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Interiors: All Things Bright and Beautiful

Geometry, gold and gelato; bold ultraviolet versus the grace of the natural world; statement herringbone flooring and the two-tone treatment: we are loving SS18’s interior influences, and the ideas our local designers are offering to inspire your spring thinking

After a long old winter (well done guys, we made it), tentative signs of the fresh new season are emerging; the spring is ready to make its way into our lives and homes and bestow its sunny, radiant influence. Visions of macramé embellishments and vast amounts of indoor foliage (see p96) have begun to dance through our heads; artisanal textures, chic seasonal pastel incarnations. Talk of ‘ice cream interiors’ and two-tone paintjobs has got us excited for trends to come and to be honest, we pretty much like the sound of them all – so we caught up with our local experts to see which themes they’re backing this season…

Bracey Interiors

“The interiors world has just celebrated the launch of the new collections in Paris and they have all been heavily influenced by colour and nature,” says Alison Bracey, owner of Bracey Interiors in Clifton. “Palms and exotic plants are being used with dramatic effect in both wallpapers and fabrics, with Designers Guild continuing to celebrate a colourful but more painterly style of botanical prints which are truly beautiful.

“Exotic plants and foliage are everywhere as people are encouraged to bring ‘greenery’ into their homes. Most of the latest accessories ranges celebrate nature and can be used to add colour and interest to a room design. Another strong influence are geometric designs, used to create a strong, imposing reaction or in some cases, a simple backdrop.”

And what of the hue championed by Pantone this year – chosen to communicate ‘originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking’? “Ultraviolet certainly is rather a brave colour choice and one that maybe should be used in small doses,” says Alison. “Designers Guild use this shade to great effect in their floral designs. The latest paint shades do feature more colour with the grey/neutral tones being less dominant. Yellow or rather old gold/yellow tones are returning and balance perfectly with the more dramatic, colourful designs in wallpapers and fabrics.”

Designers Guild is celebrating a more colourful, painterly style of botanical, Alison Bracey tells us

David Hutton Interiors

“Looking at the latest trends is always a fun way to find inspiration, but – and I can’t emphasise this enough – it’s important to always choose themes or pieces that you’re happy to live with,” says award-winning designer David. “Go with what you love and it will end up being timeless.

“Pantone’s colour of the year is already creeping into the interiors market so if you’ve a passion for purple, my advice is to go bold: large statement pieces, even a feature wall. Making a statement with flooring is another key trend and a simple way to add drama is by choosing a rug in bold colours. Almost like having a painting on the floor, a rug like this should really stand out so keep the surrounding furniture and décor simple. The use of bold patterned carpet runners on stairs is also a great way to add interest. And herringbone floors are a must in my view…

“As an overall approach, glamorous, sophisticated interiors are overtaking the mid-century style that’s been popular up until now. Hand in hand with this is a move away from copper in favour of gold – a trend I personally welcome with open arms!

“Finally, high contrast marble has been popular for a while and it’s still big this year, so incorporating it into your home doesn’t mean it will date quickly. It’s especially versatile in kitchens where it can be used to great effect.”

Suzy Harris Design

“When we’ve been stuck inside for too long we often feel the need to throw open the windows and doors and have a good old-fashioned spring clean,” says Suzy, who has designed interiors in Bristol for the past 15 years. “It’s a good time to review and lighten up by shedding and packing away heavier soft furnishings and rugs until autumn. I’d advise having two sets of soft furnishings – in the same way that you dress yourself differently for summer and winter – some for the cold months in textural wools and weaves in rich colours and some for the warmer months in lighter, brighter cottons and linens.

“Bringing the outside in feels wonderful. Arrange spring blooms or acquire some new house plants and display them in clean, textural vases and glassware. Botanical prints can also have this effect. Less is more at this time, and clearing your space and making a feature of just a few choice pieces is refreshing.

“Recent trends towards darker paints and fabrics, especially in deep greys, blues and greens can still work in springtime, but adding some glassware and brighter or pastel-coloured accessories can freshen up your scheme and provide luminosity.

“I try not to be trend-led in my design, preferring to suit a property and the personalities of its occupants, but I see a definite shift towards warmer neutrals in earthy, clay colours, bare plaster and dusky pinks. Warmer metal choices, such as brass, rose gold and copper look lovely with both the blue greys and these earthy tones.  New handles or paint can update your storage furniture while new lighting can transform a room and pastel accessories can brighten both the darkly colourful and neutral schemes.”

We love the statement flooring in this Canynge Square project by Suzy Harris

Bethan England Interiors

Hues borrowed from the gelateria are taking centre stage for Bristol Bethan England, too. “As we come out of hibernation, gone are beige and white and instead we welcome colour into our homes in the form of pastels,” she says. “We’re not looking at pale, sugary sherbet tones but richly pigmented, majestic pastels from dusky mauves and salmon pinks to soft, ochery yellows and deep, duck-egg blues. For those who love colour but prefer lighter hues, this is perfect. Create balance by pairing similarly weighted shades and combining warm and cool tones: dusky pink and lavender, muted yellow and soft grey. Paint walls in the pastel shade you love and complement with a signature piece of furniture or accessories of a different hue. Velvet will really enhance the colour you choose so consider choosing a sumptuous chair or signature cushions in this fabric.

“Combine these new colour shades with natural textures such as woods and leather,” Bethan continues. “Cane and wicker furniture go with pastels beautifully along with rattan pendant shades and baskets. Embrace the intrinsic imperfections and honesty of raw materials with weathered woods, frayed linens and distressed finishes.

“Elsewhere, botanical prints are still going strong with lush, revitalising greenery, bright flora and fauna and exotic, jungle-inspired designs bringing energy to a room; and the industrial look is still around but very much pared back, paler and elegant. Minimalist statement lighting set against furniture with a raw or aged finish can be a stylish combination, and antiques or vintage pieces are always a good way of adding character and interest to a room, no matter what the décor. I’d avoid anything new that has been made to look old; instead search online or visit a local antiques market or salvage yard.

“Finally, in a seemingly unstable political and social climate, many of us find ourselves drawn to tradition for that feeling of security and comfort. Floral chintzes are back and these can be boldly embraced through wallpaper with matching curtains or upholstery.  Have a look at the beautiful prints by Sanderson via Style Library. Alternatively, hunt down some vintage floral cushions or bedspreads; visit the plethora of independent artisan shops in Bristol to find a traditionally crafted piece. Individual finds such as hand-printed lampshades, locally made ceramics or original artwork will give your home a much needed human touch in our tech-centric world.”

The new traditional: In uncertain times, many of us are drawn to tradition for stability, security, and comfort, says Bethan England. Floral chintzes are back, boldly embraced through wallpaper, curtains or upholstery. Image: Sanderson

Addicted to Patterns

“We feel the coming season will be about the fluid merging of floral and geometric patterns – large-scale organic motifs tangled with repetitive geometry and abstract colour splashes,” says designer and print-maker Justyna Medon. “The palette oscillates from soft pinks and peach to oyster grey with dash of silver and accents of copper.

“Other influential colours will be mustard and coral; a truly earthy palette with a strong accent of deep navy blue and charcoal. Our own collection of wallpapers for the new season, screenprinted by hand in Bristol, is inspired by nature – golden honey bees, meadow birds and linear sea florals in gold and coral; quirky red desert cacti with fizzy silver and pale khaki, Avon herons by the river bank in deep mustard and turquoise; geometric interpretations of the cityscape printed in old gold and pastel teal with a tint of fluorescent orange.”

Justyna Medon’s Avon herons design would inject both colour and nature into a space


Each season, Wiltshire-born Neptune releases a paint palette felt throughout its new collection but not necessarily in line with what’s defined by Pantone or driven by trends. Seeking a sense of timelessness, the shade at the heart of their new collection is ‘old rose’. Sophisticated, subtle and soft, its inspiration too lies in nature; specifically the slightly fading petals of the classic English bloom.

“It makes a room feel calm and comfortable, even with the absence of sofas, footstools and blankets, showing how colour alone has the potential to comfort and to cushion a room,” says the design team, pairing it with colours from seasons gone by including paint shade Driftwood – whose neutrality brings together earthy brown with cool and soft pink undertones.

neptune.comBolder territory: Farrow & Ball go two-tone with their key spring colours, ‘pitch blue’ and ‘calke green’. Can we officially do way with the ‘blue and green should never be seen’ maxim now? 

Farrow & Ball

According to the interiors stalwart, SS18 is not about one colour, but two, and more importantly how they are combined together – moving away from limiting walls to one colour or restricting trims to white. “Each should be used in equal measure, rather than one being an accent to the other, and no extra paint shades should be included,” says colour consultant Joa Studholme, of the two-tone trend. “In 2017 we started to see surprising combinations and in 2018 we have welcomed them with open arms, realising the value of using colour in different ways in the home. We no longer feel restricted to using one colour on the walls and a second on the trim – using strong colours in a more eclectic way has liberated us.”
Featured image: Addicted to Patterns honeycomb wall covering – hand drawn and screen-printed in Bristol