Michelle Ogundehin previews the new year’s exciting looks, from happy design to everyday luxe
Ahead of our Trend Issue next month, Michelle Ogundehin previews the new year’s most exciting looks
The colour beige had its day a long time ago as the default choice for homes – however, white had always been right when it came to the desire for a plain backdrop. But no more! Neutrals are an essential part of any decorating arsenal; they are the soothing salve to the colour of your possessions. Except, increasingly, you’re going to be seeing more tea rose, lavender and peach – the new neutrals du jour. Admittedly, these are all colours with a decidedly retro flavour, yet they’re brought bang up to date with big dollops of grey in them. Think muted pastels – more sophisticated versions of whatever came to mind when you first pictured those colour names.
Eco used to mean scratchy fabrics and wobbly pots that, frankly, should have been lobbed straight into the recycling bin. As for eco homes, well, that meant walls made from straw bales and compost toilets. Now, the architecture is sexier, and early adopters and local authorities are embracing the Passivhaus movement – a gold standard in the eco building world. The reason for this increasing interest is simple: building like this is good for the planet (less reliant on unsustainable fuels) and for you, from comfortable room temperatures to better air quality, quieter homes so that you sleep better, and energy bills that are, on average, 90 per cent lower. What’s not to love?
At the same time as the rise and return of gold, which I wrote about in last month’s issue, and as a further reflection on the rejection of black (more on that topic in a moment), there is also a sense of the design world wanting to throw caution to the wind in a decidedly fun way. In a complete volte-face to the New Neutrals, there is a burgeoning trend for taking those retro colours and brightening, heightening and vibrantly mixing and mismatching them. It’s jolly, it’s upbeat and it basically says, ‘well, if the world is going to hell in a handcart, then we will do as we damn well please in our own homes, because we’re living for the moment!’
BYE BYE BLACK
I’ve often noted that the popularity of monochrome acts as a kind of bravery barometer for the nation’s interiors. In other words, when black and white abounds, the zeitgeist is one of caution and a desire for playing it safe with decorating decisions. Conversely, when sales of this traditional look slump, it can be seen as a sign that we’re collectively feeling open to something new. And so it is that, although dark navy and fir green are on the up, absolutist black is on the wane. For furniture, black is out because it’s about being able to see the grain, and for everything else… well, why go black when you could have lavender or peach?
This is a straightforward evolution of the continuing love for precious stones, marbles, lush velvets and other exotic finishes in the home, that first emerged about two years ago – I christened it ‘The New Modern’. These materials are now coming off of the walls and out of the haute-designer toolbox to be used for more utilitarian products. Think pendant lights made from alabaster (above), as well as jade-green velvet sofas and tealight holders crafted from richly veined marbles – both available on the high street. As this trend continues, I predict that its parallel will also emerge – an interest in more ‘Arte Povera’ finishes, from cork to plywood.
Dulux announced its colour of the year for 2018, called ‘Heart Wood’, which it described as a ‘warm neutral with a hint of heather’. I promptly renamed it ‘Bruise Purple’ as, to me, this more accurately conjures up the image of this hue – rather beautiful and transfixing, in the way that the evolution of a real bruise is. This is no easy ‘neutral’, though. It sits neither in the pink nor the purple camp. It is not blue, and certainly not a white-with-a-hint-ofanything. Instead, its heritage is a mix of all of the above – plus the ever on-trend grey. It is, I feel, representative of what we need now: a cool, calm, yet alternative new neutral that can reach out across divides.
NEW NEUTRALS 1 ‘Herman’ chair in ‘Rose’ by Ferm Living 2 The brass of Broste Copenhagen’s ‘Caspa’ lamp suits this tea rose backdrop 3 Peach is used to perfection in this room shot by picture agency Frank Features SEXY ECO 4 Modern, eco-friendly...