Thursday Sep 10, 2015
A text sent to the wrong number precipitated an exchange between strangers that went viral. The discussion was initiated by a father keen to paint the walls of his daughter's room in a strong shade of blue. However, he was advised to paint just a single wall in such a vibrant hue. The helpful person who had accidentally received his text wrote: "I'd do the colour you picked on the wall across from the window and maybe a lighter colour on the other three walls?"
In short, she (or he) was recommending that a feature wall be incorporated into the child's bedroom. Ah, good old feature walls. For fourteen years I wrote about interiors and home trends for glossy magazines, and for almost as long I have been silently predicting the demise of the feature wall. It quickly became so overused I doubted it could survive long. But I was wrong. It's still going strong. The feature wall is not ready to be consigned to history just yet.
Interior design trends are fickle things. What is hot one moment can often be spurned the next. Indeed, there are a few recent trends that might just have outlived their usefulness. Mindless repetition can make fresh and original ideas seem unimaginative and boring. Here are six interior fashions that should be approached with caution.
I was captivated upon first seeing a bus blind used (probably in a London flat featured in a magazine) as an accessory. I was similarly impressed when I encountered a bus blind with local destinations printed on it. I pondered whether I had room for it at my place. I'm glad I didn't because this is a trend that quickly spiraled out of control. By the time I'd seen my one-millionth bus blind replica bearing cute sayings and inspiring words rather than place names, I was beyond over it. It's a perfect example of how a cute idea can become hackneyed and so-not-cool by overuse.
Individual wooden letters are sometimes used to spell out words to suit the room concerned. "EAT" on a kitchen wall was kind of okay. It neatly underscored our food-obsessed culture and set the scene for tasty meals. But when I saw "BATHE" in bathrooms and "SLEEP" in bedrooms I realised our obsession for verbs had turned a corner into tackiness. And don't get me started on "IMAGINE" and "DREAM". Such a sweet idea fast became a nightmare. There's one exception: spelling out a child's name on their bedroom wall is still a really nice touch.
Some modern kitchens incorporate a wall covered with blackboard paint. In the magazines, they typically hold glamorous shopping lists written in a stylish chalk scrawl; the occupants are reminded to buy such items as lemons, garlic, olive oil and strawberries. Just once it would be nice to see a less wholesome list - maybe along the lines of "deodorant, beer, margarine and toilet cleaner" - but that, I guess, would ruin the suggestion of lives well lived. There's just one thing worse than a carefully staged shopping list that could be written on a blackboard wall - and that's an uplifting message. Sayings such as "Believe in yourself", "Today I will choose joy" and "You are stronger than you think you are" just make some people feel a bit queasy.
I was a late subscriber to the trend for skulls. I'd successfully resisted purchasing skull-shaped candles, soaps, ornaments or anything with a skull motif but then I spied a skull-shaped bottle holding Crystal Head vodka and just had to have it. It still sits on my drinks table. It's probably bad Feng Shui to display such a macabre symbol but I like its heft, its silhouette, its transparency and its shadows. Plus vodka! Even so, please note: skulls have been done to death.
I unashamedly hopped on the wagon for all things deer, moose and antler as soon as it rolled into town. I indulged in (faux) antler chandeliers, a pair of kitset cardboard deer "trophies" and even an enormous resin moose light by Abigail Ahern. (It sounds hideous and might well be kitsch but I was smitten with it.) Yet, the appetite for deer in particular and animal trophies in general is undoubtedly heading for extinction.
We've all seen beds that are half-covered with pillows. There will be multiple layers. There will be lodge pillows, European pillows, breakfast pillows, bolsters and decorative cushions. It's not unheard of for a modern bed to have nine or even eleven pillows on it. It's crazy. It's too much. I've gone the opposite way. My bed boasts just two standard pillows. It's a pared-back aesthetic I like to term "prison chic". It's quite possibly the way of the future. You read it here.