The colours, materials and moods setting the style agenda in Spring 2017
There are nine key trends that I feel are worthy of mention for Spring 2017 — three colours, three materials, and three moods — each with the potential to run for the long term, and all combining to create an overall picture for the current interiors mood for the first quarter of this year. Here’s the summary: the why, how and what!
This is a colour that manages to be both feminine and masculine at the same time. It is a pale pink but with a touch of grey. Quiet, and yet bold. Soft but also strong. A delliberate colour (rather than a white-with-a-hint of shade), that will not overwhelm. It also works with everything, from woods to metallics, stone to concrete, which makes it superbly adaptable to many different spaces in your home. All good qualities for this particular moment in time.
Freshly dried and untouched plaster is of course the purest form of the colour, but if a smoother, more polished finish is your heart’s desire, then Farrow & Ball’s Peignoir is this delicious shade ready-mixed in a tin.
Blue is a perennially popular colour, often cited as people’s favourite, and of course teal, as my pick for colour of the year, prompted the very first Trendbulletin. But the blues I refer to here cover a wider range. This is more about the larger connotations of the colour than an individual shade, which is why I refer to it as ‘Denim Blues’. Consider the cloth in all its varied tones, washed-out to indigo, bleached to faded. Consider its iconic status, and yet it’s widespread availability. As such, when I think of ‘Denim Blues’ I also reference the easy care, relaxed but eternally chic, go anywhere, smart or casual, vibe of its namesake. And in fact, Dulux’s colour of the year for 2017 was called Denim Drift, described as a colour that “works as well in a kitchen as it does in a bedroom.” Which is exactly the point. This is another go anywhere, use anyhow shade. Because why have constraints at home.
This is a trend I’ve talked about before (see Trendbulletin 4) eulogising the very power of green to uplift and enliven. It’s not going away, and that’s good, for it has the power to transform like no other shade of the spectrum. And again, it is wonderfully flexible, as I speak here of all greens, from delicate celadons to deepest fir hues. And of course, the natural variety, whether humble pot plant or a garden, from balcony to patio, vast lawns to postage stamps counts too; it doesn’t matter, the important thing is simply to recognise the importance of regularly gazing upon green.
This trio of colours is all about flexibility and adaptability to any room or situation. Want to cool a space down, then the greens and blues will work wonders. Need to warm a space up? Then combine the pinks and greens, yes really. It sounds unusual but it’s our top tip colour combo. And of course, they’ll also all work perfectly together too. Take the denim hues as your neutral, balance with the plaster pink and adorn abundantly with greenery. Perfect.
One of the key flavours of Spring is a new kind of pretty. Delicate, gentle and specifically, rendered as if in watercolour. These are patterns to inspire close-up inspection and incredulation. It is testament to the power of digital printing that many look as if the artist had literally just lain down their brushes. It’s a version of 21st Century craft. All the look of the hand-done but brought to you instantly by the metre. Your only dilemma will be how to use them. Curtains might be a touch too much for most, but how about a tea towel? You know it makes sense.
This idea follows on from ‘Painterly Prints’. This is about items that resonate with the hand of the maker. Things that feel individual, instead of one of many off a production line. It’s about wobbly pots and irregular plates. Rough textures and wood that shows the marks of the lath or chisel. Things that look as if someone cared about their manufacture. But as above, today, many of these finishes can in fact be simulated by modern manufacturing methods; the one-off look pot may in fact be one of a batch. But the point is in how they feel, and the design language which defines them. The intent is there, and things that feel unique, if not authentic, are what we need to surround ourselves with right now.
This trend is the point at which ‘Painterly Prints’ and ‘Contemporary Craft’ coalesce. How? It is pattern for those that don’t generally ‘do’ pattern, and it is texture with the look and feel of the handmade. I’ve called it ‘Tattooed Textures’ because the designs are generally pierced into the material concerned. Imagine hefty concrete planters punctured by a delicate dotting that traces filigree lines all over it’s rough hewn surfaces. The point is the juxtaposition of a single surface finish with the enrichment of detail. It’s not required, but it simply makes it prettier And that’s not a word used often in design. But here it is welcome, necessary and important.
The overall aesthetic is one of adornment. And a celebration of that adornment for the sake of it. It has no function but to delight the eye. And this moment is a recognition that perhaps, that’s actually the most important function of all.
Brass is really proving to be the long stayer of the metallics family. But the way in which it’s used is changing. While it’s still an absolutely glorious material to use for individual pots, lights and any other accessory, the new mode d’emploi is to position it to maximise its qualities of warmth. It is unique in being able to add a golden glow, think of it as a bolt of artificial sunshine in darker corners, or a lightening touch in unexpected places (see below, its genius use to line a wide doorway). Imagine it as a detail on everything from the trim on a kitchen cabinet, to a band of brass round a coaster or through a chopping board. You do it because it adds instant happiness to a space, not because its needed.
Marble has obviously been around since eternity, but many consider it rather out of their league for use in the home, perhaps regarding it still as the exclusive province of ancient Italian villas and expensive spas. But no more. Readily available with many a supplier able to cut from a selected slab, manufacture and install, suddenly the wealth of interiors opportunity is open to all. It also comes in the most extraordinary breadth of colours, and the majority of the stones possess a level of detail that verges on the poetic. And it’s 100% natural to boot. What’s not to love! Plus, I love the fact that marble is having a bit of a mainstream moment with large high street brands from Marks & Spencer to Sainsbury’s offering marvellous small pieces at very competitive prices.
‘Mixed Metallics’ is the concluding trend, as it epitomises the joie de vivre that is at play at the moment in interiors. The revelry in texture, the enthusiasm for some shimmer and shine and the willingness to mix it all together in a glorious soup of sophistication. Who says copper and gold don’t go? Not us. And throw some extra-added texture onto that extractor hood too while you’re at it.
This #springtrendsreview2017 proves that just as the old saying ‘blue and green should never be seen’ is utter bunkum, so it is that many of the ‘rules’ we might have felt ought to apply to the decoration of our homes, are also being steadily overturned — use pink in a boy’s room; use green indoors, consider blue as your new neutral! Store your toothbrush in a marble pot and tile a bedroom. Mix all your metallics and have tea-towels that look like paintings! The point is a loosening of any perceived constraints and a free-flowing of self-expression. And crucially, this is hand in hand with an industry that’s working incredibly hard to keep pace with our evolving needs. Putting technology to excellent use, and helping us to believe that anything is possible. We really couldn’t be in a better place.
A version of this #EDtrendbulletin was presented live by Kate Watson-Smyth, author, award-winning blogger and interiors fanatic at the flagship Anthropologie store on London’s Regent Street at 6.45pm on Thursday 23 March 2017. #EDtrendbulletinlive