Elaine Skinner, Founder of award-winning design practice Hops and Camellias (formerly Camellia Interiors), shares her thoughts on the design trends for the year ahead.
With a bumper number of sales agreed at the end of 2019, we know many of you are poised to become the proud owners of new property at the start of 2020. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for renovation and redecoration of your new home, or you need your property to make an impression in a crowded marketplace, Cornwall’s preeminent design expert Elaine Skinner has some very wise advice…
The latest trend is… you!
“In the world of bespoke interior design, trends have largely disappeared to be replaced with more emphasis on individuality. There are trends on the high street but designers don’t tend to pay much attention to this; we’re designing spaces with longevity in mind so the last thing you want to do is make a room look ‘very 2020’. At Hops and Camellias we talk in detail with clients about their personal style preferences at the beginning of a project, then we produce design boards which combine this sense of personality with an awareness of practical considerations – most importantly the location, the type and the ultimate usage of the property.
Think about the practicalities
I often see spaces which have been beautifully designed but are simply impractical, and begin to look worse-for-wear very quickly. I’ve seen it in ‘design hotels’, trendy coffee shops, even on luxury yachts. Practicality and durability are essential elements of design and any designer worth their fee will make sure they are carefully considered at every stage of the process.
In Cornwall we are lucky to be surrounded by a stunning natural playground, but that brings its own challenges. Many of our projects have involved bringing the outside in by accentuating every view, and conversely extending the living space outside as much as possible. That’s great, but we also have to think about where are the wetsuits going to be dried, where are the muddy walking boats going to be put away, and where is that ugly but very practical barbecue going to live? Design is all about solving problems rather than creating them.”
Don’t be afraid to use colour
“Stark white walls work well in slick modern spaces and art galleries, but not so well in characterful old Cornish properties. Neutral tones are very unforgiving when it comes to imperfections or blemishes, so they aren’t ideal for high-traffic areas. I also generally suggest that if you have a dark space, embrace it. A dark hallway, study or corner is often better painted in dark colours to accentuate that comforting feeling of being enclosed; if you go for neutral colours these spaces often just have a feeling of redundant space.
We’re getting used to bold, contrasting colours, elaborate patterns and rich textures. That sense of saturation doesn’t seem to offend our eyes in the same way anymore (this may have something to do with point 5 – see below) but remember, you don’t have to slavishly stick to an overhaul aesthetic – take what you want from the eclectic trend and leave the rest!”
Create cosy spaces for mindful moments
“Those cosy nooks and crannies are very desirable right now. Reading corners and snugs are the subject of many an Instagram post! I think there are two reasons for this. Firstly they are easy to style beautifully – you only need a few carefully-chosen pieces to make a window seat look fantastic. Secondly they appeal to our increasing need for mindful moments and peaceful spaces which fulfil our wellness goals. We want to envisage ourselves reading by a window rather than watching TV, or doing yoga rather than cleaning up after the kids!”
Think like an Instagram Influencer!
“I’m not sure it’s been scientifically proven, but it seems to me that our brains are developing the ability to process images faster than ever before. People are so visually aware these days, and make so many decisions based on the immediate aesthetic appeal of a space – on whether it is ‘Instagrammable’ or not!
This means that when we are styling a property for whatever reason it has to be extremely photogenic in every detail and from every angle. Of course this doesn’t matter when it’s your home (unless you happen to be a social media influencer of course!) but if you’re thinking of letting or selling then an awareness of what works well on camera is important.
As designers, we have to resolve this with the need for design which works on a practical level, creating spaces which are a pleasure to live in as well as photograph! Perhaps that’s why our design services are now more in demand than ever…”
To find out more about Hops and Camellias, or to get in touch regarding your own project, you can contact the team on 01872 561080 or email email@example.com.
We hope you enjoyed this article, and if you want to read more about Elaine Skinner, check out our next article, Top tips for living the Cornish Dream!