Paris Design Week, which came to a close on Tuesday, marks the first big event of the design calendar. Kickstarting the year with a host of new furniture and fabric launches, it’s an opportunity to assess the decorative trends barometer: much of the furniture and accessories shown at Maison & Objet, the vast trade fair just outside the city, won’t be available to buy until September or later, so they give an indication of the current trends that are likely to stick around, and others that are bubbling under. Here are five that we spotted.
The modern stripe
The humble stripe is fairly perennial in terms of decorative motifs; but right now it can be seen in several different guises. In Paris, bold stripes in contrasting colours on satin cushions were a striking feature of HK Living’s new collection, while at Christian Lacroix Home’s pop-up with Designers Guild, sharp black-and-white striped upholstery fabric was combined with feather motifs and delicate, kimono-inspired prints for a maximalist pattern clash.
Colourful stripes are already available over here on cushions and accessories from John Lewis’s latest collection, and fashion-crowd favourite Christina Lundsteen’s accessories at Matches. Striped wallpaper is also on the up: vertical stripes (try Graham & Brown – give a room a tailored look, while a chevron motif adds energy and the opportunity to combine colours: Mineheart does colourful zigzag stripes, as well as a Bridget Riley-style monochrome design. For the truly bold, look out for the new collaboration between Hillary’s and Living Etc, which sees curtains and blinds with a striking zebra-stripe motif and coloured linings (from 3 March).
Corduroy: the new velvet?
Corduroy-covered furniture is a trend that has been building for a little while now, and looks set to come to the fore this year. As an alternative to velvet, it holds strong colour equally well but offers a more interesting (and forgiving) texture. Forget thoughts of 70s sofas: if you steer clear of brown shades you can avoid an overly retro look.
In Paris, armchairs and sofas in bold mustard and dusky pink looked both fresh and inviting. Many of these pieces are not yet available, but it’s a fabric that is slowly starting to appear in UK collections – see Rockett St George’s stone-grey lounge chair and footstool, and Arlo & Jacob’s House & Garden collection of sofas. If you have a piece of furniture in need of reupholstering, try Designers Guild’s new Corda range, a tactile but hard-wearing (and machine-washable) cord for upholstery, cushions or curtains, in a choice of 24 colours, from sky blue and primrose yellow to burnt orange and deep olive green.
A corduroy sofa or chair would look especially chic matched with a coffee table or lamp in cord-like fluted glass – another of this year’s rising trends – or perhaps the rattan-lined tables seen at uber-stylish French designer Sarah Lavoine’s Paris store (available here via madeindesign.co.uk).
Following on from the current trend for curvy furniture, there were plenty of designs in Paris that were plump in form, with an undeniably cute appearance. Ligne Roset showed new pieces due to hit stores in September, including some by in-demand German designer Sebastian Herkner, that were almost cartoon-like in form, yet sophisticated too thanks to velvet, wool or cord upholstery in chic shades. This 160-year-old French brand has been making appealing, characterful furniture since long before the current vogue took hold – its classic Pumpkin chairs and Togo sofas being cases in point.
Cute characters also had their place in Paris. Mickey Mouse and Snoopy may be unlikely interiors icons, but both have been given the pop-art treatment by the French sculpture company Leblon Delienne, which has collaborated with interior designer Kelly Hoppen on a limited-edition collection of white, black and, yes, taupe Mickey figurines.
Cane has started to take over from rattan as the smart way to do woven furniture, and there was lots of it about in Paris. Think bistro chairs with painted-wood frames and pale or multicoloured cane panels; smart daybeds; and cabinets with cane-panelled doors. It’s a light, natural look, but not as rustic or outdoorsy as rattan and bamboo. It’s already making inroads in the SS20 furniture collections here too, with cane-panelled furniture at John Lewis and H&M, and it’s a classic look with, perhaps, more longevity than other woven pieces – although there’s no sign of rattan falling out of fashion any time soon.
The holey look is crossing over into lighting, too, with perforated-metal pendant lights, wall lights and lamps offering a new take on metallic lighting. It’s worth noting that a punched-metal shade will allow light to filter through (unlike a solid metal one), to give a softer, more diffuse glow in a room. Brass and powder-coated finishes in soft colours also helped with this effect, and gave a modern alternative to the Moroccan-lantern look.
A natural palette
Neo mint, the trend forecasters’ hot colour for 2020, was in attendance, and it turns out a mint-green sofa or armchair might be easier to incorporate into an interior than one might think, particularly when executed in supersoft velvet and placed with contrasting tones of mustard and off-white. It also appeared on accent chairs and accessories, and was a background shade in many an installation, providing a calming look that complemented wooden furniture, the deeper green tones of house plants and other on-trend colours that stood out.
These included muted terracotta shades, which added a warming note to the cooler greens, and blush pink was still very much in the mix, looking particularly sweet on the aforementioned cord upholstery (check out interiors blogger Lisa Dawson’s Instagram feed, @_lisa_dawson_ to see just how well it can work in a modern home).
For lovers of richer colour, plum appears to be one to watch – the moody deep pink version of the shade, rather than strong purple – and is another that works well on sheeny fabrics, lacquer furniture and painted wood.
So to sum up, natural materials and textures remain on top; colours are much as they were, with some subtle variations; and when it comes to furniture, curves in soft fabrics are still the overriding characteristic. It’s the details – the contrast-colour stripe, corduroy accent chair or that specific shade of green or pink – that could give homeware collections a fresh update in the months to come.