With 2016 now in full swing, there is no better time to take stock of the year ahead and think about ways to transform your house into your own personal haven. But with so many ideas and styles in the shops, picking the right ones can be a daunting task. With 20 years’ experience in the homes industry, we asked renowned interior designer. Suzanne Webster what her advice is on what’s hot and what’s not for 2016, and how to tackle a home transformation.
Suzanne has worked as an interiors editor, art director, set designer and writer. Her clients include Next, Harpers, Bazaar and Cosmopolitan. She’s currently working for Story Homes styling their show homes across the North West. “I’ve just done two at Kirkham in the Fylde, and will be working on show homes in Clitheroe and Cottam in the coming months,” says Suzanne.
What were the major design trends in 2015?
Golds and copper hues were extremely popular last year. Personally I really liked the trend and have used them in lots of show houses and editorial shoots. They are great to work with as they are so warm and welcoming, so especially good for show homes. They add to the luxe look as well as being versatile. I mixed this with luxurious fabrics such as velvet creating a real sense of indulgence, with the gold adding a bit of bling.
We also saw a bold trend last year with orange which was a move on from the gold and coppers. The high street and stores like Habitat and Barker and Stonehouse themed strongly with orange for those customers wanting to create a statement.
So looking ahead, what do you think we will be seeing a lot of in 2016?
There are a few key trends for 2016:
Vintage blush is a modern take on the vintage look. The trend transforms a neutral palette with hints of copper, rose and distressed wood. By adding rich textures such as velvets for plush window dressings, upholstered dining chairs and bedroom/sofa cushions, a warm yet calm environment can be achieved. A soft pink is Pantone’s colour of the year, along with gentle Serenity Blue, while grey remains one of the most popular neutrals.
Distressed wood furniture and mirrors in washed or limed effect create the perfect calm home. Add lots of ceramics and accessories in white/pale grey to complete the look.
I have worked in Dubai many times, where the hotels are literally out of this world. You can create an effortless hotel sanctuary at home with clean lines and minimal clutter, and this in turn leads to a good night’s rest for all. A feature wallpaper wall behind the bed and a luxury headboard create the drama of a room. Make sure beds are dressed with crisp white bedlinen. Buy the best Egyptian cotton that you can afford with a good thread count. Layer up the bed with thick silk or velvet eiderdown throws and plenty of cushions in smoky hues. Use soft bedside lighting and lots of mirrors so that you create a feeling of light and space.
Amazonia is going to be one of the hottest trends for 2016. Inspired by the Olympics in Rio, the Amazonia trend is dominated by bright shades of red, orange and yellow together with strong Aztec prints. The theme is all about bold colours and tribal patterns. Combine it with distressed woods to give your home a cool, eclectic look.
This trend is great for the bold and brave to add vibrancy and colour to the home, but equally a pop of colour in the form of a selection of cushions, or a few grouped vases, can create a splash of excitement to any home. I find accessories are a great way of transforming a home for very little money and can be replaced from season to season to give a different feel.
The natural look will return this year, incorporating a range of muted and more smoky shades with a soft focus. The look will feature an assortment of textures including warm wood and stone, which exude an earthy elegance. The trend will also have an emphasis on natural fabrics such as brushed cotton and linen, while colour wise it is all about a warm, neutral palette. While detailed motifs will also be a staple of the look.
The look is born out of the concern for sustainability, which has resulted in a strengthened appreciation for natural materials such as solid wood, stone, cotton and wool. I often use Ian Mankin fabrics in my designs for either residential or show homes. They are a London based company who use British fabrics made from 100% natural fibres that are woven in the UK in their own Lancashire cotton mill, which has been run by the same family for six generations. They produce beautiful linens, ticking and stripes, and make wonderful curtains and blinds. I add trims occasionally to the plain fabrics to give a bit of extra colour, which can pull the whole look of the room together.
Other interior trends for 2016 include bright orange, while silver and gold replace copper as the must-have metallic. Also at the forefront of interior fashions this year are jewelled fabrics, botanical prints and monochrome. For those who are trying to make the most of a small space then consider reflective surfaces as the trend comes to the fore. It might be the oldest trick in the book, but mirrors, if used in an architectural way, will add depth, as will marble, granite, glass and metal surfaces.
When you are starting a design project, how do you go about it?
I always start with wallpapers that I like, and tend to use a complementary colour palette for the whole house so that it flows. I use wallpaper as a feature wall in every room and the other walls are painted in neutral cream or off white. I then add fabrics and trims for curtains and blinds before choosing furniture, then finally the accessories.
When I am styling a show home I take inspiration from the local area, which helps to inspire the mood boards that I put together. I always choose items that are affordable and accessible, but that have a high end look. I source a lot of the products from Next, John Lewis, as well as Barker and Stonehouse furniture, JMF Interiors and a mixture of Harlequin/Zoffany and Scion wallpapers.
I like to use products that people can buy themselves, so they could recreate the look in their home.
Is it better to change your house with the trends, or go for a timeless look?
I would always say go for a timeless classic look for curtain/blinds and furniture. However, if you prefer to change your look from season to season then go for accessories and cushions that completely change the look of a room at a fraction of the price.
What is the most interesting project you have ever worked on?
I work abroad every year for a private client who entertains 300 world-wide VIP’s for the Dubai World Cup. I have to organise and design venues at hotels, private beaches residence and at Meydan Racecourse for a long weekend of dining and entertainment. It’s great fun and very rewarding to see the whole thing come together from nothing. I also work with most of the lifestyle and home editorial teams, so it is a real mix.
What are you looking forward to in the coming year?
As always I am really excited to be going to Dubai, but I also can’t wait to get stuck into styling the new Story Homes’ show homes in Clitheroe and Cottam. It is so satisfying seeing all my hard work come together in the two days we spend setting up the show house. The houses provide a great space to work in, they have very generous sized rooms use lovely materials to match the locality.
What are your top tips for being on trend in 2016?
- Spend money on window dressing with luxurious fabrics, with thick linings and interlinings. They make all the difference to a room.
- Use wallpaper as a feature wall in most rooms. It creates drama and a focus for the room.
- Children’s rooms are great to style using feature wallpaper walls. There are some great accessories and furniture to be found on the high street. It creates a little oasis/den for them to escape to.
- There are a lot of accessories available at the moment in smoky and muted shades, which work for any home. Use them to create an easy soft style.
- Lighting is always key for any home. Use table lamps to create soft light, and put statement lights above dining and kitchen tables for a dramatic look. Even bedside tables can be used to create a feature.