Sculptural sophistication

Who knew unusual pieces of furniture could give shape and structure to the chaos we faced during the pandemic?

Offering a reprieve from the modern linear forms that have dominated furniture for so long, soft and fluid forms are all the rage now, "probably because the curved shapes are a great way of softening the interior and embracing the relaxed indoor-outdoor fluid feel," says Reshmika Shekhar, co-founder of The Interior Curators. Juxtaposing natural textures, such as a woolly-accented backless seat or solid metal sculpture, with fluid furniture such as a curved sofa, makes a room feel exciting and unique.

Zaneta Domingo, Interior Design Manager, Ellington Properties, stresses that this trend is characterised by ‘softness’. "The style features a tonally warm and light colour scheme with off-whites contrasted with taupes or charcoals. These artisanal pieces have a curved profile that is distinctive to this style. A signature of this trend is the bouclè fabric – derived from the French word boucler, meaning to curl. It treads the fine line between refined and relaxed."

A quick way to capitalise on this trend is to reupholster an arm chair, pouf or ottoman in your home with boucle textured fabric, ideally in an ivory hue. "Spherical accent cushions and/or vases, sculptures and furniture pieces with a curvy silhouette are examples of this aesthetic," Zaneta says.

Want to add a smaller on-trend accent to your home? A couple of boucle throw pillows can create an inviting layer of softness to sofas or bed, says Reshmika.

Go au naturel

This timeless trend reared its soothing head once again as we found ourselves spending more time indoors. "A response to excessive screen time and Zoom fatigue has been focusing on going back to what we know," says Zaneta. "A move towards bringing nature in, this is expressed by introducing natural materials and textures into furnishing elements, such as rattan, wicker and woven textures. It includes seagrass, bamboo, woods, clays, terracotta and stone."

Indoor plants, too, instantaneously rev up a space.

Worried about maintaining the plants? There are a variety of faux and preserved plant options available.

Spatial awareness is key, says Zaneta. Have plenty of room? "A tall tree in a basket or large pot makes for a well styled corner vignette. Smaller plants are great for tabletop or shelf décor.

"Baskets are a versatile accessory with their beautiful entwined textural pattern. They offer storage on shelves, in cabinets, or for towels and throws, plus larger baskets can be used as planters."

Reshmika brings in a third aspect to going au naturel: being conscious chic. "Natural materials are planet-friendly, improve indoor air quality and are durable." Go big with a jute area rug or braided eco-leather stool or accent with smaller statement pieces such as a recycled glass vase or cork coasters.

Extend the life cycle of your furniture - recycle, upcycle, salvage or explore the pre-loved market. Antiques add character and depth to a house.

"Source from companies that use more natural and eco-friendly practices, such as reclaimed wood that was previously a door and now reused to be a table."

Colour pops

With people spending so much time indoors, we have seen colour in the home space being used in two distinct ways, says Reshmika. "Either full pop bright colours on the walls or a neutral base colour scheme with accents used in small sections to highlight key areas, or in soft furnishing."

Zanetta adds: "Colour accents are inspired by our love to travel and explore. The colour spectrum in this trend references the ocean with blues, cerulean, teals and sea green. Inspired by the warmth of summer are accents of coral, marigold, ochre, and terracotta."

There’re various ways to translate this trend into our homes. "Painting the walls a soft cream beige or grey-beige (greige) adds a sense of warmth and serenity to your house and makes the space look bigger," says Reshmika. "Add a pop of colour without committing to painting the entire wall.

"Use it as a way to highlight key areas (such as the entrance zone or a seating zone) or to brighten up a corner in the house which can be styled with plants or an accent floor lamp."

Mediterranean coastal colours are on trend and you can bring that home through big furniture items, such as a colourful sofa or a hanging tassel chair, or with accessories such as terracotta vases, wicker planters or beach-inspired artwork. "Hang a collection of items (artwork, wall hangings, baskets etc), that are in the same colour palette but are of different materials or textures," suggests Reshmika.

Proportion is everything, says Zaneta. "As a rule of thumb, opt for larger pieces in the room to be a neutral shade."

Home is sanctuary

Heard of neuro-architecture? asks Reshmika. "It is the study of how the built environment affects our body and overall well-being. Often, simple details have the most impact on how you feel in a space." Post pandemic, awareness of health and its synergistic relationship to interiors is increasing, which means people are now paying more attention to not just their personal wellbeing, but of the environment as well.

Cue cosy comfort (think throws, rugs and candles) and stunning dining pieces as we make entertaining ourselves a rich experience. A cocooning of sorts. So much so, candles are lockdown’s interior status symbol.

To ensure a safe, soothing, stunning haven start with the light, then your furniture and accessories. "Light is one of the most critical factors that impact your emotional and mental health. So I recommend sheers not curtains in the living room (if windows are not directly opposite the TV) to allow natural light to filter into the house all day long. If you don’t have that luxury, consider artificial lighting based on functionality, such as a floor lamp near the reading chair or a table lamp in a corner space, which allows you to change the mood in the house from day to evening."

A ‘home-y’ vibe can also be created by incorporating natural inviting textures - velvet or soft fabric sofas, fluffy pillows or a cosy throw blanket.

Don’t forget to clear the clutter! "Have adequate storage spaces to put away things that are not daily-use items; have only items that have a purpose (decorative or functional) on display. Create a system where everything has a space - and that space isn’t the floor!"

Zaneta says a true entertaining experience is created through ambiance. "Set the mood, style the dinner table and give the living room a more tailored look. Opt for warm light using table lamps, floor lamps and candles. This allows for accent lighting at various levels, making for a visual treat. Include supple textures of plush cushions, cosy throws and crafted ceramic serveware. Decorative boxes that hide away remotes can be paired with coffee table books and other accessories to style tabletops."