How to get the hottest interior design look for the coming season
Jane McIntyre gives the low down on this year's hottest interior design trends.
September is always a busy month for an interior designer as the Trade Shows loom and all the magazines post their predictions for the coming season. As a shop owner as well I need to absorb all these ideas and turn them into merchandise I think my customers and clients will enjoy.
Paris is no longer on my list of shows, though it is by far the best, because the exchange rate isn’t what it used to be and I don’t want to be tempted by new suppliers if I can’t justify the prices I will have to charge. So it was just the UK shows this time and the first, vast Autumn Fair at the NEC was a huge disappointment, primarily because many of the European suppliers who have always shown before didn’t turn up, obviously due to our inability to buy as enthusiastically as before. What was left to view was very sub-standard indeed - use whichever four letter word you like to describe it, the ‘c’ or the ’s’ one, they both mean the scrapings from the bottom - oops - of the barrel. It never ceases to amaze me how us Brits will accept such rubbish without complaint, the level of choice of this four letter stuff is enormous, pile upon pile of cheaply churned out products. Obviously there were some good exhibitors, but nothing to make you stop in your tracks and certainly nothing to get excited about. Sadly this fair has become so expensive to exhibit at that one no longer sees the small designers just starting out. Other than some of my basic buys - Nkuku, Coach House, Light & Living - these lampshades, below, were my only real excitement as the patterns are rather wonderful and the interiors are gold or copper with matching ceiling roses, a simple installation and deeply satisfying. Can’t wait to get them in!
Not so at Olympia’s Top Drawer, altogether smaller and more intimate and it was interesting to see the previous year’s newcomers who had managed to stay the course and even perhaps move to a bigger stand. It’s always lovely to see the emerging talent, but my star of this year was the same as last, the gorgeous Sthal Ceramics - if you follow me on Instagram you’ll see that I feature them heavily. Huge in Sweden where it hails from but little known here, primarily because if it’s not a recognisable “label” customers are too shy to venture forth when it’s quite an expensive undertaking. It’s almost like “Well, we’ve not seen it in Elle Deco, so it can’t be any good”, but in reply to that sentiment I say “Be brave, be adventurous, be the first, be the style leader”. This company is going places, they will shortly be seen in all the mags as the two lady owners are sharp cookies and have embarked on some pretty spectacular photographs, all of their own taking, which of course the glossies will snap up. Anyway, I love them, can’t get enough, as will be seen when my next consignment arrives in the shop! (Actually, if the truth be known, the real star of the show was the Victoria Sponge Muffin I had with my coffee, quite amazing! I’ve never had one before but will certainly be calling on one again…..)
Of course Decorex, the creme de la creme of trade shows, was the usual assault on the senses. More for the designers than the retailers, it features many of the top end brands and is civilised enough to have a champagne bar at its centre, so plenty of excuses to rest the weary legs and catch up on some notes. Even the entrance is a work of art - this year’s was a revolving rotunda celebrating dining in all its forms and my highlight there was the exhibit from Matthew Williamson.
I always loved his clothes for their vibrancy and tongue-in-cheekiness, with their provocative layers of patterns and frills and I’m heartened to say that his interior fabrics are no less colourful. But somewhere along the line Matthew Williamson has lost some of his bad boy image and conformed just a little too much for my liking, still lovely but no longer eccentric and I was a weeny bit disappointed with the quality of the fabrics up close. I always think the feel of a fabric is in every way as important as the look.
My favourite stand at Decorex was the wild and wacky Santorus, a relative newcomer to the world of interiors but one I am very pleased I put faith in because their cushions are just flying out of my shop! Opulent and decadent, they offer a serious wow factor and cancel out all thoughts of the dreadful - dare I say it - beige.
Up for a close second was Boeme, the founder Jo never ceases to amaze me with her ability to schmooze you into a feeling of deep security with her designs then throw you right off kilter with a completely different look. Always using so much colour, wether it be bold or subtle, her fabrics can find a place in most schemes as they are bound to match up with the wall paints, whichever you use. This year’s hit for me was Tempest Riviera, a blast of teals, aquas, indigo, rusts and ochres on a glorious heavy velvet. Honestly, I’ve been selling her fabrics now for five years and she still knocks me sideways with her designs.
The surprise of all the shows was the rise from the ashes of cane furniture, with colonial touches but somehow more gentle on the eye than in the eighties. And thankfully the rather awful trend for gold accessories and side tables has softened into the deeper and richer tones of copper, much less brash to my mind and suitable for dark and light schemes alike. But the single, most overwhelming factor was that colour is coming back with a vengeance along with big, bold, patterned wallpaper too. Jungle themes, madly chaotic florals, huge images printed on sheer fabrics, densely patterned velvets, stunning linens with oriental patterns in intense hues. Oh my goodness, I think I can finally say “MOVE OVER BEIGE”, although I am slightly perturbed that the new Pantone Colour of the Year is a little bit borderline beigey, (horrified gasp.)
But more about putting those fabrics and colours into our everyday life in my next blog……
To find out more about Jane and her wonderful shop of eccentricities, head over to her website or follow her on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Why not pop in and pay Jane a visit at her Southgate Street shop or find out more by visiting her website. You can also keep up to date with her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.