Most of us are spending a lot more time at home thanks to the pandemic, throwing our bad decor decisions of the past into sharp relief.
If you’re thinking of giving your home an overhaul, here are eight of the key trends from London Design Week to inspire you for the year to come.
Florals are no longer safe and sedate – when it comes to motifs from the great outdoors, this season’s mantra is go hard, or go home. From Pierre Frey’s flamingo-print fabric to Andrew Martin’s bold bulb prints and giant graffiti-ed apples, the vibe is less English country garden and more tropical island paradise.
“This season, there is a preference for the exotic and the idea of gardens as paradise on earth, with botanical motifs such as fragrant jasmine and orange trees making an appearance,” says Design Centre Chelsea Harbour’s Becky Metcalfe. If far-flung holidays are off the table this summer, maybe this is the next best thing.
Before everything got cancelled, Japan was having a bit of a cultural moment. Excitement was building ahead of the Tokyo olympics, and there was an entire exhibition dedicated to kimonos at the V&A. Keep the spirit alive with delicate, neutral pieces, natural materials and clever, functional design.
Our homes are now our castles whether we like it or not, so up the luxury ante by filling yours with tactile materials in a range of different textures. At Design Week we saw brocades, jacquards, textured wallcoverings and thick, bouclé carpets.
Pierre Frey’s lustrous, paisley-patterned fabric in shades of deep pink and green would bring a touch of retro-inspired decadence to any lockdown lounge, while Italian designer Paola Lenti’s outdoor chairs use a combination of natural and industral materials to create bold, woven textures, and are also recyclable.
Ahead of the curve
With our sofas now basically the centre of the universe, it’s more important than ever to have a good one. Voluptuous, curvy shapes are where it’s at, elevating the humble settee into a work of sculpture.
“Furniture is simpler, with the padded silhouette an outward expression of reassuring comfort,” says Metcalfe. – and as well as being everywhere during Design Week, shapely sofas have been used in the new release of apartments at Clarges in Mayfair, which have just been completed by design studio Elicyon.
Paint the town red
Like the weather outside that none of us can enjoy, the colour palette is warming up. Last year’s fun and carefree millennial pinks have given way to deeper, darker shades of rose, etruscan red and watermelon, while neutrals are also stepping up a gear.
Elicyon’s Charu Gandhi says the ubiquitous dove grey is being replaced by “new, warm neutrals such as umber, burnt sienna and ochre.”
Back to nature
Another big trend at Design Week was natural materials. Everything from banana fibre to marble turned up at the show, tying in with the vogue for products that display expert craftsmanship.
“Humble finishes like terracotta, sisal and cork are being employed by designers as if they are haute materials,” says Metcalfe. “Whether it is a wallcovering made of shells or a handstitched leather lamp, these surfaces take immense skill and craftsmanship to perfect.” If you were looking for a lockdown craft project, this might be the time to start.
Fashion designer Matthew Williamson launched a new collection of digitally-printed wallpapers at Design Week, in partnership with Osborne & Little – yes, that’s the family firm of former chancellor George.
Inspired by childhood daydreams, patterns on offer include a jungle filled with roaming tigers; an inky night sky full of stars; and wildflower meadow dotted with butterflies. A glorious antithesis to everything minimal and understated.
For those who like to keep lines a bit cleaner, there were also plenty of architectural prints and angular objects. “An effective way to elevate any scheme can be through adding bold graphic print to the design,” says Gandhi. “Complementing a neutral material palette with an unexpected dark abstract pattern makes it more dynamic and compelling.”
The showrooms at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour are closed due to the lockdown, but you can find updates and information about the designers based there on its website: dcch.co.uk.