Bars, butterflies and going green - the new looks for 2017

Expert views on the trends that will shape you home for the year ahead

Greenery scene

Green overthrew grey and blue as the interiors hue of last year but just as we've become accustomed to subtle mossy and bottle green shades in our living spaces, Pantone declared the acid bright "Greenery" hue as the colour of 2017. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute, says, "Greenery symbolises the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and how people are becoming more mindful of the environment they reside in. A green environment can improve self-esteem and reduce anxiety and is often used in design for the hospitality and culinary industries to convey organic healthfulness." A full-on Greenery-painted room may be too much for most, but adding a few Greenery-inspired accessories, cushions or painted pieces will add zing to any space.

In-house bars

Cocktail trolleys were splashed all over every interior wishlist as the must-have addition to any home worthy of serving a Hendrick's and tonic in 2016. This year, however, the bar is literally being raised, as we see fully-stocked, in-house bars, make a reappearance in living spaces geared towards entertaining. Possibly the most talked about element of the Manhattan Loft Showhouse by Ventura Interior Design at last autumn's Ideal Home Show in Dublin, was the built-in James Bond style bar in a small corner of the luxurious loft. "Entertaining has moved back into the home and as proper dining rooms have been relegated for bigger living spaces or kids' playrooms, having a zoned-off bar area is brilliant for keeping guests amused before or after-dinner. Think of bar as the new kitchen island," says Emma Cooling, of Ventura Interior Design, who suggests talking to an experienced kitchen planner before installing one as they follow a similar design and construction premise.

Painted floors

Whitewashed and grey hardwood floors have dominated underfoot over the past few seasons, but bright painted floors are, "about to explode as an interior trend in 2017," says colour consultant Orla Kelly. "Floor space is typically much smaller than the wall area so it's an easier and less terrifying way to inject a room with a bright, bold or a very deep colour. With floors, there's also no interference from art, fireplaces, doors and windows, so it allows for a cleaner run of a given colour.

“I love painting floorboards bright yellow in small rooms as they bounce light around and inject a space with positive energy. For bedrooms, many like to keep their space calm with white and grey walls, but try painting the floor a duck egg blue to add depth and interest. And if you have loads of mahogany furniture in your living or dining rooms, a deep blue teal or forest green floor will add brightness, yet keep the room rich looking,” says Kelly. From a practical point of view, Kelly advises using a few layers of gloss paint over well-sanded boards, to get a sleek, high-shine finish, or overlay a matte paint with a hard-wearing clear varnish.


Lacquered finishes

High-gloss lacquered walls, typically the preserve of luxury hotels and stately buildings are growing in popularity in domestic settings. Large lacquered panels are especially popular among architects and interior designers as a clever way to conceal bookshelves, home offices and small kitchens and to partition off zones in open-plan rooms. "A lacquered finished gives walls a tailored and dramatic look whether used in an old Georgian house or an ultra-modern apartment," says Sinead Considine of The Interiors Project, a company she runs with Niamh de Barra. "The vinyl gloss finish acts like a mirror and bounces light everywhere, while the high shine makes dark shades like crimson, maroon and navy come to life." A word of warning, though – lacquer reflects every bump and blemish so walls, panels or surfaces need to be almost marble-smooth before a spray lacquer is applied, she says. "Unless you are very brave, don't attempt to lacquer your walls, it's a craft form that should be professionally done and can require many fine coats to get right. But you could try it on a small DIY project, such as a piece of furniture using the likes of Amy Howard lacquer spray paint, and we've also seen car spray paint used to create the most high-impact, glamorous, ultra-glossy loo."


Move over hygge, the influence of Japondi, from Japanese culture, is where 2017 interiors are at, says Philipa Buckley of interiors firm, Studio 44. "This design trend draws on the 'wabi-sabi' principal of finding beauty in the imperfect, so the presence of cracks and scratches in things are symbolic of the passing of time and loving use and should be embraced, not thrown in a skip and replaced with the latest trend. Think of cracked tiles filled in with bits of melted gold instead of being ripped out and replaced. Wabi-sabi differs from the shabby chic trend in that it is a minimalist aesthetic and centres around sustainability – disposable furniture and fast fashion have no place with wabibitos [wabi-sabi enthusiasts]. Rather they believe there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in," says Buckley

The butterfly effect

"Exotic prints and tropical butterflies are the dominant motif on next season's bolder fabrics and prints," says Ciara Jordan of Amour Design. And it's not just fabrics – butterflies are a predominant theme across art, rugs and crockery from high-street to high-end. "Fortunately, we're not talking nursery-type butterflies or crazy jungle prints, rather a more sophisticated take on these beautiful insects. Designers are focusing on the intricate detailing on a wing or a leaf, which you get to appreciate in all its glory when it's emblazoned across a large cushion or used in grand scale in wallpaper," says Jordan.