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Interiors: The Inside Story

Home is where the heart is, but if your interior is looking a bit ‘last year’ and you want to give it a new design dynamic what are the options? Emma Clegg takes some local advice and identifies the nine trends that are moving and shaking our local interior emporia…

Trend 1: moody

There is a dark and mysterious vibe on the interior scene this year, with shadowy drama, shimmering velvets, gleaming metallics and stand-out wall statements, as well as brooding violet, navy and striking emerald green all key colours for 2018.

“We’re loving the ongoing trend for deep rich colours, especially on walls, upholstery and textiles”, enthuses furniture and homeware specialist Michelle Aitken at Verve Living. “On walls, dark colours can act to enhance a moody vibe or – more strikingly – to allow statement pieces, including artwork, to really pop.”Casblanca Base flooring and Casablanca Decor, available at Mandarin Stone. Photo by Ben Anders

Trend 2: Bold

While the moody vibe brings plenty of strong personality, there is also a clear move towards bold, bright colours that pack a punch. Statement pieces, dazzling contrasts, patterns in combination with plains and geometrics all feature strongly here. So you can be brave with your colour choices, often an effective way of transforming your interior for the new season or just for a refreshing change. Miniforms Lola modern dining chair by Go Modern Furniture

Trend 3: pastels

Millennial pink has been out in force, and this trend has now shifted towards light-filled pastel hues to embellish our spaces. We’re seeing them in accessories and in walls that define a paler colour mood. Think powder pink, butter yellows, baby blues and minty greens. Focus on one, or combine them to create an ice cream effect.

“We’ve noticed a shift from the ‘barely there’ neutral backdrops of soft grey to pastel pinks and plaster colours which add a lovely sense of warmth to a room and pair brilliantly with pale greens, blues and yellows”, says John Law of Woodhouse and Law. “We work with Pure & Original paints which all use natural pigments and add depth and texture to your walls.”Gelato Rose Gloss Porcelain and Lavastone Pebble Basin, available at Mandarin Stone. Image: Nick Pope

Trend 4: Industrial metals

Metallic touches have been with us for a while. The latest version of the trend has an industrial nature and sees metallic finishes moving away from copper and rose gold and towards the warmth and sophistication of brass. Metallic elements within furniture pieces, mirrors and accessories all help to add a glowing and luxurious finish to a room.

“Luxurious metallic surfaces have been part of our Bulthaup kitchen designs for many years”, says Graham Craig from Hobsons Choice. “Anodised and natural aluminium finishes often complement more neutral tones, highlighting a particular area of the kitchen with eye-catching colour that will change depending on the direction of the ­­light.”

“Metallics are a quick and easy way to add a bit of ‘bling’ to a room, especially in round or geometric designs”, explains Michelle Aitken at Verve Living. “We’re especially loving our distressed brass sunburst mirror with its nod to the 70s. Tables also feature strongly, both funky vintage pieces and strong contemporary designs, with glass or mirrored tops. Metallics really provide an easy way to give a space a refresh – even if it’s just a couple of brass and glasses boxes.” Distressed brass mirror, £295 available at Verve Living

Trend 5: Dark Woods

Furniture is moving away from the pale, bleached wood style that has gone hand-in-hand with the Scandi trend. It’s time to welcome darker wood tones in homage to retro glamour, and to reinvent the concept of modern luxe. Dark oak, mahogany and textured walnut pieces are all making themselves felt, adding new depth to a room.

“A strong, rough-sawn dark oak surface bestows a great deal of contrast, natural warmth and solidity to a kitchen space”, maintains Graham Craig from Hobsons Choice. “The use of such a striking finish requires a careful hand to ensure contrasting furniture and worktops acquire a harmonious balance.”

Michelle Aitken at Verve Living agrees: “Darker tones of wood can add real depth, warmth and gravitas to a space. Dark floorboards in particular are a good option for anyone looking to refresh flooring and it is a great way to instantly transform a space – with or without the accompanying dark walls.”Schuller ‘Vienna’ Lava Black kitchen with Compac Carrera Glace quartz worktops, Miele appliances and an Elica Belle extractor hood at Hobsons Choice. Image: Ben Nicholson

Trend 6: relaxed rustic

The rustic trend has reinvented itself with panache. Minimal and elegant, it’s less country cottage idyll and more pared-back organic chic. Dress the modern rustic interior with simply styled fresh wild flowers, distressed furniture and worn textures and accents.

“Character pieces that add soul and personality to a space, twinned with the hygge vibe which we Brits seem to have embraced with zeal, suggests that the natural rustic trend is one of the lasting ones”, says Michelle Aitken. “Natural materials, especially those with a ‘lived in’ feel, sit happily alongside contemporary accessories to create a warm, relaxed vibe that’s easy to be in and to create.”Mimica Venato Matt Porcelain and Xylem Porcelain available at Mandarin Stone. Image: Nick Pope

Trend 7: Spa bathrooms

Let’s face it, we all aspire to a spa bathroom – they are comfortable, convenient and luxurious. They give us a space in which we can escape from the world, as well as cleanse, buff, pamper and spoil ourselves rotten. The spa bathroom aspiration is top of many homeowners lists, along with a keen appetite for large jacuzzi baths that you can soak in at your leisure, all-one-colour tiles, earthy tones and minimalist accents.

This trend is endorsed by Graham Craig from Hobsons Choice:  “A relaxing bathroom retreat personifies the wish-list of the majority of our Hobsons Choice clients. We believe true tranquillity is in the detail, perfectly translated from the design into the new room. A considered functional layout, a precise tiling scheme and accurate furniture alignments are just a few of the elements that make a peaceful space without distraction.”

Louisa Morgan of Mandarin Stone has noticed the same focus on the luxury bathroom experience: “Luxury never goes out of fashion, but we are certainly seeing an ever-increasing interest in marbles (real and faux) for use in bathrooms as well as bold metallics, stone bathware and stand-alone vanities.can be combined or used alone to create an opulent spa feel.”

Alape furniture and sit-on basins, Bette bathtub, Vola towel radiator, Dornbracht taps and Keuco accessories, available at Hobsons Choice. Image: Ben Nicholson

Trend 8: Botanical

Florals and botanical references continue to predominate – leaves are everywhere and they are joyous, elaborate and full of greenery and vigour. Having them around us is a way of experiencing the joy of the garden inside. Combine botanical wallpapers with real, growing plants, a crucial part of the picture. Just add a new wallpaper on a statement wall and you have transformed a space.

“Everything from ferns to tropical plants, palms, monsteras and aloe are having a moment right now,” explains John Law of Woodhouse and Law. “House plants are great at bringing the outside in and have undeniable health benefits, whether you have space for a small terrarium or two, large-scale palms, or, at the extreme end of the scale, a living wall. Plants of all sizes look amazing when up lit or back lit at night.”

“We’ve got some gorgeous tropical wallpapers from Mind the Gap and Arte which have the same calming effects, while also making a bold statement.”Amazonia print wallpaper by Mind the Gap, available at Woodhouse & Law

Trend 9: new velvet

While velvet has always been seen as a luxury classic for autumn/ winter, it’s creeping into an enduring interior must-have as luxury, texture and comfort make their presence felt in place of the light-wood features that have been dominating furnishings and interiors. Velvet comes in a range of rich and pale colours so can be fitted within a rich and sumptuous or a light, pared-back style. As well as using them for chairs and curtains, you can also choose velvet kitchen stools and statement headboards.

John Law of Woodhouse and Law backs up the trend: “Velvet was big news at Maison & Objet in Paris this January, and was used in vast swathes in deep smoky blues, forest greens, russets and shades of pinot noir on pieces of statement furniture, in contemporary shapes and adorned with fringing. We saw scalloped chairs edged in gold and the 70s-glam vibe – it came across as a smile-inducing rebellion to Brexit and the more typical, until now, muted shades of grey.” Oak Chaise upholstered in teal velvet, available at Verve Living

Featured image: Maree sofa by Brabbu, available at Woodhouse & Law