You’re on holiday somewhere far-flung and exotic, full of sun-fuelled enthusiasm for the local style, and the next thing you know, you’ve bought something that will ‘totally work’ in your living room… It happens to the best of us. We live and learn.
In some ways, however, this universal ‘souvenir’ experience is part of a larger trend in contemporary interior design. As we widen our horizons from a focus on all things British in 2012, there is an increasingly international feel to decoration and an urge to introduce discovered elements into our homes. I like the idea of ‘curating’ your space with treasures that have been collected from afar – or look like they have been – and enjoying the cultural clash that is created by mixing them with what you already have.
For me this is a trend that is best realised with accessories, textiles and decoration, and is a chance to introduce elements from cultures that haven’t had a great showing in terms of western interior design.
In wallpapers and textiles this can mean prints that echo the style of the indigenous cultures of the Americas; with hand-drawn patterns and pleasingly imperfect geometric lines (see the Pioneer trend). Looking to the East, we find motifs that take their lead from the age-old ikat techniques and paisley patterns of central and south Asia.
Traditionally crafted elements that call to mind a handmade process are central to the global look and add a sense of integrity. The use of natural materials, such as raw woods, bamboo and cork, and the introduction of lush tropical prints are a celebration of the world’s bountiful nature.
Fashion and interior designers have both been inspired by the spoils of the spice trail this season. Look around and you will see a palette that includes cinnamon, saffron and cardamom – colours that evoke the heat of summer. These shades work well with blues against a white backdrop. A combination of deep, rich blues works beautifully, too.
Although contemporary interior design will always nod to simplicity, we should feel confident enough to add elements that have personality, tell a story, share an experience or inspire a feeling. Maybe it’s something we’ve picked up on our travels, or simply an object that reminds us that we are lucky enough to live in a big and diverse world.