elegant though such rooms can be, they are also a bit too smart for me suggesting a degree of neatness and a requirement to be on “best behaviour” that does not lend itself to a relaxed space. It turns out that fifty shades of grey isn’t quite as exciting as some have suggested! However, neutrals are such an important design tool and so I am delighted to see a deliberate move towards a much warmer neutrals palette. The best of both worlds, this still provides the canvas upon which your accents and accessories can shine, but with added depth and interest. Larsen have truly mastered this with their new collection featuring fabrics in colours such as Tobacco, Bark and Spice. They are as inviting and tactile as their names suggest.
Using a single colour in multiple ways and in multiple finishes can give a room a strong, contemporary feel. I particularly love the current trend for painting woodwork and walls in an identical strong shade, but you can achieve a similar look by matching, for example, your sofa to your walls. A rich, lustrous emerald green velvet sofa set against walls of the same colour will produce a stunningly beautiful yet calming atmosphere. (And a mini-tip: velvet is itself having a moment and is currently the most searched for fabric). This trend for stronger colours anchoring a scheme is reflected by Pantone’s selection of Classic Blue, a beautiful deep shade, as their colour of the year 2020. Reminiscent of the sky at dusk it would work perfectly for this treatment. And do remember that your kitchen is not an operating theatre! It is a room which should have as much character as any other and it has been a particular beneficiary of this trend with darker (and in particular blue) kitchens zooming in popularity.
Something Old, Something New:
While I could write an entire column on layering in interior design, in the context of present trends I am focussing on working the contemporary in with the traditional – a much-loved style at Ampersand but one which you may currently see being labelled “grandmillenial”. Such layering of design allows you to incorporate seemingly incongruous items while maintaining an overall harmony of design. The reasons for doing so are varied – it may be the desire for an injection of humour or irony by introducing vintage or hand-me-down items, or a way to accommodate much-loved heirlooms without looking like a museum. A Georgian antique can be the ideal counterpoint to a sleek interior, and a mid-century piece (another 2020 trend) can perfectly offset its Jacobean partner. Overall it is a more relaxed feel with less emphasis on an identifiable look (although House of Hackney have developed an entire style on the quirky-retro) and more on the overall atmosphere created by the combinations. The counterpoint can be emphasised by finish (for examples mirrored side tables accompanying mahogany chairs), or by period (modern oak chairs paired with an antique oak table). Applied to accessories, art, cushions, this technique can result in a hugely individual and engaging interior.
The Rough with the Smooth
You only have to take a brief glance in the direction of the always-wonderful Soane to see the resurgence of rattan. But it is not just in furniture that this traditional technique is making waves – from the beautiful woven baskets we discovered in Paris to its use in lighting it is a wonderfully textured finish to introduce to a room. I adore Porta Romana’s new rattan lampshades which lend a more informal air to a striking chandelier. In a broader context, the effect of reeding is everywhere and something we are certainly using to give an extra dimension to our bespoke cabinetry. Take a look around and you will barely see a flat surface with bar fronts, cabinet doors and occasional furniture sporting fabulous fluting and sensuous scalloping while fish scale tiles and wonderful wave effects continue the theme into the bathroom.
Jackie’s column appears in Premier Living Magazine which can be found here.