Style Uncovered

Are dark wall and kitchen colours in or out? Are blinds or curtains de rigeuer? Should floors be covered in tiles, wood or carpet? Gillian Upton presents the latest inspiration for our homes.

Sand storm

An end to grey? Phil Robinson of Paint The Town Green has noted a move back towards warm neutrals and sandy shades. “Grey won’t disappear altogether but home owners are being drawn to the warmer, friendlier tones of oatmeal and stonewashed linen once again,” he says. Try the company’s Fade to Grey – “It’s a spot-on grey beige that will pass the test of time,” he says – or Circle in the Sand (pictured).



A tight corner

Bifold doors can help make the most of small areas, reveal hidden spaces and completely re-shape a room. Fill the space with a feature tree for a wow effect. “Corner bifold doors work very well for corner lightwells,” says Daniel Harwood of Cedar Bifold, which specialises in these corner, wraparound doors. “And there’s no post as the doors incorporate a moveable mullion to give it structure.”


All clear

Walk-on glass is a big trend, looking down into basements or as part of loft floors. It adds an extra area of interest to the design as well as a practical use, offering an opportunity for parents to see what their kids are up to.


Window on the world

Filling in the gap under a window with a seat is as popular as ever. Plumped up with coordinating cushions and it becomes a feature. Clara Bee reckons that, “ it needs to be practical; have the right amount of space to sit or lounge, and be comfortable with enough light to read if that is the intention. A window seat could also be easily created in a bay window giving useful storage space underneath.


Keeping it simple

The stark Minale + Mann look – all exposed steel girders, minimalist in style, lots of poured concrete and generally monochrome – is gaining traction but with a softer feel. Viki Lander from Ensoul calls the trend Industrial Lux. In short, cushions and colour and softer materials to create a more homely feel. Keep it simple and definitely no clutter!

Stepping Up

Last year staircases took centre stage with interesting spindles and handrails; this year it’s the turn of the humble stair carpet. Stripes, geometrics or even animal prints are in. Billy Gladwin, Director of A Flooring Boutique says, “the funkier the better. I’ve done staircases with different colours on each step and another with pink velvet bindings. People are using the staircase as an entrance piece.


Pocket doors

If you don’t have room for a traditional door then fit a space-saving pocket single, double or glass door, which are completely hidden away in the cavity stud wall when not in use. Genius! “In particular, they are being used for doors leading from bedrooms through to bathrooms in loft conversions where there isn’t enough space to hang a traditional door,” says Helen Wood of the Simply Construction Group.


A lighter shade of pale

Hot summers mean a need for more shade and what better than an electrically-operated, retractable awning or pergola. It offers a break from the sun, extends the use of the garden room when it’s not too hot or when it’s raining, and doesn’t need planning permission. This Indian Ocean aluminium pergola comprises a series of electrically-operated blades which can be opened or closed depending on the weather.


Into the blue

Inchyra Blue, Stiffkey Blue and Hague Blue are the go-to blues from Farrow & Ball. Now they’ve added De Nimes. Joa Studholme, F & B’s Colour Curator, explains: “It’s perfect for those wary of moving into a world of colour because it still has a familiar underlying grey tone which is more visibly apparent in spaces with low light. In well-lit areas it appears much bluer.” Great on front doors, walls, woodwork, ceilings or kitchen units.


Sleeping beauty

Bedheads are becoming grander in terms of their size, surface texture and complexity of design. Leather, luxurious velvets, studwork and buttoning detail are some of the materials and techniques being used to cover a headboard that often rises six feet above the mattress and sweeps either side of the bed to incorporate bedside tables.


Consider the traffic flow throughout the space from all access points.

Zone the room with different areas for cooking, food preparation, storage, eating and entertaining.

To avoid the middle section of a terrace house becoming dark after the extension, add plenty of high level glazing to the extension for more intense daylight.

A good lighting plan is key, together with dimmable lights and a mixture of lighting effects e.g. wall lights.

Add interesting finishes and touches, such as attractive tiles for a splashback and wallpaper for the dining area.

Consider the use of the often-neglected back reception room which can be turned into media rooms, music rooms and playrooms.

Don’t have every surface in a kitchen hard and shiny; soften with a mixture of tiles, wood, upholstered seating and wallpaper.Try to link the kitchen with the rest of your house in some way, be that the colour palette, the flooring or the textures.

Source: Emma Green Design


A different type of art

Living walls in gardens are now invading the home and moss walls are the new thing; they don’t require an irrigation system as they take moisture from the air and survive for ten years as long as humidity levels are not above 70% and they are not in direct sunlight, which would cause fading. Frames include any RAL colour and choose between ballmoss, platmoss or reindeer moss.


Hide and Seek

A larder cupboard hides away unsightly items you don’t want visible in your kitchen. Find a cabinetmaker to fill an empty corner. “They can be free-standing, with deep drawers and made from anything, walnut veneer for example, or spray-finished MDF in any colour to match your kitchen,” says Mirek Herman of MTM Herman. Make sure they have 170-degree hinges for maximum access.


Waste not, want not

The trend of recycling and upcycling reclaimed materials continues apace and John Osborn Design creates gems this way, including lampshades from treads of bicycle tyres, sprayed in amazing colours. Now he’s collected cogs and sprockets to make bespoke table lamps; this one painted antique pewter.


As nature intended

Gardening experts predict a move towards less manicured gardens, so dig up your perfect rows of box hedging. Neal’s Nurseries’ Rachael Patey explains: “It’s part of a trend called prairie planting or the New Perennial Movement which includes grasses and herbaceous planting that looks natural but still needs to be well thought out. Part of the trend is not cutting back in winter but leaving the seed heads on for example.”


Scratch the surface

Why stick with plain walls or wardrobe doors when you can add interest with panelling or a surface design? Dark-painted wall panelling adds drama to any room, while the tree design (complete with the owners’ dog) outlined in brass studs on the wool-upholstered wardrobes (pictured) creates a feature in a bedroom.

Cool as a cucumber

Climate change is forcing a new addition to our homes: air conditioning, particularly in loft rooms which struggle to let in sufficient fresh air. “It’s not cheap,” warns Viki Lander of Ensoul, “but for comfort it’s worth it.”



Bold colours including indigo blue are increasingly popular, and black is definitely back! Enhance with natural finishes like wood, to fit the industrial look, which has been popular for a while and is going nowhere!

Combine black with sleek ceramic finishes or contrast with pale pink for even more dramatic effect.

Another statement trend is mixing two opposite materials, such as timber and metal with materials like concrete. There’s an array of colour choices this year, which range from dark greens and vibrant blues to powdered pastels and terracotta reds.

Wood is making a big comeback, especially dark woods such as walnut or dark oak veneers.

Gold, brass or even cooler materials of silver and steel work beautifully with rich veneers.

Source: Kitchen Connections


On the tiles

Victorian tiles are making a comeback, says Clara Bee. Big, bold patterns and contrasting colours give real impact on the floor. “We love encaustic tiles following and updating the original Victorian style. They complement the stone kitchen tiles and the wooden panelling,” she says, the latter of which is also enjoying a renaissance

A wall on the wild side

Wild animals, jungle plants and all things exotic are this year’s favourite wallpaper patterns. Use them sparingly though. Fashionistas should make a B line for Zoffany’s Verdure range and Cole & Son’s Botanica. The latter has really gone wild with its African-inspired Ardmore Collection (pictured left: Leopard Walk and Zulu).



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