Dark botanical patterns are all the fashion

IT’S THE season of florals as bright yellow gorse and forsythia are starting to give way to the pink of cherry blossoms with their short burst of happiness. 

However, the way florals are translating into home interiors is not quite as cheery and light. Their treatment is quite different to what one would expect in spring with dark tones of blue and pinks set against black which creates a look that is not just moody but downright sulky.

It’s almost like a direct translation of the season’s catwalk fashions where florals mixed with smoky eye make-up and long hair that looks like it hasn’t seen a comb in months.

It’s the dark and melancholy side of happy, feminine florals but without the winter gloom.

So now the trend is here, what do we do with it at home?

Bedding down

Dark botanical patterns are all the fashion

Bed linen has always been the subject of floral application and this season we’re seeing the addition of leafy patterns, especially ferns. They’re a throwback to the Victorian era when ferns were the fashion plant of the day, set on pedestals in dark rooms with heavy drapery and chunky mahogany furniture.

In 2015, however, ferns are printed on dark fabrics, often in rooms painted in shades of grey. But the furniture is light, simple and streamlined, and drapery is flimsy to allow maximum daylight in. It’s the perfect mixture of light and dark with cosiness and clean lines — check out the M&S Eve linens from €27.

Abstraction distraction

A totally modern approach is to blow up florals to outsize in abstract print style, giving the happy flower a black and white moodiness.

The addition of a pop of colour lightens the look but at the same time dominates the eye-line and the space it’s placed in, so keep these florals for larger spaces which can carry the big pattern, and especially for modern homes. To get the look, Bolltistell quilt covers from Ikea start at €35.

Up the walls

Dark botanical patterns are all the fashion

Wall paper was a trend revival that no one thought would last. Its application and removal are hugely time-consuming which gave rise to the simpler project of the single papered feature wall — or just a chimney breast — leaving the other three walls for quick and easy painting projects.

This season we’re tempted by the all-over wallpaper look with scenes from nature. Wallpaper designers Barnaby Gates ‘Marrakech Palm’(£78 p/roll) blends the deep tonal blue made famous by Yves St Laurent’s Marjorelle Garden in Marrakech with gold palm motifs in a repeat pattern.

The gold is a toned down version and a more sophisticated look than the vivid yellow detailing used by St Laurent in plant pots and garden ornaments, and better suited to our darker and colder northern light.

Floored by florals

Dark botanical patterns are all the fashion

Rugs can introduce a look, whether it’s a new colour or a style, and make a dramatic impact but without the labour and permanency. If you decide you don’t like it, you can just whip it up and replace it, whereas with paper and paint there’s more effort involved in rectifying a mistake.

Use the opportunity to introduce an outsize floral and take a chance on dark and moody, especially if the rest of the furnishings are light in colour and streamlined in design with accessories kept simple.

Casey’s Furniture’s Tropics rug (from €319) features muted leafy motifs set against a background of black with a pop of eye-catching lavender.

This moody approach to florals is a refreshing change from twee chintzes but it can be overdone.

The trend works equally well in clothing as it does in upholstery, drapery, linens and floor rugs, and you’ll find exactly the same patterns for all of them.

So it’s not totally beyond the realms of possibility that should you wear your highly fashionable floral dress round to a friend’s house, you might disappear into their newly upholstered sofa.

Next week: lighting trends.


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