The top 10 interiors trends for autumn – and four fads to leave behind
Before you pick up a paintbrush or seek out a swatch, read what some of Ireland’s leading interior creatives are forecasting for the season ahead
Top tip: ‘green is very happy with grey schemes, adding lots of depth without being too showy’
While blue accents dominated cushions, curtains, throws and rugs for the past few seasons, green tones took centre stage at the recent international shows and fabric fairs. “Expect to see lots of soft mossy hues, peacock greens and deep emerald shades pop up in glass, cushions, paint and in luxury fabrics adding a touch of glamour to an armchair or sofa,” says Rebecca Roe of Hedgeroe Interiors. Better yet, as Arlene McIntyre, owner of Ventura Design points out, “green is very happy with grey schemes, adding lots of depth without being too showy, so if you have a grey palette, a few green accessories and trimmings will bring it up to date”.
Copper has a serious moment of late but the rash of shiny, imitation pieces all over the high street, has taken the luster off this metal for many designers. “While good copper pieces will never date, we’ve moved on to what we’ve coined ‘gilver’ this season. It’s a cross between gold and silver, like a posh pewter. It’s still a warm metal but has a chameleon character that adapts to the colour scheme it sits in – so there’s no fretting about gold clashing with silvers or coppers against yellows, etc. It looks gorgeous on picture frames, mirrors, lampstands, curtain poles and kitchen handles too,” says McIntyre.
Fresh from Maison&Objet, the international interior trade show in Paris, Foxford designer Helen McAlinden found “shades of dusty pink, mossy green and mink greys ruled supreme at every exhibitor stand. The most dramatic shift in trends in the last year definitely catered around Christmas decorations and table settings. Gone was every suggestion of bling, metallics, red and green and its it place was very Spartan, Nordic tables with grey runners, pewter place settings, simple white lights, large pine cones and other foraged natural decorations. Green fir trees were relegated in favour of bare branched trees covered in white fairy lights. So hold off on the tinsel this year and opt for a genuine Lapland scheme.”
“Bathrooms are moving into much braver, and more decadent territory than before,” say’s Roisin Lafferty of Kingston Lafferty Design. The days of big square cream tiles, and clean clinical finishes are numbered as designers are layering up the luxe factor with patterned tiles, coloured walls, glamorous light fixtures, soft textures and even chaise lounges, where space allows. “I know many of us are still traumatised by avocado loos, but coloured sanitary ware is back. It’s a lot more palatable this time around, with the likes of marble sinks in blues and earthy shades. And instead of gleaming chrome fittings, matte black taps and shower fittings are the trend of the moment,” says Lafferty.
With technology ever prevalent in our homes, our desire to bring nature into the balance is being met with indoor planting. “We often use a mixture of fake and real plants in a home depending on how green fingered the owner is, it’s an easy trick for adding texture and a sense of the organic. Avoid fussy plants and keep it clean and leafy with the likes of grasses, ferns, palm or fiddle leaf fig trees. Succulent displays and cacti are having a huge moment too and can make for a cool talking point,” says Lafferty.
“Although wood flooring is ever popular, with wide, long engineered boards in ash greys the most sought after finish right now, carpets still have their place in the home,” says Philippa Buckley of Studio 54. According to Ruth Kennelly of RK Designs, “everyone’s opting for insanely high pile carpets in design this year. They look like a beautiful glass lake with glimmering reflections, but then you walk on them you can see footprints everywhere. This would drive some people crackers but it’s a look that says ‘I can afford to enjoy such a high maintenance material’. If you’re tempted, Bomat do the most magnificent China Blue shag cut pile that will make you feel you’re walking on water.”
Functional objects are morphing into statement pieces with the addition of brass and metal trims around their frames. “I’ve clients asking me to jazz up all sorts recently from stoves to sideboards, dining tables to extractor chimneys with brass or metal edging. It makes a piece look very opulent and bespoke, but if you track down a good local metal smith you’ll be surprised at how easy it can be retrofit an object,” says Kennelly.
Cutesy, floral granny designs were the presiding patterns of the shabby chic trend, “which I’m very happy we’ve moved on from,” says Lafferty. “The patterns we’re seeing now in wallpapers, bed linens, curtains and upholstery fabric are large, classic and graphic, with echoes of 1920s American cafe society and more opulent times. Also more abstract ideas such as clouds, marble cross sections and the ocean are weaving their way into wallpaper which, when done right, can look like an incredible art installation,” says McIntyre.
The Scandi influence on interiors is going strong. “It suits our climate and environment with lots of simple, well-designed furnishings, light surfaces and blonde wood floors. But there’s a movement away from the austere end of this trend towards luxe textures such as furs, high pile wool, silks and cork, which warm it up and make it more tactile. Expect to see more coloured walls sneaking in too; pastel blues and chalky pinks work really well with this aesthetic,” says Kennelly.
“When Dulux announced Cherished Gold as the 2016 colour of the year, I thought to myself, are they serious?” says Buckley. “It’s a deep, yellow ochre colour, a favourite hue of the ancient Romans for its sandy golden undertones. But those mustard tones look stunning used in upholstery and on curtains and in small accents – especially against grey – the contrast is very sophisticated and deep. I’m still not sure I’d paint a full room in it.”
Clients are eschewing the trend for the seamless, perfect kitchen for a more handmade, eclectic vibe. Instead of working with one or two colours and coordinating materials, they’re experimenting with varied woods, metals, tiles and opposing styles to create more a unique finish. Think French chic meets Brooklyn cool,” says Lafferty.
And we’re over
A unanimous verdict from all the interior designers was the death of the feature wall. “Either do the entire room in whatever wallpaper, cladding or texture you’re into, or paint the entire room one colour. Mix and match is over,” says Kennelly.
“I blame the Kardashians for this one, each of their houses is layer upon layer of bold stripes, chevrons, cubes and Greek keys, all of which I love individually but en masse, it just makes you dizzy. Unsurprisingly it has filtered rapidly down into the high street and is being adapted wrongly,” says McIntyre.
“Matching suites, armchairs and dining chairs is passé,” says Lafferty. “Choose contrasting armchairs and sofas that complement each other and tie opposing genres together with cushions or throws.” Likewise, dining chairs can be uniform in shape but look more relevant in different colours or fabrics, or vice versa.
“I’ve developed an allergy to prints, pillows, paintings, mugs, mats or anything with an inspirational, life-affirming or gratitude quote, most likely etched in swishy brush script. It started out as a positive subculture thing, but it’s explosion onto every surface imaginable dilutes down any meaning and coolness,” says Kennelly.