Embrace the pared-back look for your home
Trends move more slowly in interior design than in fashion, so when something new begins to take shape, there is a certain fizz of excitement. We all but put out banners announcing that ‘chartreuse is the new turquoise!’
But one recent development in design and decoration seems to have taken root unnoticed. Which is appropriate, as this is the emergence of a style that is by its very nature understated.
The New Simplicity is a refreshingly pared-back style, where a considered approach is used to fill – or not quite fill – a room. Don’t worry, we’re not returning to 1990s minimalism, with rooms that seemed to glare at you as you entered. The look is warmer and more relaxed. Think of it as an interiors sorbet to cleanse the palette, following the rich mix-and-match eclecticism of the Noughties. Today, more is not necessarily more.
There is, naturally, a sense of frugality in the air and a general desire to return to the basics. That’s why the restrained aesthetic of Scandinavian design has greatly influenced this look, not least in its use of natural light woods such as oak, beech and ash. Bethan Gray and Matthew Hilton are two British furniture designers whose work encapsulates this style, with designs that are elegant and honest and which have integrity.
This simplicity is anchored by a fairly neutral colour palette: black and white or white warmed up with pale grey, duck egg blue and chartreuse – which is, of course, the new turquoise.
The basics of New Simplicity will also sit well alongside other trends of the moment – from the ‘upcycling’ phenomenon (reviving and transforming furniture that’s seen better days) to the natural references of the Botanist trend.
Some designers have taken inspiration from simpler times, and so we’re seeing furniture shapes with a familiar, nostalgic 1950s feel – and even brands and pieces from that period relaunched for today’s home, such as ercol and the G Plan vintage collection, in collaboration with Hemingway Design . Meanwhile, wallpapers and textiles recall the abstract and energetic designs of that era and bring a dash of character.
For me, this is one of the most appealing aspects of this more considered approach to interior design. It is not about minimal, empty rooms. It’s about creating spaces that are uncluttered enough to see what you’ve chosen to put there. And that’s when our homes really begin to reflect who we are.