As 2020 continues to feel unsettled, it makes sense that many of us are hunkering down at home, surrounding ourselves with comfort, taking joy in the smaller things and conserving our energy. And it’s having an impact in home design.
It’s a trend that Holly Harper, notonthehighstreet.com‘s head of inspiration and new business, is coining ‘the happynest’.
“It combines the growing consumer desire for natural materials, warming tones and timeless design,” says Harper. “The rise in the conscious consumer movement is heavily influencing this shift, with customers keen to understand the provenance of their purchases, as well as finding solace in ‘buying better’ and redecorating with longevity in mind.”
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This trend is all about embracing nature and bringing the outdoors in, notes Claire Hornby, head of creative at Barker And Stonehouse. “Whether you’re looking to add a rustic finish to your home with natural wood and rattan, or simply want to achieve a sleek modern look with the use of concrete and metal materials, the use of furnishings and tactile accessories are a great way to do this,” she says.
“Not only can natural materials be beneficial to your overall wellbeing, due to the connections they have with nature, they also add a layer of texture, thanks to the natural variations and pigmentations featured in each individual piece.”
Harper gives a nod to the dominating rattan trend of 2019, which is still popular now, but says that it’s evolving, with canework being used in furniture and lighting, and mixed material rattan pieces for storage and vases now emerging. “We’ve also seen fresh work emerging with the use of recycled plastics and jesmonite in particular,” she adds.
Made.com design director Ruth Wassermann says they’ve definitely noticed that people are connecting more with natural materials and textures, to bring a sense of calm to their home, and perhaps to counteract their busy urban lives. “We have seen a resurgent popularity of woven cane, bamboo and seagrass recently,” she says, “and we envisage the finish of these becoming more casual and less polished as the summer months roll in.”
Stark white and monochrome magic might look uber-cool, but in times of comfort, we naturally want to snuggle amidst warmer colours.
“Much in the same way as natural materials are growing in prevalence, warm, earthy colour palettes are too,” states Wassermann. “A connection to more organic colours and textures, along with neutrals, can be really grounding.” Coloured textiles, terracotta, linen and natural timbers are all set to be big this spring, she notes.
Calming shades of off-white and mauve replace the grey undertones of the last decade, adds Harper, and they’re complemented by clay shades, with turmeric yellow and pale pops of cornflour blue as accents.
“If you’re looking to create an inviting and cosy space that is also balanced, why not opt for cooler tones on your ceilings and walls?” Hornby suggests. “This will allow the natural light to flow through the room, and for the space itself to appear bigger. Warmer tones can then be introduced through your accessories, furniture, lighting and finishes. Rich hues that are combined with pattern and texture – such as vintage rugs or brass accents – can instantly help make a room feel welcoming and have a dramatic impact, instantly creating a focal point.”
Investment pieces, like textile art and quilts, are expected to become the key must-have items, predicts Harper, as completely redecorating our homes becomes a less-regular habit. “Timeless design supported by individual expression is the new consumer norm,” she says.
Hornby adds: “Some of my favourite pieces within our stores are the ones that have a story behind them, and often these are collections that have been handcrafted using traditional artisan techniques.
“The natural beauty of many of these items is something of wonder, from the intricate detailing of each and every joint, to the one-of-a-kind finishing of these expertly-crafted pieces. These traditional techniques often create timeless furniture that can stand the test of time and, in some ways, transition through trends as time goes on.”
Wassermann agrees that as the world becomes more accessible, we’re seeing more global influences coming through in interiors trends. “Perhaps unsurprisingly,” she says, “the most prevalent artisan technique that we’re seeing this year is woven cane and basketry, followed closely by hand-painted ceramics from Portugal, and inlaid resin furniture.”
For all of us however, especially at difficult times, there’s nothing better than being surrounded by simple home comforts. Notonthehighstreet have noted searches for indoor pot plants are up by 31% year-on-year, and while fewer people are stocking up on gin glasses, the number of us searching for new comforting wine glasses is up by 111%. Wire wall art and word art is also a new search trend for the online retailer, as many of us look to surround ourselves by positive and mindful reminders.
“Plants really have the ability to transform a space and instantly make it feel more welcoming,” says Wassermann.
And of course, incorporating home comforts doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your design, notes Hornby. “From chunky knitted throws, to picture walls that tell a story of their own, and furnishings that are for everyone, these are all ways of making your home just as individual as you are.
“Your home should be an extension of your personality,” she adds. “For some, the use of living green through house plants or small indoor trees are a great way to add another layer of comfort to your space, as this will not only harmonise your living area, but also inject a sense of colour into the room.”