Time to undecorate: With the latest interiors trend anything goes and personality is king

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

How about an interiors style feature that doesn't tell you how to get-the-look or dictate what's hot and what's not for decorating your home? How about fashions and fads that don't come and go for just this season but seemingly last forever, evolving with time, whenever you feel like it, just because? How about, instead of copying magazines and decorating your house like a showhome or a stylised photographic still, you "undecorate" it instead?

Undecorating is the latest interiors trend, or, rather anti-trend, to come over from the States in a bid to liberate interior design from the rules and regulations of what goes together and what doesn't.

Spearheaded by textile designer Christiane Lemieux, founder and creative director of US home furnishings store DwellStudio, the undecorating movement is as far removed from Kelly Hoppen-esque structured and flawless interiors as you can get. In undecorating, the design rules aren't about feature walls, perfect proportions and complimentary colours or coordination; in undecorating, the design rules are: there are no rules.

The term "undecorate" was more or less coined by Lemieux herself (it's the title of her new design book, out this month). In the introduction, she sums up what it's all about – contrary to what it sounds like, it's not about stripping back to essentials or minimalism but more about letting loose a little.

She writes: "Undecorated is following your instinct, even when it's telling you to do something a little crazy, a little different, something against the rules.

"It's an approach that has nothing to do with trends and it has nothing to do with the rules. So you can have a period dining room adjacent to your modern kitchen, if that's what you want, or wallpaper on the ceiling. Stranger things have been done. Undecorating isn't haphazard style; it's not thought-free. It's about being guided by something other than the traditional constraints."

Lemieux says her inspiration for the book came from the scores of homestyle and interior design blogs all run by interiors addicts with a passion for styling up their homes in a quirky, individual way.

This wave of interiors blogs is showcasing a freer and more experimental side to interior design, through documenting and photographing every detail of a room makeover or sharing inspiration and new finds to create a very personal stamp on a property's interior.

"Undecorate is really my observation and response to this growing phenomenon of interior design developing on the internet," she says. "People are taking charge of their spaces – free of professional rules and guidance and the result is fresh, fearless and very personal. Otherwise, if everyone is reading the same how-to's, then interiors become generic. Undecorating is the opposite to that."

The homes in Undecorate are all completely different; there's a simple, elegant beach house in New York, a rambling old renovation project in Louisiana now stuffed with flea market, cottage-style finds, and an artist's California house complete with a giant paper-mache bear watching over the sofa in the studio. There are modern homes designed for family living which break the traditional rules; the presence of young children doesn't prohibit laying down white carpets and the odd stain or two doesn't matter. In another home, the walls simply never got around to being papered. It sounds unfinished and messy, but in practice, it works. The bare walls "go" with the casual way the family lives.

"This is not about 'a style', it's more the observation of a movement of amazing interior design at the hands of non-professionals," explains Lemieux, who made sure that every photo in the book captured a snapshot of "real" living, by refusing to use an interiors stylist for the photographs.

The point, she says, is that these aren't copycat, precious homes mimicking a certain style or certain look; rather, they are all understated, low-key and pretty places to live, put together not for jaw-droppingly stunning effect or on big designer budgets, but comfort.

Lemieux's own home – a typical New York Soho loft where she lives with her husband and two children – is also featured in the book. The apartment is mainly white, simple and comfortable, with big, squashy sofas and floorboards salvaged from an industrial building.

"I would call my home 'evolving minimal'. I have two kids and a dog – they are at different stages every couple of years and I just go with that," she says. "When you're decorating around a couple of little ones, you don't really have the luxury of statement furniture."

There is however, one big statement piece: a huge, antique dining table found at the Clignancourt flea market in Paris. "Some might be fearful of using an antique in a household with two little kids," says Lemieux. "But the truth is that in centuries past, craftsmen built things to last."

In the UK, the undecorating movement can also be spotted in the small world of interiors bloggers. Zoe Martin, 31, blogs about her interiors inspiration and home at ConversationPieces.co.uk and lives in a two-bedroom flat with her fiance in Edinburgh. She describes herself as an "undecorator".

Martin says: "I definitely follow my instincts when it comes to decorating but I'm also quite haphazard in my style. There's been a lot of happy accidents in my home where I've put things together and it just somehow works."

For Martin, undecorating is about trial and error and having fun. "I tend to pick up things as I go along, at markets and car boot sales, from Etsy, eBay or Freecycle, and then just see where they go best in the flat. I have a general principle of only having stuff in our home which makes us happy."

It's taken just over two years for Martin and her fiance to renovate their flat, but at no point would she have hired a professional interior designer – it's completely against what undecorating is all about.

"We have such eclectic tastes that it would feel like someone else's choices if a professional had chosen them. Your home evolves with you as you add a little something here or there, and that organic feel would be hard to achieve with a professional," she says.

"With interiors blogs, seeing what other people have done inspires you to do your own thing, not to copy them.

"It makes you feel braver, like you're not the only crazy one doing everything yourself."

There might not be any rules to undecorating, but are there any tips to escape from design constraints?

"Live with what you love," says Lemieux. "Contradictions make a home personal. Choose the pieces that inspire you. If you love something, the chances are you will love living with it and it will give your space character and soul."

Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design is published by Clarkson Potter (£26.99). To order a copy for the special price of £24.29 (free P&P) call Independent Books Direct (08430 600 030; www.independentbooksdirect.co.uk)

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
Extras
indybest
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on