New year, new trends: home and lifestyle

Last year’s design trends were pale, chic and simple, with copper and ‘hygge’ taking over our homes, but 2017 is already looking very different. This year the trends on show at home and gift trade event Spring Fair, from 5-9 February at the NEC, will be decidedly more energetic. We want fun and intensity married with practicality and usefulness for the perfect blend of passion and realism.

Bright colours are on their way in, so the muted greys, beiges, and pastel colours of 2016 can move aside. Although it’s pretty dark and cold outside at the moment, this new trend will see rooms bursting with colour. Paint a wall a popping pink, get a statement blue sofa, or make small but colourful changes. Adding some vibrant throw cushions can rejuvenate your living room, upgrade your appliances to brighten up your kitchen, and make a splash in your bathroom with a rainbow of different coloured towels.

If that’s not enough colour for you, statement wallpapers are making a comeback. Think walls covered in delicate, harlequin butterflies, or thick with bright forest foliage and bold florals. Interior design is making a long desired shift from hotel-esque impersonal pastel colours to more vivid colours and motifs, so we can look forward to our homes being infused with personality and attitude.

We’re also predicting ‘smart’ homes for 2017. The rise of Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant, is heralding a new era of voice-activated technology which can simplify automated homes. We’re talking smart lighting, smart heating, smart locks, smart cameras and home security systems. Everything and anything these days can be connected to the internet, so you can turn off your lights without getting out of bed (I am already living this dream!) or lock your front door remotely, even if you went to Spain for two weeks and forgot.

Escapism will also figure hugely in home design this year. With all the technology available now, it can be nice to retreat somewhere tranquil and calming, especially somewhere without a brightly lit screen. Think wide windowsills piled with soft furnishings to curl up in and read a book; cute, cosy cubbyholes with floor cushions or beanbags; or a low loveseat in your bedroom for you to lie down and relax.

Greenery is Pantone’s colour of the year, with Leatrice Eiseman (executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute), saying that “We love that feeling of newness, of realigning yourself and revitalising yourself. A really important aspect is that the colour has vibrancy and a little bit of brightness.”

Pantone Greenery

It offers a gorgeous, vibrant hue, but we’re also taking this trend for ‘greenery’ literally. One of our food trend predictions was for DIY foods, including having herb gardens and hydroponic units in our homes. Alternatively, an easier way to embrace this trend is to grow succulents and cacti instead. They are simple, cute, and practically impossible to accidently kill.

Jungle and tropical patterns and styles are also very on trend now. We’re talking cocktails, woven baskets and beadwork, bird print fabrics, exotically scented candles and lush plants. This trend, out in force at Spring Fair 2017, encompasses practically all the other things I’ve talked about – bright colours, greenery, and escapism from our wet, cold weather without a holiday. However, it’s bolder and very in-your-face; pair a few statement pieces with more neutral colours and simpler furniture to get the right mix of loud and quiet.


Finally, imperfection. Sometimes, not having a fixed style looks the best, and having a jumble of different furnishings showcases your personality. Having mismatching décor can look amazing, so try some period pieces contrasting against and complementing new, modern furniture. Try your hand at upcycling your own bedside table or dresser, and love its blemishes and therefore its originality. Go against the predicted trends, or blend this year’s bright jungle themes with the recent rose gold craze, and make sure your home is perfect for you.

Mini craft project: pinboard

This is the part where I get all Pinterest on you. I picked up this cork board for £1 in a Salvation Army jumble sale on Saturday morning. A little masking tape and some gold spray paint, and voila, a board worthy of pinning. I’m actively trying to train myself to see the possibility in old goods, rather than buying everything new. I think this fits the bill – and I’m pretty chuffed with the results



TIP: If you’re going to make one of these, rule a line down the centre of your board in pencil before starting. You can then use this line to align the apex of every chevron.

Daily photo: small is beautiful

Jet lag still has me wandering around the neighbourhood at all hours, hello 5:30AM. One such walk took me down to the Viaduct and past this cute shipping container micro-library on Te Wero Island. It totally has the 1960’s bach vibe nailed. The perfect place to grab a seat and watch the ships go by.


J is for Jelly Tip

NZ stamps A-Z

A 2008 New Zealand 50 cent stamp set, featuring various kiwi icons (not so sure about Quake, however). In other news, I’ve just remembered about the existence of Jelly Tips*, Giant Jelly Tips and Jelly Tip Trumpets. Emotional.

*A Popsicle style ice-cream on a stick, featuring a wodge of frozen raspberry jelly on the tip, surrounded by a thin chocolate shell.

The green streets of London

Hackney Bicycle Stand

I spotted this bike rack while walking around Shoreditch on Sunday. It’s designed to only take up the space of one car but provides lock-up space for 10 bikes. There are three of them in Hackney – and if they prove popular, the car will be replaced by permanent cycle parking and the bike racks will move on to new locations. Great idea – and a great way for people to visualise the positive impact cycling has on their environment.

Broadway Market Bingo

Yesterday, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, Jo and I had brunch at the Market Cafe on Broadway Market. The weekly market was in full swing, and we had a great view of people merrily making their way up from the canal. While sipping on grapefruit mimosas, we started playing a game of bingo… So I decided to whip up a little card for next time.

Broadway Market E8 Bingo

If you get BINGO, treat yourself to a taco from Off Broadway, and a high-five from a drunk at the Cat & Mutton. Look, you even get a free square to start!