Make sure your home has a sleek, finished look by pulling together all the right details. From lighting to lust after to wallpaper to swoon over, choose the right accessories and you can instantly, and easily, update your décor. Here’s how to get it just right.
What’s in, what’s out, what’s over, what’s on the radar… keeping abreast of new home trends can often be a confusing affair. Whether you match or whether you clash, the key to pulling a look together is often in the small details. Select items for your home that you love and you’ll cherish them forever. Remember less is often more when it comes to accessories and, where possible, seek out expert advice. Whether you are looking for new curtains or refreshing your soft furnishings, professionals are a great source of new ideas and they can advise on what will work in your given space. Here, we seek out some leading experts to help you on your road to home glory.
WINDOWS ON YOUR WORLD
Dressing windows is often the more costly area of decorating a room. Most of us invest once and stick with that choice for many years. Because of this, it is important to choose something adaptable which will work with a variety of schemes and which will easily adapt if you later update the room’s decor.
Cambridge Sunblinds (01223 460192, www.cambridgesunblinds.co.uk) is a one-stop shop for all types of window treatments, including blinds, curtains and shutters. Fiona Garwood, director, gives her insight: “Cambridge Sunblinds is a family-run company with over 33 years experience. We offer a wide selection of blinds, curtains, roman folds, shutters and awnings – both manual and motorised. We can supply and install blinds with advanced specifications that can reduce the heating bills in your home by up to 15%, helping to save you money, and help save energy!
She continues: “Blinds not only have functional benefits, they can also enhance a room’s overall scheme and make it look polished and ‘finished’. There are a huge variety of styles to choose from. Roman blinds, for instance, in rich fabrics can give a luxe, sumptuous feel to a room, while shutters are more of a modern, streamlined approach. Get your window dressings right and it can pull a whole room together.”
For a unique investment, QMotion UK’s range of automated blinds are an innovative step in advancing the home (0845 450 1606, www.qmotionshades.co.uk).
Ian Claxton, director at QMotion UK, comments: “The blinds operate from one central point by finger touch via a smartphone, tablet app or remote control. The wire-free concept means that there are no cords, power or control wires required at all and the user can install a fully motorised and intelligently controlled shading system without the need for chasing out walls or using an electrician. There’s a collection of over 400 fabrics and colours available, or, for a personal touch, you can supply your own imagery for QMotion UK to manufacture the blind with.”
For those who like a no-fuss, contemporary look, shutters are a popular choice.
Shuttercraft Cambridge (01223 581339; www.shuttercraft-cambridge.co.uk) supplies a range of window shutters in hundreds of colours and style options.
“Plantation shutters not only look stylish, but they also offer many benefits over more traditional window coverings, especially when dealing with hard to cover windows such as those found in conservatories, or instance,” says Ryan Jarvis, owner of Shuttercraft. “We offer a made-to-measure service and therefore can fit just about any size, shape or complexity. We offer specialist advice on shutters and a free consultation service.”
For a sumptuous look, meanwhile, you can’t beat swathes of curtains made out of a luxurious fabric. Luxury textile brand Kvadrat’s latest curtain collection, entitled Sparkling, Drizzle and Drill, has been designed by Danish design duo Aggebo & Henriksen and is made up of subtle, shimmering patterns (020 7324 5555, www.kvaddrat.dk). Giving the wow-factor to any room, the pattern starts as a unicolour at the bottom of the curtain. As it moves upwards, it melts into a lively play of organic shapes, which steadily taper away into the white base fabric.
Meanwhile, the new Faces collection from luxury Swedish brand Kinnasand (020 7324 5555, www.kinnasand.com) is made up of 27 unique curtains designed to reflect the expressions of real faces.
Kinnasand’s creative director Isa Glink, who designed the range, comments: “Seen from the outside, curtains define how people perceive windows, which are the ‘faces’ of architecture. By giving them distinguishing characteristics, the textiles create personality and stimulate curiosity about the interior. Inside a building, curtains play a key role in establishing the feel of different spaces. They introduce vibrancy and charisma, ensuring that rooms are as individual as the people who use them.”
Taking their inspiration from the fashion world, carpets and rugs are moving away from plain, block colours in neutrals to new vibrant patterns, which reflect the geometric and graphic prints seen on the catwalk.
Natalie Littlehales, consumer marketing manager at the British heritage carpet brand Brintons (0800 505 055, www.brintons.co.uk) agrees that this is a growing trend: “Grids and graphics from the ordered world of geometrics are the inspiration behind the new checks and prints in Brinton’s collections for SS15. The Padstow range, for example, is a fresh, modern and flexible carpet available in a wide range of colours. The palette is inspired by the seaside with soft ice-cream shades of blue, pink and spearmint, balanced by subtle greys.”
While patterned carpets, however subtle, are not for everyone, an easier way to introduce the trend is simply by investing in a statement rug. From the Gypsy Cowhide rugs at Mineheart (0845 467 4580, www.mineheart.com) to the bold Starlight rugs at Luku Home (020 8943 3683, www.lukuhome.com), the choice is endless.
Advising on how to choose the right rug for you is Adam Robertson, managing director of Urbane Living (020 7138 3838, www.urbaneliving.co.uk): “When choosing a rug it is important to think about the choice of material and its suitability for the space in which it will be used. Durability is key in high traffic areas, such as hallways and landings, whereas sumptuous deep piles will add a sense of luxury in rooms, such as a bedroom. Area rugs are a great way to finish a room as they help to bring colours and style together while adding comfort and warmth. Consider the impact you want from your rug then choose colours that either blend seamlessly to unify a room or create a statement to define your space. Often lighter colours will make a room look larger whilst darker colours can be used to create a cosy intimate feel. Choosing the correct size rug is vital for creating a well-balanced room. In a dining room for example, I advise customers to push chairs back from the dining table and add another six inches to this measurement to ensure your rug will be large enough to accommodate seated guests. Often the size of a rug however comes down to personal opinion. If you want to unify a room, a large rug will do this effectively, however, a number of smaller rugs can break up a room into different zones with great success also.”
Those wanting to keep ahead of the curve should keep an eye out for the new rugs soon to be launched by luxury rug brand Danskina (www.danskina.com).
The new collection, Fringe, Dew and Argali, has been designed by the brand’s design director Hella Jongerius and upcoming designer Daniel Costa and are said to celebrate the beauty in simplicity as well as material innovation and skilled craftsmanship.
TAKE A SEAT
A simple and affordable way to instantly lift a room is by adding in specially selected cushions, throws and accessories, such as vases and candles. The key here is knowing to choose the correct styles and shapes to achieve a cohesive look.
Sally Chamley, owner and founder of Black Orchid Interiors (0844 854 2794, www.blackorchidinteriors.co.uk) gives her expertise: “When working with contemporary furniture such as rectangular sofa designs keep all accessories rectangular. Such as rectangular cushions, rectangular mirrors and vases. Keep the orientation the same, such as landscape, as this creates an ordered look that helps when creating symmetry.
“Use textures cleverly,’ she continues, “for example if you are working with spots, particularly in fabrics, choose a raised spot and reflect this texture in ceramics such as ones that also feature a raised spot in the pottery. Textures on hard and soft materials can combine to great effect and really pull a scheme together.”
Offering a range of complementary colours and textures, unified by a strong diagonal graphic in the weave of the fabric, is the new Raf Simmons and Kvadrat collection of cushions and throws (020 7324 5555, www.kvadrat.com). Harlequin’s (0845 123 6815, www.harlequin.uk.com) vibrant new Amazilia range of cushions is equally as luxurious with its mix of tropical paradise motifs, such as hummingbirds, butterflies and feathers, counterbalanced with watercolour designs and soft, ombre velvet cushions.
For an inspiring mix of home accessories, including cushions and more, head to Home Sense, at the Beehive Centre, Cambridge (01223 462457, www.homesense.com). From country chic to urban cool, HomeSense buyers scour the globe finding unique one-off pieces of everything from the eclectic to the essentials. The store has a continually changing range of stock due to its daily deliveries of new homeware.
Also offering an eclectic mix of items to suit all tastes is online boutique Adventino (01529 307812, www.adventino.co.uk), which offers a range of cushions inspired by the animal world and British countryside.
Meanwhile at interior design store Absolute Abode (020 8090 3210, www.absoluteabode.com) you’ll find a curated collection of homewares. Kirsty McMorron, founder, adds her viewpoint: “Tactile textures such as throws and cushions are a key trend for spring-summer 2015. We love Margo Selby and Jessica Zoob’s beautiful cushions, which will instantly add a splash of colour and reinvigorate a living room ready for summer. Include freshly cut roses as a finishing touch to create a welcoming scent, or a collection of neutral soft furnishings that will create a relaxed atmosphere.”
Update rooms with the latest wallpaper designs, which range from bold swirling prints, such as those at Farrow and Ball (01223 367771, www.farrow-ball.com) to organic papers inspired by nature at Urbane Living (020 7138 3838, www.urbaneliving.co.uk).
Boasting innovative textures and ground-breaking finishes, the new Anthology collection of wallpapers from Harlequin (0845 123 6815, www.harlequin.uk.com) will please lovers of sophisticated schemes. With its palette of metallic tones, the collection has a faded glamour appeal with tarnished copper, platinum, pearl and sapphire at its core.
“Geometric shapes are gaining popularity in wallpaper designs,” says Sally Chamley, owner of Black Orchid Interiors (0844 854 2794, www.blackorchidinteriors.co.uk). “Large format hexagonal designs in black and white and neutrals are very dominant and should be used on accent walls only. Working with such a bold shape demands accessories to be complimentary but not competitive with the overall look. You could introduce the shape in the form of a hexagonal fruit bowl in pure white for example, this would complement the wallpaper but not shout. Mixing shapes needs to be well considered in order to get the correct balance.”
While wallpapers can be effective, you can also create feature walls by using collections of mirrors, frames and themed artwork. Philippa Prinsloo, design manager, Home at John Lewis (01223 361 292, www.johnlewis.com), advises: “A cluster of black and white photography looks visually appealing and strong regardless of your colour scheme, especially when framed in the same range of frames. If you want maximum impact, choose an oversized piece in a smaller space. The contrast will create an installation-like feel, particularly if it features a contemporary or abstract artist/piece. Hallways and bathrooms are popular locations to display art. Showing works that are of the same genre look great in smaller spaces or on one wall. On stairways, graduate the height of the images as you travel up the stairs. If you don’t want to rely on prints or artwork to create interest, use mirrors which look great in smaller spaces, making rooms look bigger and brighter.”
For a truly unique feel, look in vintage stores, such as Cambridge-based Oxbow and Peach (www.oxbowandpeach.co.uk). Owner Georgie Mitchell says:
“Combining vintage with contemporary pieces can create an individual style that looks as though it has evolved over many years. Blending modern trends with items that have personal importance is what makes a home unique. Don’t be afraid to be eccentric, put imagination into your styling.”
LIGHT UP THE ROOM
Every interior designer will tell you how important lighting is in a room. It’s also a fabulous way of injecting glamour and personality into an otherwise pared-back scheme. Luku Home (020 8943 3683, www.lukuhome.com) is a one-stop shop for many styles of lighting, from retro-inspired glass table lamps to unusual pendants.
David Hunt Lighting (01295 672 200, www.davidhunt-lighting.com) is also a good source of unusual finds, such as its ammonite table lamps; while at Fritz Fryer (01989 567416, www.fritzfryer.co.uk) you can find a selection of on-trend industrial-style lighting, such as the glass dome lamps and metal pendants.
“Statement lighting is making a big return with large open shades being key in providing a focal point to the room,” says Jenny Hurren owner of home store Out There Interiors (020 8099 7443, www.outthereinteriors.com). “Our favourites at Out There Interiors include Peng, a shiny metallic Nordic style pendant and Maginti, an open lab style pendant.”
Lovers of contemporary lighting can source the latest designs at King’s Road emporium Christopher Wray (020 7013 0180, www.christopherwray.com). Chris Jordan, managing director, comments: “The perfect lighting scheme can make all the difference when creating a welcoming atmosphere as you enter your home. Choose a wall-mounted uplighter to cast a soft diffused light against the wall and ceiling. These are most effective when used in conjunction with a dimmer switch. Add a floor lamp to brighten up dark corners and create a warm glow within your hallway. Consider investing in a light with a statement shade or detailing so it doubles up as a piece of decorative art as well as being functional.”
Finally, Renaissance London (020 7251 8844, www.renaissancelondon.com) renowned for its collection of unusual vintage lighting, reveals its take on the theme: “Original 1970’s lighting gives an original edge to an interior, it’s a real design statement,” says Owen Pacey founder of Renaissance London. “If you select good quality pieces from that period the look is very smart. I’m seeing a real trend for pieces from this time, especially 70s chandeliers, such as sputniks. Pick out individual pieces to create an eclectic look without being ‘Del Boy’ inspired and choose design-led elements from the period rather than the gaudy brown and orange tones that were so popular back then and it becomes easy to incorporate into the home. Make sure you avoid imitations and stick to one of two smart original designs from the period.”