Kya deLongchamps argues that simple styling in plain wood furniture & accessorising will simply never date.
Slavish trend following is for the truly, deeply terrified. Still, swishing through the glossy mags and trade show wins, trending does have its revelations.
From what some marketeer dreamed up as ‘New Ibiza’ charged by louche mid-century club life, the exotic, cultural appropriation of Jungalow (please, don’t even ask) and the return of pink charged neutrals with Dulux’s feted Spiced Honey - the room-sets show the survivors of years of recent year by year fashions.
Wood in the most revealed forms – barely beyond the polished plank or plain, oiled veneer has ridden out Scandi-chic, Industrial and neo-Bauhaus.
Whether you commission a very special bespoke piece of furniture or pick something up from the high street – look to honest, real timber to sit perfectly with a gentled industrial metal frame, to fly high in pared carpenter curls as a pendant, or to make a subtle golden stand against velvet heavy 1970s inspired new-luxe.
Natural fabrics and materials simply look better as they age, so opt for intrinsic character and build quality in a pure, classic line that will just as calming and gorgeous in 2029.
Silver blonde, wood framed furniture is everywhere this winter and it makes a superb support and gentle foil for modern plastics and the cool shine of glass and belted Formica.
Starting with Argos, with their highly celebrated collaboration with Habitat (UK), the Kilo nest of tables by Elling Ekornes and Trine Haddal Hovet with oak legs and taut steel tops say it all at just €120.
Pale wood will reflect out any small scratches in the finish – great in a busy family home-place.
The new Morbylanga dining table from IKEA with a tough, cross frame base is superbly designed – priced at €500 and in the low €900s for the table and four chairs.
Oiled oak over particle board explains the great price.
Remember those 1970s oak Dutch refectory tables we all picked up for a song in the 80s? Stripped and finished with wax to reveal their sumptuous medullary rays – they are now hot property in simple plank varieties.
Our favourite in chunky new supports and aprons (if you can beg them to deliver) are the Anton range in House by John Lewis with ladder book-shelving, and slyly mid-century oak kick out leg desks and tables, johnlewis.com.
Finally, for a dip of colour, the Milking & High Stools from Irish makers Snug are an established classic, at €75 a piece. Wedding coming – explore what this talented Wicklow studio can create and customise to suit, snug.ie. Total hunk of a chunk? Try Hardy rustic dining benches from €319 at EZ Living, ezlivingfurniture.ie.
Rustic wood tops matched to metal frame table legs have a tamed commercial styling, holding the spotlight for three years in every interiors catalogue that matters.
Carving, sticky dark lacquer, ornament and Italian flash – not what we’re looking for. In tables, sideboards and chairs, look for squared off seamless metal bar supports – they reflect a new interest in 1890s – 1950s steel crittall window frames – a touch of art deco amid the rustic industrial.
Dublin-based Barrell & Gunn was ahead of this trend by years with its bullet-proof, reconditioned gun barrel steel furniture. A bit heftier than the high street take, the boys can knock up anything you fancy. Stalk their frequent sale steals of handmade distressed furniture at facebook.com/BarrellandGunn.
For period crittall styling in windows and more, explore the work of Lambstongue of Chapelizod. For a really lucky kid – the EO table and chairs (two) takes the form of elephants standing on their trunks in lacquered birch ply (EO Denmark). Carol Anne of CA Design has such a great eye, €675, cadesign.ie.
We love the locker room vibe of Made.coms new Layne hallstand in mango wood set in matt black metal from its School-house collection.
It features a top hanging section (180cm high) and a generous box drawer seat – brilliant for throwing off coats and storing shoes at the back or front door, €439, made.com.
Notice here, as in many kitchen cabinets, handles are gone or recessed. Homesense always has a rolling collection of these kinds of handsome utilitarian pieces for knockdown prices.
€34 left in the kitty? Harvey Norman’s Tangra magazine rack?
In a pale, paulownia wood – super for an office or living-room. Do I really have to say it – go vintage hunting in the larger hangers of good second hand like CJM, Marina Park, Cork. Avoid cheap domestic junk. Instead, go commercial.
If it’s made for a factory, a hotel, a college or school, you might be surprised at that tough intact quality.
If you’re mixing woods in furniture, lighting and accessorising – give shifts in timber colour room to state themselves. Don’t be afraid of firmly made laminates and plywood in everything from elm, beech and even cork – these characteristic species are taking off even in kitchens with top London kitchen makers like Pluck, pluck.kitchen/design.