LOVELY LONDON KNOTS

This week I want to take some time to spread the word about a wonderful little independent business that one of my lovely friends has recently started up. I don’t write my blog for profit, only for passion and so I really do mean it when I say that this lady is super creative and her work really does deserve some attention. So if I may, let me tell you all about London Knots.

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First off I asked Lisa, the founder of London knots to tell me a bit about her business to give you all an insight into what she is about…

“I got the idea for London Knots when I was 36 weeks pregnant and trying to finalise the décor in my baby’s nursery. I couldn’t quite find what I was looking for, so I decided to set a challenge and make myself a wall hanging. After my daughter was born, I decided to challenge myself again to make another macramé piece (in between her naps!) and I made a plant hanger. And so the addiction began! 
For me, macramé has become a form of therapy. I really enjoy the creative process and seeing my ideas come to life. It took some experimenting to find materials I really love and following encouragement from friends, I finally opened an Etsy store to sell what I make.
I love to make wall hangings and plant hangers, all with quality natural cotton rope. I like to add colour by dip dying the plant hangers or weaving colourful yarn through the wall hangings and I name each design after one of my nearest and dearest.
I have also added pattern instructions for some of my larger wall hangings to my Etsy store, something I struggled to find when I was starting out. These have been popular which just proves there are a lot of people out there who love to craft for themselves!
I am so excited to see where London Knots will take me next.”

 

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The ‘Natasha’

 

 

plant hangers

The ‘Jen’

 

So for those of you who aren’t aware, macramé (pronounced ma-kra-mi), is the textile art form of knotting and hitching and dates back as far the Victorian era but gained most of its popularity in the 60’s and 70’s, during the age of hippie culture when boho became big in interiors. The beauty of this stylish home accessory is that, although it was originally made popular through bohemian design schemes, it is a versatile décor trend which can fit into many different styles of interior, beyond modern boho. In fact when used in the right way, it can really compliment an array of schemes – Scandi, rustic, minimalistic, ethnic, costal, urban, rough luxe, global and native American just to name a few. This is thanks to the beauty of its diverse forms, mixed materials and captivating structures.

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The thing that I personally love most about macramé is how indulgent the textures and shapes are. Hanging a piece on a plain wall will inject an instant dose of tactile splendour and if you decide to go big with your macramé, an eye-catching focal point can be achieved which will really ground the design of the room. I for one will certainly be investing in some of this beautiful wall décor as soon as I have finished renovating and redesigning my living room and I can’t wait to see what designs Lisa has been working on when I am ready to add one of her beautiful pieces to my scheme.

 

If you would like to take a better look at what London knots has to offer you can visit the Instagram account

https://www.instagram.com/london.knots

Or if you are interested in maybe buying some macramé of your very own then you can find Lisa’s work on Etsy too

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LondonKnotsCo

 

Alternatively if you would prefer a more tactile approach, London Knots will also be showcasing at a couple of London Christmas markets this year:

Sunday 26 November 2017 – Pop Brixton (All day)
Thursday 7 December 2017 – Locus of Walthamstow (5pm – 8pm)

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUMMER LOVING

Summer is very nearly, almost here – Hooray! Okay so its been pretty grim this week with all the rain but we can at least start to get excited for summer right?

Yes of course we can and I’ll tell you where I’ve been getting my summer interior inspiration from lately, the wonderful treasure trove that is Next Home. I do love having a mooch around this store, they always have fresh and stylish homewares and beautiful displays and I admire how their in house designers manage to translate the latest trends into their own brand, creating collections that are so easy to fall for. I often have to stop myself getting carried away and buying the whole series of homewares from some of their collections because I love the look of their style concepts so much! (By the way I don’t get paid to say this by Next Home unfortunately, I just really do like their stuff!)

Anyway on a recent trip to Next Home, I had only been in the store for approximately ten seconds before I got a bit over excited about a beautiful global tribal inspired display, went to pick up a lovely geo weave pom pom cushion and accidently knocked over a whole row of plastic garden gnomes one of which smashed into several pieces…whoops! Luckily the shop assistant was very nice about it but I was still pretty embarrassed!

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Stupid plastic gnomes getting in the way of my excitable browsing!

Basically I was in interior styling heaven and I lost count of the amount of times that I said “ooooooo isn’t that lovely” or “that is soooo nice” (and yes I was shopping on my own and so was talking to myself!). The whole shop had a real summery vibe with bright colours, globally inspired prints, tropical themed accessories and lots of focus on bringing the outside in, it really got me excited for summer and left me feeling inspired.

First up I wandered through the ‘Cuba inspired’ section which was bursting with vivid colours , unique patterns and eye catching textures. Cuban décor is all about eclectic mixes and the use of colour to enrich and engage and Next have certainly managed to encompass this in their range.

“Bring the colourful Cuban climate indoors, with fruity lamps and parrot-dise inspired bed linen. Really hot reds and leafy greens will add a little jungle into your home…” – NEXT HOME

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Bold use of tangerine orange with contrasting tile effect wallpaper gives a very Cuban feel

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Jungle green velvet sofa complimented with jungle plant motif cushions and curtains, fall in line with the Cuban style ethos of using eye-catching and unique patterns

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Graphic and bold patterned bed linen,vivid colours and more jungle inspired prints, creates a warm and vibrant bedroom scheme

The Tropical trend is big news this year with Living etc. citing that “the tropical trend that’s been growing wild of late, evidenced on the Spring/Summer 2017 catwalk which was rumbling in the jungle , with Max Mara’s models covered in exotic plants and animals” in their ‘Catwalk comes home’ article this month. Next home have taken this trend on board with open arms and worked this style into their summer homeware ranges with vast enthusiasm.

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Jungle monkey cushion which could work well as a statement piece on a sofa or chair to promote a tropical botanical room scheme

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I love a reed diffuser and this one is simply gorgeous, the emerald green bottle and artificial palm leaf finished off with gold lettering, is super stylish and bang on trend

As I wandered further around the shop I came across more totally tropical inspired homewares but this time more playful…

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I’ll have one of everything please!

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Pineapples were a hot trend last year and they are still going strong this year it seems..

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..along with flamingos who seem to be cropping up in design trends all over the place

So if you fancy giving your home a touch of summer love, in preparation for the scorching hot summer we are about to come into (here’s hoping!) then get yourself down to Next Home for a browse (I really don’t work for them I promise). Here’s to summer and all things tropical!

ECLECTIC STYLE

I am a huge, huge fan of eclectic styling in interiors. I love to fuse different styles together in my own home and I enjoy the challenge of making a variety of different looks work harmoniously in one space, creating a more unique and quirky style that gives the room more depth and visual interest. Although I can fully appreciate a more cohesive approach to interior design and enjoy creating schemes for my clients that promote a higher level of continuity, with spaces that flow effortlessly and that follow a clear and direct style approach, I personally enjoy using my creativity to mix styles and create looks that think outside the box.

Now as much as I love this approach to design, it isn’t easy to get right. As soon as you embrace this more experimental method of styling, you are in danger of getting yourself in a muddle with what does and doesn’t work. Ultimately regardless of which styles you choose to combine, a careful balance needs to be executed so that the space looks considered as oppose to disordered!

 

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This room appears to be having a personality crisis! Other than the fact that there are way too many decorative items on display, there is a serious mixture of different styles going on here and the result is a room that has very low visual appeal and quite frankly makes me feel a bit nauseous!

 

So how do you get it right? What methods can be used to achieve a successful eclectically styled room, which oozes aesthetic appeal and engages everyone who enters it without being too overpowering?

Here are my top tips on how to implement this style in your own home….

 

Firstly what is eclectic style in relation to interior design?

Well put simply it involves a fusion of contrasting styles to create a look which encompasses more depth and rewards you with a bit more edginess, to name a few – Antique & Contemporary, Industrial & Luxe, Modern & Rustic, Scandi & Mid-Century Modern, Botanical & Glam, Art Deco & Minimalist the list could go on forever….

In essence it’s about finding styles that appeal to you and exploring ways of combining them together successfully to create a design that is filled with textures, colours, patterns and furniture that you love.

BUT this doesn’t mean that you just chuck together every style of furniture, fabric, paint colour, lighting and wallpaper that takes your fancy, into one room….you need to be selective to get it right and combine things that are different yes but that work in harmony with one another and this is the tricky bit!

 

RULE ONE: METHODICAL MIXTURES

A key factor to eclectic styling is contrast, this is the backbone of the aesthetic and what draws the eye around a space. However the room needs to have some common ground, however subtle this is, otherwise you are in danger of creating an eye-sore. A popular example of this is having a collection of mismatched dining chairs. This can look so great when executed well and it really does add depth and quirkiness to a space with very little effort. Here are some examples of how to get this design method spot on…

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same colour + different design

 

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same design + different colour

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same style + different design

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old + new

 

RULE TWO: CONSISTENT COLOUR

Choosing at least one unifying colour will help to bring a scheme together regardless of the contrasting styles. This could be a strong colour such as magenta or a neutral such as dove grey, choose a colour that appeals to you and use that to anchor the look and to promote some structure with consistency.

 

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A Contemporary & Traditional fusion which uses denim blue and white as the unifying colours

 

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This Industrial & Luxe style room uses cobalt blue to bring the scheme together

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This Rustic & Retro Scandi room invites the use of grey and mustard yellow to equalize the look

 

 

RULE THREE: STEADY REPITITION

You don’t need to rely solely on colour to keep the look from losing its identity, using visual echoes in shape, pattern, texture and finish can also help to promote balance and structure.

 

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Pattern repetition in the wallpaper and the bolster cushion reinforces a feeling of continuity in this eclectically decorated room

 

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This bedroom showcases a series of squares in the flooring, the wall décor and the cushions which prevents the space from feeling too disjointed despite the mixture of styles

RULE FOUR: AN UNFUSSY BACKDROP

This rule is simple, quite literally. Keep the backdrop for all of your eclectic treasures simple and plain. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to white walls, just be mindful of keeping the wall treatments not too busy, avoid heavily patterned wallpaper and instead opt for a plainer design or plain painted walls. Perhaps create a feature wall with one of your chosen accent colours if you prefer to be a bit more daring or you could even add some panelling to create a bit more of a dynamic but remember in an eclectic space, when it comes to the wall treatment – less is more. You can always fill the plain walls with some beautiful pieces of art or prints, get a statement floor lamp or a decorative wall mirror, all of which are easy to change as the room evolves over time.

 

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A solid, plain backdrop gives this boho chic bedroom the freedom to showcase all of its beautiful patterns and textures without the room feeling too busy

 

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More plain walls creating a lovely backdrop for this mid-century modern luxe living room

 

RULE FIVE: DON’T OVERPOPULATE INSTEAD ROTATE

The final rule is, don’t get too carried away! I love going to flea markets and homeware shops that are full of trinkets and treasures and I often have to try hard not to buy literally everything that catches my eye. By all means buy new pieces for the room but don’t overfill it with too many pieces. I use this rule in my own house and once I am bored with a piece of wall décor, an ornament, a cushion or even a lamp I rotate it with a new piece. Then when I fancy a change or want to give the room a bit of a facelift I may rotate the same piece with something else. You don’t have to buy something new every time, store things away for a while once you have replaced them, you may find another place in the house that they will fit instead or you may want to reintroduce it when you redecorate. The main thing to remember is don’t try and cram too much in, leave a bit of negative space between things and choose wisely and thoughtfully.

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Getting it wrong: This room feels a bit too cluttered thanks to the excessive amount of wall art, not enough care has been taken here to be selective about the pieces

 

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Getting it right: This room has got a perfect balance and feels much more ordered. The cluster of wall art has plenty of negative space either side, allowing the eye to be drawn to a single focal point and giving the wall space more clarity

 

Are you feeling brave enough now to try and mix some styles? I hope this has given you a little more confidence to be your own curator and enhance some of the spaces in your home, with a touch of eclecticism…

The Beauty of Marble

I used to think of marble as being a superbly affluent material, associating its use with wealthy people and admiring its beauty from afar…

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During the course of 2016 this luxe material started to slowly crop up in interiors everywhere, Pinterest was heaving with it, leading design experts were gushing over it and it featured heavily in Interior Design programmes on the television. Not only limited to flooring and worktops, marble was being presented to us in a number of different forms. From elegant coffee tables to faux marble effect wallpapers, this minimalist material provided us with a chic and stylish design finish in many a design scheme throughout the last year.

 

 

So now that 2017 is in full swing, is this trend still relevant? Well the answer, much to my delight is…..YES! It appears that for now marble is here to stay, with the likes of Vogue forecasting a rise in the use of ‘marble and brass combinations’ in kitchens and bathrooms…

BUT hold on a second, kitchens and bathrooms! Come on Vogue lets be realistic here, I for one don’t want to have to re-mortgage my home in order to fit a new luxurious white marble kitchen, as lovely as that would be….Fear not I am here to share some ways for all for us to indulge in this beautiful design trend without having to renovate any part of our homes…phew!

In a recent trip to my firm favourite supermarket homeware store, yes you’ve guessed it good old Sainsbury’s TU, I came across some beautiful marble and brass combination homewares, that are both affordable and stylish much to my excitement!

 

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This gorgeous marble and brass pedestal mirror is on my wish list – Sainsbury’s TU, £20

 


 “It’s that combination of something very natural and clean, like white marble, and something industrial, hard, and a little bit glamorous with the brass.” – Young Huh

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“Marble, especially in shades of white and light grey, will be one of 2017’s biggest design trends.” – Zillow Digs

 

 

So although marble can be grand, it is not just a look to be indorsed by the rich and the famous and if chosen wisely and used in small doses, this gleaming stone can add a classic and stylish touch to any décor. As far as I can see, this timeless material will remain a firm contender in the hottest trends for 2017 and I for one will be indulging in at least one marble luxe piece for my own home, how about you?

Here is some more affordable inspiration for you my lovelies…

 

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Marble and Brass desk lamp – Next Home, £50

 

 

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Athena Coffee Table, Iron and White Marble – Swoon Editions, £229

 

 

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Marble Coasters – Sass & Belle, £19

 

 

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Marble Chopping Board – Flamingo Gifts, £14

 

 

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Three arm gold and marble base jewellery stand – Oliver Bonas, £29

 

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White Marble Shelf with Brass Brackets – Mia Fleur, £74

Throws, Throws, Throws…

 

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This week I’m going to talk to you about the wonderful concept of styling with throws. I can’t champion this idea enough because it is so simple and so affordable that literally anyone can do it, which is fabulous!

Aside from cushions, I would say that using throws is the easiest and most effective way to dress either a bed, a chair, a sofa or even a table. They offer different colours, textures, styles and detailing and can really bring a scheme together as well as adding more aesthetic depth.

 

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This neutral white chair greets the contrasting colours of the two throws, helping to create a much stronger aesthetic and a more unique style.

 

 

I for one am a bit of a wimp when it comes to buying large upholstered items of furniture for example, a sofa. I wouldn’t be brave enough to go for a bold print or a bright colour, for fear of it being too overbearing or it becoming dated too quickly, which could be an expensive mistake to make. If you are like me and you have opted for a plain or neutral coloured sofa, then throws are for you! You really can give your sofa a new lease of life with an injection of colour or texture, which will help to soften the hard edges and introduce more depth and comfort, without having to fork out a fortune.

 

 

Spring may have just sprung and you may be thinking, isn’t the point of having a throw on the sofa so you can snuggle up on those chilly winter evenings…but turn that idea on its head and you will soon realise that this concept is in fact transeasonal and not restricted to practicality alone but can also play a part in the styling and visual impact of a room.

Do you have a recurring colour which features in a room, for example in cushions, a lampshade or even a vase? Why not introduce a throw in the same colour to promote continuity and enhance the definition. Does the room have lots of colour but lack any depth? Why not introduce a throw which features some texture or detailing such as pom poms or tassels to lift the scheme and broaden the overall aesthetic. The same rule applies with a recurring pattern or texture as well…

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Colour Coordinating with Emerald Green

 

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Pattern continuity in the cushions and throw

 

 

Use throws with bolder patterns or textures to add vibrancy and a livelier aesthetic or plainer throws to compliment the colours or textures in your existing scheme. I love this idea so much because once you are bored of using one throw, you can simply change it for a new one. I have a collection at home and I often just change them around and store the others away, maybe get out your light, pastel coloured throws for Spring and your darker more sumptuous throws for Winter. You will be amazed at how different your bed or sofa will look just by using this trick, honest!

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This throw has it all, bright colour, striking pattern and textured giant pom poms, it works well to liven up this neutral chair

 

TEXTURE is set be a big trend this year, with the likes of global trend ambassador, Patti Carpenter, forecasting that “designers will be engaging their clients and customers on a textural level this year. It’s part of a larger macrotrend of comfort and having a place to rest in all the chaos and information we’re constantly having coming at us.” So why not try out this trend yourself with some beautifully textured throws..

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Chunky knit throws are all about the texture

 

 

There are a vast array of throws to choose from, any colour, texture, style and detailing that you can imagine, so why not cleverly update a piece of furniture or breathe some life into a plain looking bed. Have fun with it and enjoy my lovelies.

RAW WHITE IS A BIT OF ALRIGHT

 

 

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The subject of today’s blog looks at another trend forecast for 2017 and one that has got me particularly excited – “raw white”.

In amongst the more prominent of design predictions, raw white is rumoured to be a hot trend this year, much to my delight because…it’s my absolute favourite!

Now I know that some of you may be thinking but white is just white but I am here to tell you that in fact there are too many shades of white to even name (yes really!). I’m not going to give you all a lesson in the different shades of white, rather give you an introduction to the dreamiest whites of them all…

 

 

                                                          BONE WHITE                 CHALK WHITE                          

 

These perfectly imperfect whites are both naturally and organically inspired and pared back, as opposed to slick and polished and although this colourless shade is almost certainly neutral beyond comparison, ‘raw whites’ which reflect a chalky or bone like quality offer the prospect of a more earthy and homemade vibe to the home.

But why is this set to be such a hot trend for this year, why is raw white so relevant now? Well I’ll give you a clue, I’m staring at one right now…

In truth most of us spend a large proportion of our day staring at a screen of some sort, be it a computer, a mobile phone or a television and many design experts believe that we are becoming more and more desensitised to textures, more specifically natural textures.

 

 

We are all in need of some more tactile texture and these types of white, with their wholesome and raw properties look simply stunning when used in the form of textured surfaces and finishes, as opposed to the all too familiar flat, glossy white which feels so much more sterile and has fast become the generic face of one of our modern neutrals over the years.

 

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I upcycled a wooden vintage desk that I bought around a year ago from an antique dealer, using Annie Sloane Chalk Paint and the results were beautiful. I love the chalky, unfinished look that the desk now has, it feels new but hasn’t lost any of its character and its chalky surface is calming and natural.

 

 

With nature inspired trends such as modern boho and scandi still dominant in the world of interior design, home décor and paints which offer these raw white shades and organic textures are easy to source and I am looking forward to adding a bit more texture to my own home to cancel out some of the flat screens which seem almost impossible to avoid.

Here are some examples to inspire you my lovelies…

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GREEN IS FOR GO!

In my professional practise as a designer I wouldn’t say that I religiously implement the latest design trends into all of my work. Design trends primarily occur on an annual basis but do alter slightly every season, much like the fashion on the catwalks. Each client has different needs and preferences and sometimes the current trends just don’t suit the individual design brief. Equally in my own home I don’t necessarily style each room based around the latest design crazes, I am a huge fan of mixing styles and injecting unique and quirky elements into a space, so I often go against the grain but I do fall for certain trends from time to time (like I had and still do have a bit of a mad obsession with all things geometric, a trend that was big in 2016 but is slowly becoming a little less relevant this year).

However having said that, I do take a great interest in the arrival of new design trends and styling techniques and almost constantly have my head in the latest copy of Living etc or scrolling through the latest blogs on Elle décor, absorbing the forecasts for future trends and taking some level of inspiration from the latest crazes. After all, as important as it is to have your own style, it would be foolish of me to completely ignore any of the latest trends, right!

Which leads me onto the subject of this post, the biggest colour trend of 2017…

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Now for those of you who are wondering, Pantone is a corporation headquartered in New Jersey, USA and basically they are the leading experts when it comes to predicting colour trends, they are the ‘colour trend oracle’ if you like. All interior designers and stylists wait in anticipation for their annual ‘colour of the year’ forecast, which is usually announced in December every year and reflects the global view point on the movement on colour across current and future trends for the new year ahead.

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“A refreshing and revitalising shade, greenery is symbolic of new beginnings” – Pantone

 

Now it has to said that 2016 wasn’t exactly the best of years and lets be honest, most of the world is feeling a bit downtrodden as we have landed into 2017. The reason that this particular shade of green is relevant to this is largely to do with what it symbolises. It has been described as a fresh, optimistic colour which signifies Spring and new beginnings and which in turn encourages us to embrace this new year with a more positive outlook. With the current unsettlement of the world’s political and social environment, quite honestly aren’t we all craving a bit of positivity now?

Forbes magazine have summed up a description of this colour beautifully concluding that – “Greenery calls to mind the ‘re’ words REFRESH, REVIVE, RESTORE, RENEW, REPLENISH, REGENERATE, REJUVINATE, REINVIGORATE, RE-OXYGENATE”

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Now I’m not suggesting that you go out and buy a load of green paint for your walls and buy every bit of green homeware and décor that you can get your hands on…

But why not have a go at embracing this new colour trend in your own way, whether it be with a bold statement or a subtler approach, perhaps our much loved modern neutral ‘grey’ could do with a bit of livening up this year. If you are feeling up to the challenge, why not have a go at incorporating some of this luscious green colour into your home and here’s to a much happier and greener 2017.

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Do you dare to go bold with a statement piece of furniture like this 1958 two seater sofa by Oliver Bonas

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Or perhaps you would prefer to revitalise your décor with a more subtle statement like this Mosaic Wool Throw from Ville & Champagne