Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Dark side of the room

Abigail Ahern’s new range for Debenhams blends quirky animal life with darker tones. It isn’t what you’d call bright and breezy, says Trish Lorenz

High-street fashion retailers have seen the benefit of collaborations with big-name designers for some time: H&M’s Marni collection caused a stir among fashionistas  last year and this autumn’s  upcoming Isabel Marant collection for the store is likely to do the same. Now homeware brands are beginning to take a similar approach and  the pick of this year’s interiors  collaborations is Abigail Ahern’s  collection for Debenham’s.

Ahern is one of Britain’s best- known stylists and her Debenham’s range, which features 35 pieces, launches in stores and online from Sunday. Her idiosyncratic style is clearly in evidence with pieces including a hare table lamp and a wall-mounted rhino head sitting alongside mirrors, cushions and candelabra.

Ahern describes her approach to interiors as “traditional but twisted” and her pieces combine luxurious finishes with tongue-in-cheek  touches. Dark colours play a big role too. “I have an 80/20 rule; 80 per cent of objects are beautiful,  sophisticated and stylish; 20 per cent are quirky and fun,” says Ahern. “If everything is perfectly co-ordinated it can feel a bit uptight.”

“People think dark colours will feel depressing but the reverse is true; dark colours elevate any room,” she says. “They feel much more sophisticated and more glamorous than white and once you make a move to the dark side, you’ll never go back. I started with just one alcove in a dark grey and now dark shades are all over the house, it’s so transformative.”