Say goodbye to shabby chic: The essential design guide to the year ahead

From honeysuckle hues to bright and bold prints...
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If the recent snow is anything to go by, there'll be a bitterly cold start to 2011. So it's no wonder that we'll be retreating into our homes and seeking comfort and warmth in all things to do with our homes as we kick off the new year.

"At the end of 2010, I've already been noticing a real trend in clients moving away from glossy, sharp-edged style," says Kia Sunda, founder of the boutique London interior design company Kia Designs. "They are going for materials and finishings that are more natural and warmer, aiming for something sexy and luxurious with different textures and prints to create layered comfort. They are definitely looking for more comfort and richness in colour and warmth at home."

Earlier this month, international trends group IMM Cologne predicted that interiors trends for 2011 will be dominated by a preference for simplicity, natural materials and the idea of living well, while style analytics website predicts we'll be looking for "products that evoke romantic notions of bygone eras but that function with tomorrow's technology."

Interiors style blogger Ally Kim, who blogs on design trends at and whose home has featured on the ultimate design site,, agrees. "For 2011, it's going to be all about cosy and comfortable. We're going to move away from industrial looks and move to modern twists on country rustic style, heated up with ethnic textiles."

So just how will homestyle lovers be injecting a little warmth and style into their homes this year?


The Pantone Colour Institute, the authority on all things colourful for fashion and interior design, has already spoken. It predicts that next year's hue that will be appearing on our walls and home accessories will be honeysuckle, a shade which is neither pink nor orange nor red, but an amalgamation of all three. "In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits," explains Pantone's colour report. "Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating colour, that gets the adrenalin going – perfect to ward off the blues."

Colour therapist Lilian Verner Bonds, president of the International Association of Colour, says honeysuckle is "the least stressful colour" for walls. "It is a very cheering colour, and it's not a mono-colour. There are lots and lots of shades of honeysuckle, depending on whether the red or the pink or even the yellow tinge is brighter. So you can have it as bright and as warm as you like, or as a soft blush which is gently comforting."

But Sunda warns: "It is a beautiful shade but needs to be used very carefully as it can be very bright but cold on its own." She suggests teaming it with a deep grey on walls: "Farrow and Ball's 'Downpipe' is a gorgeous deep shade that will let the honeysuckle zing against it."

If honeysuckle seems too bright, Sunda says rich purples are becoming popular and offer an easier way to work in colour to your home. "There are beautiful, darker amethysts and aubergines in paints and fabrics, and they don't have to be used as sparingly as honeysuckle."

Prints predicts that a mishmash of prints and textures will fill our homes in 2011, creating an ethnic-inspired, folksy look that's "rootless and nomadic" – and a mix of stripes, patchworks and block colours.

Sunda says she's got her eye on bold prints from Osborne & Little and Romo. "There are lots of geometric prints, such as Osborne & Little's Maharani and Romo's Ellise velvet fabric, that will really create impact when used in the home," she says. "These bolder shapes will make a real change from the flowery prints we've seen this year."


Painting walls in shades of honeysuckle may not suit every style. But 2010 saw an array of wallpaper designers, such as Lizzie Allen, Dupenny and Barneby Gates make their mark. The trend for detailed, hand-drawn or hand-screen printed contemporary wallpaper only looks set to continue in 2011.

"For us, wallpaper is like art," says Vanessa Barneby, who co-founded Barneby Gates with artist Alice Gates. "Some designs look quite traditional at first glance, but it's something quite different close up – one of our designs looks like lace but is actually made of drawn insects crawling up the paper. It's these details that are making wallpaper stand out as interesting and different. As designs become bigger and bolder, we're now seeing a move away from wallpaper as a mere backdrop for art and furniture, and a move towards it becoming the focal point of a room."

Barneby says the days of picking out just one wall in wallpaper to create a feature are dated as we're becoming more comfortable and bolder with experimental styles. "Now wallpaper has a firm footing in the interior design world again, there's a definite trend towards more 'jewel box' rooms, with all four walls papered – and sometimes even the ceiling too; it looks fabulous."

The end of an era?

While the Cath Kidston-inspired shabby chic look of florals and vintage retro may never totally die out, there will be a move towards more of a clean-lined yet rustic look that isn't so fussy. According to IMM Cologne's trends book, Interior Design Trends 2011, our homes will be less shabby-chic and more craft-inspired, full of knitted, hand-spun and woven textures and softness but not necessarily the same flouncy finishes of the nostalgic, Fifties looks we've seen emerge this year.

"2011's version of shabby chic will be more sophisticated," explains Sunda. "We're focusing on less clutter in our homes and fussy styles can end up looking messy. Instead, we'll be blending colours and layers to create something luxurious but simple and streamlined."

A year of design

Designer Crafts Exhibition

Mall Galleries Federation of British Artists, Charing Cross, London

8-16 January

Run by the Society of Designer Craftsmen, the exhibition includes ceramics, jewellery, furniture and textiles.

Surface Design Show

Business Design Centre, London

15-17 February

A specialised show featuring modern architectural flooring and contemporary wall designs.

Ideal Home Show

Earl's Court, London

11-27 March

The popular magazine homes and interiors show returns with celebrity appearances.

National Homebuilding and Renovation Show

NEC, Birmingham,

24-27 March, 2011,

The UK's biggest show for home improvements and self-build projects.

Salone del Mobile Internazionale/ International Furniture Fair

Rho, Milan

12-17 April (trade); 17 April (public),

The world's largest furniture and design fair celebrates its 50th year with 2,500 design exhibitors set to determine global interiors trends.

Grand Designs Live

Excel, London

30 April-8 May

Join Kevin McCloud and find inspiration for sustainable design.

Collect 2011

Saatchi Gallery, London

6-9 May Quality contemporary craft and art to purchase from international galleries.

Handmade 2011

Bath Assembly Rooms

17-19 June Featuring the best of British craft and design and new designers.

London Design Festival

V&S Museum, London; across the city

17-25 September More than 200 design events and exhibitions featuring work from international and British designers.

100% Design

Earl's Court, London

22-25 September Arguably one of the best UK contemporary interior design shows, featuring up-and-coming designers and artists.

Tent London

Truman Brewery, London

22-25 SeptemberCutting-edge interior design and galleries of design work by recent graduates.

The Art & Craft Design Show

Millennium Grandstand, Suffolk,

4-6 November, Features new British artists and handmade crafts.

East London Design Show

Shoreditch Town Hall, London

1-4 December Independent interior, craft and jewellery designers for unique Christmas gifts.

Useful contacts

Kia Designs,

The International Association of Colour,

From The Right Bank,

Barneby Gates,