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

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NEW NEU­TRALS

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.

SEXY ECO

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?

HAPPY DE­SIGN

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?

EV­ERY­DAY LUXE

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.

BRUISE PUR­PLE

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...

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