Latest trends

Use of natural materials and light are influencing architecture and construction. (Pictures: iStock)

Jenan Taylor

Sustainable materials
The trend for reclaimed timber flooring is continuing, but recycling vintage cork, bamboo, metal, glass, and plastic is also taking off.

Not surprisingly, biophilic design – that is the use of natural materials and light in architecture and construction to bring humans closer to nature – is a growing thing as well.

But there’s no need to settle for recycled materials on just walls, floors and roof. They’re appearing in appealing décor items such as bamboo bead chandeliers, and rugs made of plastic bottles. These types of products also dovetail with the return of art deco-inspired shapes and textures, including rounded and scalloped edges, as seen at London Design 2020.

While blue has been named the colour of the year by the colour industry, because it is “likeable”, many experts point to green as the hue that reflects how most of us feel these days. Green is the colour of regeneration and is less about artifice and more about nourishment. From sage to mint green and olive, green can be light and lively, or it can be velvety and comforting. It can warm greys, blacks and metallic shades, lift creams and chalky tones and create freshness alongside tan palettes.

Of course, over-mixing any colour scheme can be ruinous. But to avoid the same-same throughout the house, consider dialling the existing shade, up or down for contrast. For instance, a bulkhead in a deeper or lighter tint of the same colour can make the ceiling or the object underneath, and around it, pop. Outlining say, pale shutters with dark window frames, could also add the vibrancy you need.

Lights make all the difference to the feel and visuals of a place and to us – it impacts on our sleep patterns and thinking as well. Having the right types, such as LED bulbs, help save on power bills. Experts recommend thinking about lighting in terms of overall ambience, task and accent. For instance, a general ambient light in the dining room may be fine for enhancing conversation, but you might want a lamp or wall sconce on a console to cast soft light on special objects, and a task light to show the way from the back door to the compost bin.

Designers suggest you think of layering the lights in the house, just as you would your cushions and rugs to create your ideal atmosphere. One trend that is still a favourite is the designer light bulb. Rather than hanging about naked, as it has over the past few years, these days it’s enveloped in clear glass pendants or wall sconces in a more refined look.