INTERIORS:We’re not over nostalgia just yet. It’s still a big influence in home accessories with chain stores giving off a vintage feel, says ALANNA GALLAGHER
FED UP LOOKING at the same boring home decor? The chain stores are full of new season looks that will brighten up your space at affordable prices.
The home section at Debenhams is a good place to start. This season it leads the charge with a stable of designers that includes its first dedicated homewares designer, Ashley Thomas. At Home with Ashley Thomas, features quirky, vintage-inspired pieces that have endeared her to buyers of all ages.
The designer was smart enough to travel to Paris with her own range of accessories to participate in the trade show Maison et Objet. There at the age of 25 she met the Debenhams buying team who loved her illustrations and signed her up to Edition, where they test new designers on their purchasing public.
Thomas collects vintage china and loves the ritual of afternoon tea. These loves are evident in her designs, which she describes as “a little bit nostalgic, quite playful and girly but graphic”.
Not she’s joined the Designers at Debenhams’ stable where her name appears alongside John Rocha, Jasper Conran and Betty Jackson, among others.
To date she has none of the affectations older, more established, names sometimes bring to the table. Her new kitchen collection is pretty and retro-inspired. It will appeal to the baking set, of which she is a signed up member. She spends all her spare time creating confections that mirror her pretty ceramic designs
Other stellar buys at Debenhams include Star by Julien Macdonald’s celestial studs, which you can use to adorn bathrooms, bedroom doors and feature walls. They cost €47 for a set of three.
While the leaves may be falling off the trees, the flower painting cushion, €43, by Butterfly Home by Matthew Williamson will help to brighten up the mood in sitting rooms and bedrooms. A Red Cross motif bathroom cabinet by Ben de Lisi, €39, will pep up a white space, especially if you hang three in a row. It will give an oft-neglected room a Damien Hirst touch circa his 1992 Pharmacy fit-out.
Next Home has some very well priced pieces, including a Hoxton stool, €71, which is a great way to add an industrial element to your kitchen breakfast counter or island. The brand’s Tresham reading lamp, €46, is another way to work the industrial trend, Shabby chic fans will love the Flemish-style chandelier, €85, which can be dressed down with Charlbury shades, €29 for a set of five. For a statement piece of lighting, look to Harvey Norman’s tripod lamp - it costs €179 and comes in black or oak finishes.
Paul Costelloe Living for Dunnes Stores continues to add a golden designer lustre to the chain. His Laura round baskets cost from €25 each and are in stores in early October. Use them in kitchens, bathrooms and as small fireside fuel holders.
Marks & Spencer Home has great small pieces of furniture that will add interesting elements to living rooms. Their Ladbrook adjustable height lamp table, €269, will work in small and large spaces.
Fashionable pops of colour will instantly update your home. Orange is on-trend for autumn. Marks & Spencer Home’s Reactive vase, €20 is one way to bring in colour. You can also introduce bright hues through small accessories such as the Flamingo footstool, €24.95, by Carraig Donn.
Fashionable home accessories should also perform a function. A dog draught excluder, €6 at Penneys, adds humour but also guards against autumn chills. A dining room table pendant decorated with nickel-plated cutlery is whimsical and also illuminating. It costs €625 from Meadows & Byrne.