How just one item can create a focal point in a room and even spark a conversation

For 2020, statement-making in interiors has expanded to just about anything we like as long as it draws the eye towards it in the way a fireplace or television dominating a room would typically have done in the past, writes Carol O'Callaghan
How just one item can create a focal point in a room and even spark a conversation
Fashion designer Ted Baker's Pearl Grey rug (from €479 at Rugs.ie)
Made.com's Herman sofa is finished in finch grey cotton (from €700).
Made.com's Herman sofa is finished in finch grey cotton (from €700).

Last year we had the statement chair, a sleek designer number set apart from our comfy sofas as an expression of our taste in design, and quite incomplete without the essential accompaniment of a footstool.

For 2020, statement-making in interiors has expanded to just about anything we like as long as it draws the eye towards it in the way a fireplace or television dominating a room would typically have done in the past.

Fashion designer Ted Baker's Pearl Grey rug (from €479 at Rugs.ie)
Fashion designer Ted Baker's Pearl Grey rug (from €479 at Rugs.ie)

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a piece of furniture, nor even something outsize that draws the eye by scale alone. It could be something as simple as an accessory, a lamp, soft furnishings or some occasional furniture; even a cheeky little object picked up on holiday or while rummaging through a second-hand shop.

A little virtual shopping expedition threw up a few in vogue suggestions from the pricey to purse-friendly, but if you’re worried about something not working, remember the words of the legendary American interior decorator Bunny Williams: “If you love something it will work, that is the only real rule.”

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Once confined to crusty Scottish baronial piles, tartan is having a moment in interiors, although it’s hard to envisage translating it into a suitable look for the more modern and sometimes compact home without turning it into the set of Outlander.

Someone who does it with style, however, is Ralph Lauren. Famed for his chic coastal-inspired interiors, his navy blue tartan wool pocket square blanket is a sophisticated take on tartan -€99 at www.ralphlauren.ie- but if you want drama, Jean Paul Gaultier might just be your man.

Not only does he reference tartan in his couture collections and loves to gad about in a kilt, his furniture collection for Roche Bobois includes sofas and ottomans bedecked in the print (price according to size and fabric).

Floor art Nothing pulls a room together quite like a rug which these days goes beyond traditional pattern to take on an arty finish.

Ted Baker is another example of fashion designer-turned-interior designer, producing a rug collection including the Pearl Grey (from €479 at Rugs.ie). It’s an outsize floral with a contemporary painterly quality with just enough plain grey in one corner to site a table off centre.

ANYONE FOR COFFEE?

Speaking of tables, our favourite place to site drinks and newspapers in the living room, and even to raise tired feet, tends to be the coffee table, and hasn’t it come a long way from the rectangular shape which has always made it look like a mini-version of the dining table?

Eclectic yet functional design alternatives come in the shape of the covetable Bonaldo Pebble by Mattias Demacker (€583 at www.lomi.ie) with red and white or white and black finishes combining curvaceous futuristic design with handy storage.

GREY AREA

The ongoing love of shady tones sitting between the extremes of black and white means grey is now considered a neutral, so not much scope for making a statement with it. Or so I thought.

This chic black cane and velvet seated chair is from Interiosity (€495).
This chic black cane and velvet seated chair is from Interiosity (€495).

But just as I thought the overexposed statement chair wasn’t worth considering here, up pops a beauty made of black cane on a matching wooden frame with grey velvet seat which wouldn’t go amiss in a modern home.

So, if you’ve ever thought cane to be outdated, this one from Interiosity (€495) might change your mind.

Cushion soft Adding finishing touches to a room calls for the arrival of soft furnishings, in particular ever-useful cushions. The Foliage design from M&S (€30) blends several on-trend colours - yellow, orange and pink — but in muted form so they work together and make the necessary statement to draw the eye without being in your face.

IKEA has the large Nabbfly cushion cover (€4) offering some tropical fun to brighten up a plain sofa or even a dated one for the summer season.

For a little fun Ikea has this eye-catching banana-shaped ornament (€10).
For a little fun Ikea has this eye-catching banana-shaped ornament (€10).

The Scandinavian retailer, noted for its pared-back and streamlined designs, is injecting some fun into accessorising with the vivid yellow Kuperad ornament (€10).

Shaped like a bunch of reclining bananas and looking particularly authentic at that, it serves no function other than to attract attention and elicit a comment, if not a laugh.

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