Are you sitting comfortably? If not, you will be. Forecasts for top autumn and winter interiors trends are appearing and they are full of words like ‘inspirational’, ‘welcoming’ and ‘cosy’.
Look forward to the return of patterns and warmer colours (amber, burgundy and tobacco) that will enliven the greys and beiges that have dominated for the past decade. Pastel shades are also in resurgence. Prepare to consider pink as a new neutral, and mid-blue, too.
The hard-edged looks of industrial chic are on their way out, having proven off-putting during lockdowns.
Another reason is the style’s ubiquity, with exposed bricks and piping cropping up seemingly everywhere.
Elegant: Artenis corner sofa in warm green velvet, from £4,215 Barker & Stonehouse
Kate Watson-Smyth, interiors expert and tutor on a Create Academy online course, says: ‘After ten years of this look in every trendy pizzeria, there is a shift to something softer.’
So what are the new ‘rules’ for autumn? Here’s our guide…
Old and new
A layered mix of antique and new is gaining sway. Barker & Stonehouse calls this style Town & Country and illustrates it with a sage green Artenis corner velvet sofa (£4,215), a Victorian cabinet (£569) and a contemporary console table with driftwood legs (£449).
A large leaner mirror with an ornate silver frame from Next (£198) would be a nod to this trend.
A velvet buttoned cushion, from Velvet Linen (£85 to £110), a range by Liz Poole, one of Bridgerton’s costume designers, is another option.
The preoccupation with comfort is set to fuel another trend — sheepskin — as Scandi chic becomes less associated with minimalism and more with cosiness.
No Scandi chic setting is complete without at least one sheepskin throw and now this material will be put to other uses.
The White Company has two sheepskin-covered chairs; the first, pictured, (£1,100) has clean Scandinavian lines, the other is tub shaped (£1,600).
The White Company also has a sheepskin draft excluder (£75). At Habitat you can find a (fake) sheepskin chair for £170.
Sheepskin’s expanded role comes as retailers focus more on sustainability. At present thousands of tonnes of wool goes to waste, prompting John Lewis even to launch a mattress stuffed with wool from its farming suppliers.
Dulux has declared that the colour of 2022 will be Bright Skies — a chalky blue, described as ‘good for the soul’. Since Dulux is the UK’s largest paints brand, this forecast is set to be influential.
Already furniture and furnishing companies are backing mid-blue as a top shade for next year.
Bright Skies works well with greys and beiges as well as yellows and oranges. Marianne Shillingford, Dulux UK’s creative director, expects that many of us will be carrying out minor makeovers for new lifestyles featuring these colours.
Another mid-blue option is Graham & Brown’s Breathe, described as being ‘dark enough to add colour and depth but light enough to remain refreshing’. This company’s wallpaper of the year is Restore Midnight, a pattern of exotic botanicals against a moody blue background.
If blue of any hue seems chilly to you, green is also forecast to remain in vogue. Glidden has announced that Guacamole is the shade of 2022.
The Smashed Avocado shade from Graham & Brown has the same soothing quality.
Farrow & Ball, which is proposing not one, but five colours of the year, is placing its bets on Stone Blue, a deeper shade, and the cheerful Breakfast Room Green.
It also recommends ‘Babouche’ (a yellow), Incarnadine (delightful crimson), and School House White (muted white).
This last selection could be an excuse to ignore trends and paint everything white. But this is not a quick-fix.
Shillingford says it is wise to test out all white paints before buying: ‘The same white will look different in different rooms and so you may have to choose more than one.’
Sitting pretty : Sheepskin chair, £1,100, The White Company
One word you will be hearing frequently is ‘tablescaping’, which means setting a table properly with candles, flowers and (artfully mismatched) crockery.
During lockdown, families dined together more and found it was fun to make supper an occasion.
John Lewis is reporting sales of dinnerware sets are 74 per cent higher than a year ago. Tablecloths are up 37 per cent.
How far will this move towards formality go? Could the Regency decor of Henry’s Townhouse become the rage?
This is the boutique hotel that has opened in the Marylebone house once occupied by Henry, Jane Austen’s brother.
At the beginning of this year, it was widely predicted that ‘Regencycore’ (who makes up these words?) would develop a fan base, thanks to the success of the Netflix series Bridgerton. Look out for more gilt mirrors and tea sets.
Lay on the lighting
The shift away from the industrial aesthetic is also happening in lighting. A lantern hung from the ceiling is a way to light up a hallway or staircase that is gloomy on short winter days.
But the smart choice is now a piece with a Victorian feel such as the Dorma Purity Nickson Globe from Dunelm (£100) or a geometric piece like the Norton from Wayfair (£76.99) rather than a fitting reminiscent of the lamps in a 1940s’ factory.
Also expect a further rise in the popularity of softer, more natural materials. Kate Watson-Smyth predicts that raffia and rattan will gain even more sway.
Rohan Blacker of Pooky, the lighting company known for its chic gathered plain and patterned lampshades, attributes these changes to a greater readiness to be more daring in one part of a home.
He says: ‘Lighting is an area where you can be brave, opting for something colourful even if you prefer the rest of your home to be more neutral.
‘The organic, rustic look, as exemplified by rattan, is gaining momentum. But there is also demand for more decorative pieces, like marbled lampshades and bases.’
The Pooky articulated reading floor lamp with a marble base and a gathered shade in a Matthew Williamson floral pattern (£455) exemplifies the new lighting tendency of cosy but elegant. And highly effective — which will come in handy as those nights draw in.