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The Interior Design Yearbook 2012 is out now.  Packed full of inspiring case studies, gorgeous images and expert guidance from professional interior designers, it’s a must-read for anyone interested in design.  Writers include Jonanna Wood, Sally Storey, Tara Bernerd and our very own Cate Burren who was asked to pen the chapter on fabrics and textiles, as well as providing a case study.  Cate’s article is featured below and the yearbook is available here.

Trend: Fabrics and Textiles by Cate Burren

Fabric and textiles have always been a core part of an interior designers’ tool basket and fabric houses are quick to pick up on and reflect current tastes and trends. As a result, these textiles can act as a unique barometer of changing fashions and styles within our homes and interior environments, immediately evoking memories of childhood, reminiscences of bygone eras or recollections of people or places.

Fabric by Zimmer and Rohde

What is a trend?

There will always be trends in fabric design; styles and colours come and go in seasonal waves and fabric houses regularly present new collections. However, there are no fixed rules when it comes to following these trends. People often have an immediate reaction to a particular texture or pattern and each client’s choice will be uniquely personal to them. I find that this can play a key part in uncovering a client’s style; the type of fabric that they are instinctively drawn towards will tell me a world of information about their lifestyle and the look that they are after. As such, whilst I am aware of trends I will always consider the client and their needs first when selecting fabrics for them. It is far more important to me to ensure that the client has a finished home which suits their needs and lifestyle than a home which is filled with the most up to date products.

Fabric by Zimmer and Rohde

Current trends

There are lots of great developments in fabric design at the moment. Outdoor fabrics are looking better and better with products that really are weather resistant and there are some great voile fabrics on the market, especially linens that are so versatile and look fantastic. We are also seeing an increasing crossover between fashion and home furnishings, for example the Christian Lacroix collection for Designers Guild and the Oscar de la Renta collection for G P and J Baker. These collaborations are refreshing as they bring new styles and ways of working with fabrics to the interiors market. Colour has been gradually been returning to home fabrics after a prolonged period of beige and this trend keeps growing all the time. Probably as a reaction to our current austere times, consumers are also increasingly choosing the luxury of textured fabrics; tactile velvets, light reflecting sheens and fabrics with a touch of glitter and sparkle, which bring a bit of joy into our cost effective schemes!

Zimmer and Rohde

How to get it right

It is essential to think about quantities; the trouble with mood boards is that fabrics are presented in equal size cuttings but in reality you may use 40m of one for a curtain and 2m of another for a stool and getting the balance of different fabrics right is key to a successful scheme. It sounds obvious, but it is also important to make sure you look at a large piece of each fabric rather than a swatch when choosing. Cuttings are not representative of a whole pattern and a piece of cloth that you love or hate in a small piece will look totally different in bigger meterage and you may not have the same reaction.

Fabric by Zimmer and Rohde

Finally, enjoy the process! Choosing fabric is the fun part of designing a room; selecting the colours patterns and textures that will pull a look together and add the final layer to a scheme is really rewarding. The beauty of fabrics is that they can also be updated relatively easily as opposed to furniture or flooring etc, so have fun and be bold with your choices.

Image credits: Zimmer and Rohde

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Our latest design article is now out in Velvet magazine but don’t worry if you missed it, you can read it here!

The clocks have gone forward, the evenings are lightening up and summer is on the horizon. There’s nothing better than shaking off the winter gloom and getting your house ready for the summer months. Victoria Harrison shares some simple tips to make your home lighter and brighter.

1 The White Company 3 The Contemporary Home

Update curtains to let the sunshine in

This is a simple update which makes a huge difference. Heavy drapes are lovely and cosy in the winter but for summer you need light, airy voiles and sheer fabrics to allow the sunshine to pour in. Update yours to make the most of those long summer evenings; if you need a bit more privacy you can always hang a blind behind the voiles. Invite the sunshine in by ensuring your windows are sparkling clean; scrub the frames inside and out to get rid of winter grime and polish the glass with a water and vinegar solution to make them gleam. Finally, declutter window frames to make sure that nothing is blocking the light; move ornaments, vases and photo frames to a shelf and keep windowsills nice and clear.

4 The Contemporary Home 2 Jan Constantine

Switch things around

In the summer you don’t need extra layers under your feet, so store heavy rugs away until autumn. With endless feet traipsing in and out from the garden it’s much more practical to have simple floorboards which can be swept clean. Banish heavy cushions and throws to a cupboard as well and lighten up for the summer months with soft and silky fabrics. Bright cheerful colours will give your house a lift, so indulge your home with zingy fabrics and cheery patterns. Think about reshuffling the furniture in your room to breathe a bit of life and fresh air into the space. In the winter we tend to group chairs close together and huddle around the fireplace or TV but in the summer months it’s nice to rearrange your furniture so you can sit in your favourite chair and look at the view out of the window rather than the TV screen. It’s the perfect time to declutter your living space too; in the winter we tend to gather our belongings around us, but summer is the perfect time to tidy up, store away unused items and make a fresh start.

5 The Contemporary Home 6 The White Company

Reflect the light

Reflect all that lovely summery light around your room with a large sparkling mirror. If you have recessed walls or dark corners a mirror is a great way to bounce light back into the room. Glass vases and candlesticks are good when it comes to adding extra sparkle too. I love mirrored furniture, but if you just want to update a few accessories rather than buy new furniture then mirrored lamp bases and photo frames are a good way of brightening up a scheme. Bunches of fresh cut flowers are the simplest way of bringing the outdoors in and they are a brilliant and inexpensive decorating staple throughout the summer. Even just a couple of blooms in a small votive will cheer up a room and add a layer of summer scent. Finally, small tea lights in mirrored or glass jars will add a cheerful glow to those lovely long summer evenings.

This article first appeared in Velvet magazine – issue 47 – May 2011.

Image credits: The White Company, The Contemporary Home, Jan Constantine, Dunelm Mill

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Our latest design article is now out in Velvet magazine.

Victoria Harrison of Interior Design Talks shares insider secrets on how to decorate with colour to get the kind of home usually seen only in glossy magazines. Colour can be intimidating but with a bit of expert advice you can add warmth, interest, drama and character to your home.  Follow these simple, easy tips and you can use colour like the experts.

colour secrets colour secrets

Start with neutrals
Most colour schemes are based on a palette of colours that you’re instinctively drawn to. Neutrals show up that point well because the colour difference is subtle. The neutrals that you pick out as your favourites will then form the basis of your scheme to which you can then add stronger colours.

colour secrets colour secrets

Bold colours
Stronger colours are traditionally used on walls; however you can easily apply them to woodwork, alongside neutral wall colourings. You could also use bolder colours on a feature wall if you have a good reason to; for example, as a backdrop to a collection of framed photographs or art. The best way to introduce strong colours into your colour scheme is by accentuating a fabric or accessory within the room.  Not only are these much easier to change if you tire of them, but this approach allows you to bring the room together.

colour secrets colour

Working with light
Light in a room can change dramatically during the day. There is also a huge difference between natural and artificial light, and it can be really hard to predict how the light in a room will impact on the paint colour. For example, you might choose a particular colour in a shop only to find that it looks totally different when you get it home. The solution is to paint your chosen colour onto a large piece of card (minimum A4 size), pin it on the wall and look at it during the day and at night to see how it changes.

colour colour secrets

Adding Accessories
Remember that your colour scheme is not just about paint, but includes a layering of different colours and materials. These obviously include fabric and accessories but flooring is also important to consider, and is frequently overlooked. One of my favourite ways of adding colour is to create a fairly light, calm background scheme using neutral tones for walls, floors and major furnishing items. You can then add you main accent colour in rugs, cushions, occasional furniture, accessories and even flowers.

All images credit: Fired Earth. Read the full article in Velvet here.

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