Trend forecaster Susan Llewellyn predicts the future

Why curtains, mandarin yellow and crystals will stand the test of time, learns Annie Deakin

‘Trend forecasting is very important,’ says Susan Llewellyn, veteran of the interiors industry. ‘If people are spending money on an interior designer, they want to know that the creative schemes will last and won’t quickly date. It’s not a very good advertisement if something looks 2000 and it’s the year 2011. Designs need longevity.’

Llewellyn, who hosts workshops on trend forecasting and the psychology of design at the Susan Llewellyn Academy, was speaking on the subject at the Ideal Home Show. What prompts a trend forecaster to predict tomorrow's beige? The national mood, economic state and high profile issues all play their part. ‘I’ve taken nature as part of my trend forecasting. To me, one of the most important things to look around is the natural world and the natural colours. We’ve exploited our world for so long and people now want ecological friendly designs. We need to give back to our earth that has done us so proud for so many millenniums.'

How will this preoccupation with our earth affect what is in our own homes? Natural materials like concrete, different textures like linens and khaki colours will stand the test of time. ‘Instead of a completely smooth surface, there should be a slight roughness about it.' According to Llewellyn, bathrooms with cement walls and floors will continue to be popular for a long time. 'They have an ecological sustainability about them. A harsh background softened by angora throws, lush bath mats and scented candles is the sort of feeling that will stay around for a while.'

Future trends are a judgement of society, of its financial situation as much as its catwalks. The current resurgence in curtains, Llewellyn explains, is a post credit crunch desire for indulgence. Skirt hemlines may fall lower during hard times but the opposite happens to curtains. 'I think people are going to use curtains more and more again. During a recession, curtains go out because, due to the amount of fabric needed, they’re not cheap to make. I believe that there is now more hope and optimism. People are going to want to go back to glamour, and as a result, buy curtains.'

Earthy colours like blues and yellows are, according to Llewellyn, the ones to choose for a lasting interior. 'There are several schools of thought,' says Llewellyn. 'Many people are now thinking minimalism is a little boring and not exciting enough.' It all comes back to the world around us; 'Our earth is very dry. Water is now a commodity because it is very scarce. Blues have become very important to us now because of its rarity.' Llewellyn, who describes herself as a 'colour purist', advises choosing indigo blues, like lapis lazuli, which will remain on trend for years to come. 'If you have a bland room, have the courage to introduce luminosity with an indigo blue, purple or bright mandarin orange. Take it further than just cushions, go bigger. Upholster a chair in a strong colour.'

Llewellyn's colour schemes for the next decade are not for the faint-hearted; 'Purple has started to be popular and will continue to be so. Pink is still very much in existence but if we’re predicting forward, I’d say yellow is the new pink. A lot of people don’t like yellow but the right tone can be very inspiring and invigorating. I’ve used E&O mandarin yellow for curtains trimmed with jet black for a client’s drawing room. It’s very dramatic; I really like it.'

As for lighting, Llewellyn envisages a future of chandeliers and crystal decorations. 'No matter how humble your bedsit or terraced house, crystals make you feel good about yourself. The main thing now is that people want to be uplifted in their homes. When they get back from work, they want to feel glamorous. There is nothing more beautiful than a crystal trim on a curtain. When the sun shines through, it creates a prism which dances on the floor or the walls giving a very spiritual and uplifting feeling.'

Annie Deakin is interiors writer for sofa and interior design website mydeco.com.

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