Decorate like a designer

While clothes make a statement about our taste and fashionistas keenly follow the catwalk trends, dedicated decoristas know that homes too are subject to fashion, and getting the right look is just as key. But there’s now a bewildering variety of looks to choose from and when budgets are tight, the last thing you want is to make expensive mistakes.

While clothes make a statement about our taste and fashionistas keenly follow the catwalk trends, dedicated decoristas know that homes too are subject to fashion, and getting the right look is just as key. But there’s now a bewildering variety of looks to choose from and when budgets are tight, the last thing you want is to make expensive mistakes.

Leading interior designers have come to the rescue to pinpoint the top trends which will influence interiors in 2011, and reveal their insider tips on successfully interpreting them. So be inspired by the designer divas and follow their suggestions for creating super stylish, successful rooms.

Rooms that thrill

Designer Tara Bernerd predicts 2011 will be an exciting year in interiors because there’s a realisation that our homes should suit us and the way we want to live. “Slavishly following trends in anything, whether fashion or homes, will always prove unsatisfactory,” she says. “One positive outcome of the recession and the resulting financial restraint, is that it’s encouraging people to be far more discerning and confident in their taste. Consequently they’re investing in exquisite craftsmanship and design that endures.

“We’re noticing clients showing a willingness to commit to their personal style and explore beyond the dull boundaries of perceived ‘good taste’.”

Bernerd’s tips

The look for 2011 is much moodier, more masculine and architectural, says Bernerd, founder of Target Living. “We’re looking for homes that cosset us and that means creating atmosphere. That will be achieved by using a diverse palette of colours, materials and patterns.”

She predicts a palette of more muted retro tones and colour blocking with sage green, chocolate brown, Prussian blue, sienna and greys. There’ll also be a focus on wood in smoky shades, volcanic-coloured stones, textured leathers, lacquers and metallics, particularly bronze, he says. Our enthusiasm for design eras of the past, such as the Fifties, shows no sign of waning, Bernerd adds, and investment in art will continue to increase.

Cosy & chic

Designer Kelly Hoppen says: “People are still feeling bruised by the economic recession and nervous of the future, so our desire will be for nurturing spaces. Nowadays our homes aren’t there to say how much we have, but how happy and comfortable we are in the most chic way possible,” she says.

Hoppen identifies a continuing trend for what she describes as a ‘linear shabby chic’ look with homes combining a relaxed lived-in style with a definite chic edginess. “This isn’t a squashy, rustic country look, it’s still very city, but with a softer edge and defining lines which are pure and clever.”

Hoppen’s tips

Textured wallpapers will dress walls seductively, sofas will be rounder and deeper in style and carpets in thick pile and pattern will add another layer of comfort. Neutrals, Hoppen insists, will remain the most successful base palette but increasingly they’ll be enhanced and enlivened by colour in accessories and art.

“I think we’ll continue to see the modern marriage of vintage pieces displayed with streamlined contemporary ones that bring character and interest to spaces,” she says. “The fashion for hard surfaces such as chrome is waning and instead, lacquered pieces will predominate and bring lustre, sheen and essential luxury into rooms.” Lighting is also key to successful schemes, she says. Hidden and concealed lighting helps build ambience and great effects can be conjured with massive vintage or modern lighting hanging above tables.

Home & away

Designer Katharine Pooley believes global influences are increasingly playing a role in homes. “The world is becoming smaller as we’re able to travel farther afield and people are becoming more aware of the variation of the beauty and design of other cultures.”

“Homes are being enhanced by a classical gilt chair juxtaposed with a modest wooden Buddha, or an African painting which may echo the colours of a hand woven tapestry from India. Such artefacts add vibrancy and personality to rooms.” The revival of pastel shades such as baby blues, sea blues, pinks and mauves will continue into 2011, she forecasts, and dense brown shades will lose their appeal.

Pooley insists: “It’s important not to overlook the ‘wow’ factor. We recently created a lighting installation using an oversize glass rectangle with stalactites of glass hanging within it.”

Pooley’s tips

Texture and quality are watchwords for next year as people realise the enormous amount of creative potential in homes, the designer says. “People are becoming much more confident about commissioning bespoke pieces which will become modern day heirlooms, or are seeking individual pieces which display craftsmanship.”

There’s a focus on fine detail in finishes, whether in decorative ceilings, wall panels or cabinetry, she points out. Specialist wall finishes can feature silver enamelling and furniture can be finished in leather, shagreen (made from shark or ray skin) or parchment.

Walls go wild

Designer Helen Green predicts a craving for personality and originality in our homes will this year banish the once fashionable, bland ‘hotel’ look. “Staying in is the new going out and there’s a growing desire for luxury, comfort and individuality in homes. As a result, art is enjoying huge popularity but that’s going beyond the predictable display of paintings or sculpture,” she says.

“We’ll see an ever more creative use of art installations on walls. Recently, we covered a huge double height wall space above a fireplace in a bespoke artwork of milky white porcelain and rose petals, which had a lustrous 3D effect. The only limit nowadays is the imagination.” Walls, she says, will go wild as the choice of coverings further expands beyond traditional wallpaper - and fabrics such as silk, suede or eco-friendly materials including bamboo become mainstream.

Green’s tips

Dark woods, such as American walnut, are now giving way to the lighter North European influence in interiors, says Helen, and paler woods with a limed finish will predominate: “Accents of colour - lime green, burnt orange, cinnamon, russets and deep rose pinks - pair well with a base palette of cool, pale greys and ivories,” she advises. “You can introduce colour in accessories or furniture such as a versatile L-shaped sofa or chaise upholstered in jewel-coloured velvet.”

Luxury & glamour

Designer Joanna Wood forecasts glamour, comfort and opulence on the horizon for homes. “Minimalism will be declared utterly dead in 2011,” she says. “Everyone is completely fed up with the clinical, austere settings dominated by taupes and beige, and we’re entering a much more fun phase.”

“Because we’re spending more time in our homes, we’re investing more time and money as we need them to be places that are pleasurable, cocooning refuges for living and entertaining. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to embrace maximilism. There’s no place for over the top embellishment, rather it’s about creating subtle but luxurious settings which are admired for their good looks rather than ostentation and conspicuous displays of wealth.”

Wood’s tips

Glitter and gloss will rule, she says, as lacquered surfaces and metals continue to star in rooms. “Brass and gold is being pushed aside in favour of nickel and bronze or nickel and silver,” she says. “Those finishes may command attention in a statement piece or panel, or be seen as trims on furniture or perhaps in detailed touch such as door handles.” And colour’s revival is unstoppable, she predicts, with shades of red, orange, pistachio green and mulberry pink ready to enliven a neutral backdrop.