I was thrilled to be asked by Villa Nova to do a trend presentation recently for the Focus14 event at Chelsea Design Center as part of their ‘Access all areas’ at the end of September. Having been milling around London Design week, I was all eyes to see what was hot in interiors.
One of the strong trends I saw coming through is what I’m calling ‘Raw’. This design trend is all about celebrating natural materials in their raw state, and I must admit, I love a bit of rough. Rustic wood, metal and stone finishes being celebrated as nature intended, complete with rough edges.
The other key story here is the handmade-ness of furniture and furnishings.Handmade is certainly the new luxury as we are shunning mass produced in favour of something that appears more honest, has more soul. If you can see the craftsmanship in some hand embroidered fabric or the divots made by the chisel then there is an innate feel good factor that many of us are craving right now. The whole unpolished look lends itself to a very relaxed vibe, laid back, homely and inviting without an antimacassar or coaster in sight!
Furniture that has a few knocks, tells a story and has the patina of age immediately makes you feel relaxed and at ease. So pre-loved and vintage items fit in really well with this look, as do found and up-cycled stuff. This all goes to make this look very easy and affordable to pull together. You just need to know the rules.
However you can also juxtapose the look with cleaner more sharp edged furniture- it can look very striking. The tip is to keep the walls and floor neutral so the rawness of the material materials like wood and stone and linen can be accentuated. The beauty is this look works whether you have a city pad or a place in the country- you just have to tweak it to fit your style. It can look modern or charming, boho or slick. The colour palette is mainly neutral, inky graphite grey, wood, steel, copper, linen, stone. But you can have fun adding a accent of colour but I’d choose an earthy tone in order to pull it off.
With the natural materials it makes sense to pair this look up with natural motifs and textures like leaves, branches, seedpods and grasses. Think less English country garden and more windswept coastal path or woodland trail.
To take this look up a notch I’d like to see it with some high contrast polish. Think about setting your rustic pieces off with some metallic highlights. The go-to metallic for accessories is still very much copper, but brass or gold would be equally appealing. Next think of slipping in a little luxury, some swoonworthy velvet, some polished marble, some hand-blown glass to twinkle amongst the matt textures.
I think styling wise, I’d keep the whole look louche. Pictures casually propped up on picture shelves or across a sideboard rather than hung. A collection of forest walk finds like pine cones, seed pots, small branches popped in a vase all add to the natural appeal. You could also give a nod to the coast with pieces of beach-combed finds. Just as the seasons change so can your displays so make collections of what ever is around the changing countryside be it a bowl of autumnal beech nuts or a jug of summer hydrangeas. It’s time to get in touch with the simpler things in life.