Wonky, undone, and often blue

Keeping up with interior trends can be tough, but we can help you stretch your design muscles and inspire you to kickstart 2024 with a plan to freshen things up at home. These insights will keep your finger on the pulse, so you can express yourself creatively within your surroundings using the latest looks…

The awesome thing for those feeling a bit jaded after the festivities – who might prefer to focus on other things, like not dwelling in the past, giving up processed food, researching tracks on Spotify, deleting unwanted apps, or just hibernating – is that we’ve done the what’s-the-state-of-play-in-the-interiors-world (?) work for you.

We have cornered the latest news about 2024 from interior publications, style gurus and style predictors, and sought out some specialist commentary, so that you can put your feet up while feeling tantalised and inspired. Whether or not you decide to actually implement changes in your abode – like purchasing a statement curvy sofa in a shade of pistachio, introducing coloured concrete walls in a tint of Blue Nova, collecting asymmetric (wonky) handmade vases, or applying fabric wallpaper to your hallway (while wondering how on earth you might get the paper off when 2025 brings a new zing to proceedings) – is another question altogether. But remember, it’s the knowing that counts.

Atelier Ellis’ Peach Rose is a dustier, more subtle version of Pantone’s colour of the year, Peach Fuzz (atelierellis.co.uk)

Colour zeitgeist
It can be confusing, however. Pantone’s Peach Fuzz colour of the year jostles with House Beautiful’s advice to embrace the energising qualities of the zesty green Chartreuse, and with House & Garden’s recommendation that yellow is the colour, with its optimistic vibe. The latter is endorsed by heritage paint company Farrow & Ball whose India Yellow is making itself felt as a statement mustard shade (although they are also offering shades of Sardine, Chinese Blue and London Clay). Then there’s paint and wallpaper company Lick who are pointing to the use of warming neutrals with energising reds, zesty oranges, refreshing blues and revitalising greens. Whereas Elle Décor say it’s all about brown: “Browns are definitely happening – like really warm browns that might be a play on a 1970s palette, and those caramel colors, along with coral and persimmon.”

Comfortingly there is some consensus on blue. Paint manufacturer Sherwin Williams’ colour trend report centres on blues and greens for calmness and resting, with their colour of the year being Upward, a breezy, sky-blue shade. Insights from Houzz with their Home Design Predictions 2024 include existing trends, like the use of warm neutrals over stark whites, but also newer ones, like adopting soothing blues as a primary shade in home interiors. Benjamin Moore’s colour of the year is Blue Nova 825, described by one commentator as an ‘intergalactic blue-purple’, whereas paint supplier Valspar has opted for a more green-toned shade called Renew Blue.

Back on this side of the Atlantic Little Greene has curated a collection of paint in warm, neutral shades of honey, caramel and chocolate, each colour inspired by delicious desserts and sweet treats. Enticing names such as ‘Madeleine’, ‘Galette’, ‘Affogato’, ‘Muscovado’ and ‘Ganache’ bring these mouthwatering colours to life

Sustainability in production is also making an impression on the paint market, including companies such as Edward Bulmer who provide ‘paint made just the way it should be’ with unrivalled pigment rich colours and superior breathable coverage. Also Bath’s Atelier Ellis who make quiet, beautiful, breathable, handmade paint – these are virtually VOC-free (Volatile Organic Compounds), full of natural materials, and have an underlying simple-useful-beautiful aesthetic.

Above: Hannah Chair with backrest – walnut by Loop and Twist, £359 (loopandtwist.com)

Minimal or maximalist?
If you’ve lived a long and rewarding life in interiors you will have seen a metronome-like movement from minimalism to maximalism and back again, often leaving you perplexed in terms of the required style emphasis. Thus go fashion trends.
On the whole we prefer the maximalism side of the debate, not because it’s a whole lot less work (which it is), but because having personal things on display – precious-to-you hand-me-downs, upcycled furniture and shelves of miscellaneous glass and china – shows character, and profiles the life of the person who lives there. Fortunately the interiors know-how is currently on this side, too. (With the exception of Minimaluxe, as suggested by Living Etc, a pared-back palette that still allows the ‘showcasing of your favourite things’, which they say is set to take over the design world.)

One.interior.mag labels the erring towards the busier state of affairs ‘Undone Maximalism’, which seems to be another way of describing not putting things away, piling up books and magazines and having cats sprawling over your unmade bed. We’re liking this. House & Garden takes up the refrain with their ‘Undone Interiors’ – meaning the opposite to over-styled and overdone. So it’s a big NO to karate-chopped cushions, intensively curated accessories and push-to-open kitchen cabinet doors. Instead relax, make-do, upcycle if you feel the urge, and embrace imperfection.

Fitted furniture specialist Hammonds talk of Dark Maximalism, because interest trend data has shown a 600% spike for the search term in the past three months. They explain, “this is a particular branch of maximalism which focuses on a dark, moody colour palette of black and gemstone colours such as ruby red, emerald, and sapphire.” This also features hard finishes using wood and marble. Warning: it can get messy, so seek to create cohesion and then it will look rich and purposeful rather than untidy.

Welcome texture and curves
Maximalism also allows you to focus on texture which adds charm and detail to a space. Think fluted surfaces, herringbone patterns, and stylish vintage finds from lamps to faded nostalgic textiles.

Wavy wood is a thing now – Living Etc say there is a ‘new wave’ of fluid, curvy forms that will generally be dominating the conversation in furniture this year. Living Etc also talk of ‘Curvaceous Cabinetry’, where curved, decorative storage boxes are “evidence of the quest to put everything away and live in an uncluttered space”, a sentiment not necessarily borne out by other sources.

Textured wallpapers are in vogue too – take Curious Egg’s Grattage Wallpaper in terracotta, a design inspired by the Surrealist’s technique of ‘Grattage’ which involved laying a canvas painted with thick oil paint over an uneven surface and then scraping back the paint in areas to reveal interesting textural effects. There’s also fabric wallpaper to add richness and tactility – and it absorbs sound and makes a room feel cocooning (House & Garden). An example is Konoko Grasscloth wallpaper by Osborne and Little, a beautiful, natural grasscloth available in a choice of colours, made from the finest authentic hemp and with a beautiful linear texture.

Tall Jugs by Kate Semple by Unpolished, £100 (unpolishedspace.com)

Here-to-stay looks
Lucywilliamshome recommends Farmhouse Chic for 2024, which can’t fairly be described as a new thing, and Australian Vogue is elevating Rustic Textures to the top tier, but I suppose we’re all still dreaming of escaping to the countryside, and if you can’t do that then you can steal the muddy-boots, apples-stewing-on-the-stove, worn-farmhouse-table experience. It’s the same for Biophilia (bringing nature into your interiors), which is still on trend and all part of the same earthy hankering.

Another style that’s not going anywhere is Artisanal, endorsed by Elle Décor among many others, with the idea of welcoming in pieces showcasing the incomparable skill of human hands. “Our clients are craving the handmade – whether it’s ceramic tile or hand-carved wood furniture or handblown glass, human irregularity is soothing.” Australian Vogue call this “character over cookie cutter”, the latter meaning safe colour palettes and homogenous finishes. At which point take a look at Kate Semple’s wonky handmade ceramic collection for Unpolished, profiling pieces in utilitarian guise (jugs, flagons and vases) but with a lot of asymmetry thrown in. It’s the defining ‘wonk’ that’s the main attraction here.

Royal Grass Green by Edward Bulmer has drama and leaf-like luxuriance (edwardbulmerpaint.co.uk)

Final thoughts
In the same vein, House Beautiful mentions ‘Dumb Homes’ as a big turnabout in 2024, meaning the opposite of Smart Homes, with their harsh blue lights and bright touchscreens that illuminate as you pass. This leads to an enthusiasm for mechanical controls: old-school buttons, switches that toggle up and down, and simpler toilet washlets (toilet bidet combinations) and vintage fittings.
This is a mere fraction of what’s out there. We haven’t mentioned pop-art inspired florals; chrome accessories; bouclé fever; ruffles;
cosmic motifs; arches; contemporary trompe l’oeil; character-endowing curtain trims; classical details, from tapestries to ceiling medallions; rattan; gold-plated ceramics; and Victorian-era details. What’s for sure is that there are so many options that you’re bound to be able to chivvy up your resources and welcome in a selection. Alternatively just go for Undone Maximalism, a style that may already be familiar to you.

Advice from the designers at Woodhouse & Law
“The year 2024 will definitely mark the end of the long-standing rule of the established grey regime in the home. In its place, expect to see the return of more soothing brown tones in fabrics, wall treatments, furniture and accessories alike. No longer a throwback to the seventies and eighties, the colour is back, this time accompanied by equally earthy hues such as terracotta pinks, warming rusty oranges and this year’s Pantone Colour of the Year, peach. This change of colour palette will be accompanied by a movement towards a more maximalist design approach in 2024 – a softer one, with more colour, more pattern, more layers.

Passementerie will be key to this; think fringing on cushions and heavy adornments on window treatments. This more whimsical approach to the design of our homes will, however, be different to previous evolutions – less throw-away and with a greater emphasis than ever before on natural materials, sustainability, and craftsmanship. To reduce the environmental impact of new products on the market, expect to see traditional materials being used alongside waste products from other industries.

We have recently seen surplus sheep’s wool used in place of plastic upholstery foam, waste hemp fibres used to fortify bioplastic in compostable chairs and acoustic panels featuring a by-product of rice production. This move to greater sustainability in the industry is likely to be accompanied by a greater understanding of the importance of natural elements in improving our wellbeing and creativity. We expect therefore to see pieces made from natural stone and wood coming to the fore in 2024 – with curved lines and soft shapes to instil a more natural, organic feel to a scheme. This will extend beyond accessories and on to statement furniture pieces, such as living edge tables.”