The interior fashion soothsayers are on the rampage, filling our heads with new ideas to bring our homes bang up to date this season.
So, say goodbye to copper, the lone grey sofa sitting unadorned in splendid isolation, and industrial chic with its echoes of austerity.
Enter fun, glamour, even a touch of escapism and some much needed outdoor hygge. The latter must have been invented for an Irish summer, as where else would we need to create cosiness out of doors?
If you didn’t get enough of comforting, cosy hygge last winter, outdoor hygge may be the only way to go if we want to live in the garden or on the patio this summer.
“Get baskets together and fill with cushions and throws,” says Suzanne Walsh, interior designer with Ken Jackson Interiors. “Keep them near the back door, ready to sit outside for cool evenings. Faux animal skins thrown over chairs will add extra comfort. For atmosphere, candles in hurricane lamps will stop them blowing out if it’s breezy.”
Back indoors, tropical themes are looming large and for the last week, it’s certainly been tropical outdoors. Suzanne’s advice is to be brave: “Don’t be afraid to mix tropical colours like bold primaries and pastels. Pinks and watermelon hues work really well with inky blue and indigo.
“Try these on a single chair, or even in wallpaper on a feature wall,” she says. “A small space like a bathroom could have a fun element in a Roman blind.
“Cushions can also be used to introduce the trend in a small way and are easy to change when you want.”
Chic opulence is up next with the emphasis on the word ‘chic’, so tread lightly unless you want to end up on a collision course between Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago and Middle East dictator-chic.
Think, instead, of Art Deco with a modern twist, where straight lines meet luxury upholstery, finished with pleats and buttons and contrasted with subtle brass accents and polished metallic surfaces. Happily, it stops short of the mirror effect which is catnip to sticky little fingers, and the bane of whoever has to do the polishing.
It’s a sophisticated look, with plush velvets in jewel tones of emerald and sapphire, and semi-precious stone shades like amethyst, peridot, and agate.
“What I love is that there’s nothing garish here,” says Suzanne. “Mineral colours with metallics really work together for a mix of opulence and lightness.
“It’s easy and it even means we can finally mix grey with golds. People used to think it was one or the other, but we’re seeing grey sofas with gold in drapery.”
This brings us nicely on to the trend for colour which seems in no mood to go away, and has forced the once must-have, all-white look to fade into the background.
“Pastel hues, especially dusky and blush pinks, are soft and relaxing in an adult bedroom,” says Suzanne.
“And even though green is colour of the year, blue is a big trend, especially navy and indigo. In kitchens they’re being used to create a pop of colour on a single larder unit or island.”
Pattern can’t be ignored this season either. It’s big and getting bigger, both as a trend and by the sheer scale of prints available, but needs careful thinking about where they are best applied. Not everywhere will be suited to the whimsy of tigers prowling across your sitting room wallpaper, nor monkeys climbing trees, but it does cite the vogue for exotic escapism.
“If you’re trying to get a look you’ve seen in a magazine, scale it down,” Suzanne advises. “We don’t have those Georgian houses you see in London with their high ceilings which can take these patterns. Our houses are smaller with lower ceilings, so you could try the big pattern on a feature wall.”
Mixing patterns is the new big thing in scatter cushions and it offers an opportunity to put a personal and, if you like, exotic stamp on a chair or sofa.
“Open pattern books and see how swatches work together,” Suzanne suggests. “Decide on a colour palette and use cushions for a clash of patterns.
“Just one metre of fabric will make three 18” cushions. It’s not like you’re taking a gamble with a sofa which you want to last you 20 years.” Quite.”