x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Home decor: make sure your new look is right up to date

Planning a home makeover for 2013? Follow these tips.

Introduce colour and character with super on-trend chevrons. Courtesy Sian Elin
Introduce colour and character with super on-trend chevrons. Courtesy Sian Elin

Pick up some ceramics

If you buy one new thing for yourself in 2013, make sure it’s made of ceramic. Whether you choose a simple handmade decorative jug or a whole new dining set, raw ceramics draw on the artisan styling that speaks of our renewed love affair with individually crafted items. This is about quality investment pieces that are made to last, so don’t be stingy – buy with your heart as well as your head.

Consider indigo

For a more grown-up look, indigo is going to be the year’s hero colour, and looks good against either the so-called “new neutrals” (such as chalk, stone, ash and slate) or colourful, fruity brights (think raspberry, tangerine and lime). Combine with plenty of texture to maintain interest, or choose high-gloss finishes such as PVC and glass to maximise light reflection and give depth to what can otherwise be a rather flat shade.

Warm up your metals

Metallics have been pretty cool recently, ranging from aged silver to mercury and lead. Now things are warming up and golden tones are taking centre stage, with burnished bronze, antiqued brass and high-luxe gold all gaining popularity. For a subtle touch, a few key accessories can give you a nod towards this trend – try a statement lamp, sculptural vase or focal-point mirror – but don’t feel you have to hold back. Lavishing layer upon layer of gold is perfect for a luxurious home with plenty of space and light, and if you’re going down this route then textured gold wallpaper is a must.

Take a trip to Africa

Forget safari style, the new tribal look is more authentic than touristy. There’s no sign of animal prints but instead patterns such as ikat and mosaic take centre stage, with more than a hint of Moroccan influence. Rich, spice-inspired colours are important here, and are easily introduced into the home with swathes of light, airy fabrics and plenty of cushions. The artisan influence of the last couple of years will stand you in good stead, as functional homeware in honest materials such as clay, stone and natural wood keep this trend rooted in earthy authenticity. Keep things interesting by adding touches of Aboriginal and South American style to the mix.

Indulge in whimsy

On the other end of the scale, there’s a younger, more quirky look that’s been making its way slowly from alternative to more mainstream. This whimsical look combines craft motifs (buttons, cross-stitch design and knitwear, for example), literary references (such as book-cover art prints and accessories made from upcycled pages) and touches of eccentric English heritage (everything from teapots and telephone boxes to bulldogs and bicycles). This isn’t an easy look to pull off in its entirety – unless you’re a student or actually eccentric – so instead pick a couple of accessories that make you smile. Remember, this is less about following a trend than it is about enjoying your own personal style.

Buy handmade

The explosion of small designers/makers gaining access to large audiences through the internet has given shoppers a huge choice when it comes to finding one-off, handmade treasures. High-street stores are cashing in on the trend by commissioning limited capsule collections, making them even easier to get hold of. Print makers are in particular demand and will continue to do well in 2013, but don’t just stick to accessories – there’s a whole world of furniture designers out there waiting to be discovered, too.

Keep it monochrome

Black and white are back, making the leap from the catwalk to the home with ease. Working best with bold graphics, the oversized stripe is a particular winner and can be seen in the flurry of eye-catching wallpapers on offer for the new season. Combine with mid-century modern laminated wood furniture and other vintage touches to keep things interesting.

Add some colour

After several years of pared-back neutrals and naturals, a trend led by the Scandinavians, we’re seeing colour coming back in a big way for 2013. Pastels and fluorescents cater for the soft and strong ends of the spectrum and can be made to work in almost any interior. Combined colours work well in prints such as florals or super on-trend chevrons, while colour-blocking is a simple way to reign in the energy of multiple shades.

Go high tech

Of course, it’s impossible to forget that we live in the 21st century, which means that technology is increasingly playing an important role in home design, particularly the more functional aspects. For example, remote control via the internet means you can now programme your security system, turn off lights and reset the thermostat from your tablet or smart phone. You’ll find the highest concentration of nifty tech gadgets in the kitchen (such as the fridge that does your shopping for you) and the bathroom (an LCD television embedded in a bathroom mirror that’s invisible until you switch it on). If you want to be ahead of the crowd, technology is definitely the place to invest.

Don’t be afraid to clash

There has been a freedom coming into home interiors of late – a doing away with rules, an embracing of personal taste and style and the power of the individual – which has in turn given rise to the idea that it’s OK to clash. In fact, designers are encouraging mixed prints and unusual colour-palette combos. The trick is to use mood boards to play around with different options, following your instincts and allowing your imagination to roam before deciding on a final design. Using online tools such as Pinterest can be a real help when you’re in the exploratory stages.