Decorating hot list: best buys from the spring collections 

In bloom: fabrics and wallpapers from the Majolica collection at Designers Guild 
In bloom: fabrics and wallpapers from the Majolica collection at Designers Guild 

The spring home collections are hitting the shops and the good news is that there’s something to suit every type of decorator, from lovers of classic florals to modernist mavens. The trend for grey walls and Scandi-inspired furniture is waning: traditional furnishings are back in favour, albeit in peppy fabrics. And as for those walls, interiors obsessives are currently tickled by all things pink. The future looks bright.

Pink walls and furniture with classic good looks at Habitat 

Think Pink

Once relegated to little girls’ rooms, pink is currently the peak of chic for living rooms, too. A raft of design companies are presenting pink shades – from softest blush to punchy Pepto Bismol – it in a cool, contemporary way.

“When paired with darker colours such as navy or forest green, pink looks fresh,” says Amy Bradford, contributing editor at Elle Decoration. “A few pink accents also the perfect foil to all the rooms that everyone has been painting various shades of grey. The right shade of pink can look very pleasing on walls.”

Last year, Farrow & Ball launched Peignoir (£39.50 for 2.5l), a quiet pink with a dose of grey, and it has become one of its best sellers. Another Farrow & Ball classic, Setting Plaster, is perfect for casting a rosy glow without being too pink and looks pretty on bathroom walls when paired with marble tiles and brass taps. The look is currently a Pinterest favourite.

“Everyone wants to be cast in a flattering light in a bathroom, and pink is just the thing for that,” adds Bradford. Quite.

Coolicon's classic 1930s pendant is back in production 

The comeback

The best ideas always stand the test of time. Coolicon, purveyor of utilitarian pendant lampshades, had an instant hit with its enamelled steel lights when they launched in 1933, thanks to openings at the top of the shade which provided an ambient glow and cooled light bulbs (hence the name).

The Coolicon shade quickly gained popularity in factories and farm buildings during the 1930s and made an appearance in government and military offices in the 1940s, including Churchill’s War Rooms. The elegant yet practical lights were also used in BBC offices, NHS wards and and throughout the London Underground. However, by the 1970s, due to changing tastes and cheap imports, Coolicon’s popularity had waned.

But the classic shade is now back in production, and still made in England. Available in three sizes and several colours, prices start from £100. 

New designs from the Conran collection for Marks & Spencer

Get street smart

The high street is awash with designer collaborations these days, but one ongoing partnership that continually produces standout pieces is Sir Terence Conran’s range for Marks and Spencer. The spring collection includes a marble-framed circular mirror, brightly coloured crewel-work cushions (another trend that’s made a comeback) and a smoked glass-and-grass pendant light that looks a good deal more expensive than the £199 price tag.

The Nami chair by Doshi Levien for John Lewis

At John Lewis, London-based designers Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien have brought cutting-edge design to the high street. Spanning seating, lighting and carpets, the 13-piece Open Home range will be available in early April and is an attempt to address what Levien calls a “huge gap” between the world of high design and what’s available to the masses.

Inspired by mid-century Italian design and other European movements, each of the pieces is designed to look sculptural from every angle. The shell-like Nami chair (£1,119) is a future classic.

A Uncommon Projects plywood kitchen

Cabinet reshuffle

Calling all kitchen snobs – there’s a newly fashionable material in town: plywood. Yes, that’s right – chic homes in the capital are being kitted out in hardwood-veneered plywood cabinets by Uncommon Projects.

Founded in 2011 by the architect Alan Drumm and James Hoy, a product designer in the toy industry, the company produces cabinetry that is both practical and playful, often featuring brightly coloured inserts to open shelving. The overall effect is warm and homely but overtly modern – the urbanite’s equivalent of a traditional country kitchen.

Spring forward: Habitat's Hop cushion is just £12

Soft touch

In recent years, the cushion has become the homewares equivalent of the designer handbag, with the amount of choice and cost skyrocketing. In the long term, it pays to buy the best you can afford (Nina Campbell’s silk-velvet cushions, £240 each, are at the top of my wishlist).

But if you’re looking for a seasonal quick fix, try Habitat. The  high-street stalwart, which also now has concessions in Sainsbury’s stores, has an array of jaunty designs for under £35, which come with feather-filled pads. The “Hop” cushion features a sweet, hand-drawn hare print and is a snip at £12.

The Belgravia brass coffee table, £375, from Soho Home

Home-from-home

Nick Jones, founder of exclusive members club chain Soho House, added another arm to his global empire last summer – Soho Home, an interiors line of furniture, lighting, textiles and tableware featured in the various ‘houses’ around the world. Initially only available online, it now has a huge, shiny new shop-in-shop on the fourth floor of the London department store Liberty.

Jones has built his fortune providing comfortable homes-from-home with a cool edge, and the Soho Home range has a cosy English heritage feel (think Burleigh crockery, cable-knit throws and leather armchairs) with a few rock ‘n’ roll accents (art prints by the likes of Jonathan Yeo).

Big-ticket items include velvet Chesterfield sofas and four-poster beds, but it’s the small, glamourous touches that steal the show. Savvy shoppers should stock up on Thirties-style lighting (from £125) and cut-glass crystal barware that’s perfect for cocktail hour.

Bold florals feature in Designers Guild's spring collection 

Soft vintage

There’s heartening news on the style horizon for traditionalists: classic florals are blooming on furniture once more. After years of imploring us to chuck out the chintz, even Ikea is getting in on the act.

“The nostalgic floral trend brings back dainty floral patterns which have been missing from the home for the last few seasons,” says Jennifer Lowe, head of design at Ikea UK. “When paired with block whites or greys, florals will bring a classic look that doesn’t feel old-fashioned. Big statements are best made on bedding or through monochrome patterns on sofas.”

Tricia Guild, the colour queen behind Designers Guild, has never stopped championing florals and the new spring collection features some particularly pretty designs. Majolica was inspired by the vivid pigments of the classic ceramics and cascades of lush blooms have been printed onto tumbled linen. Ideal for curtains, blinds and bedcovers, prices start at £79 p/m. 

Painterly fabric by Kiki Slaughter for Feathr.com 

Prints charming

Wallflowers should avert their eyes: digitally printed wallpaper and fabric company Feathr.com offers bold, eye-catching prints designed by artists around the globe. As the business isn’t tied to the traditional wallpaper business models of seasonal collections, warehousing and high-street retail, small production runs of designs are possible and the continually-updated range is competitively priced.

“If you’re buying fashion, food or furniture, the digital world is now full of ways to buy from independent makers at reasonable prices, but that wasn’t the case when it came to wallpaper,” explains founder Tim Puukko. “When I was decorating my own home, the designs I liked cost around £300 per roll, so I realised there was a gap in the market.”

Feathr’s prices typically start at £100 for a 10m roll. The roster of talent is diverse and includes the experimental photographer Luke Evans who photographed slices of cow brain under a hi-res microscope to create a surprisingly beautiful marbled effect. The Oh La La wall mural by the American abstract artist Kiki Slaughter and tattoo artist Liam Sparkes’ irreverent designs are also worth a look.

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