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Starting the year in the latest style

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 17, 2013

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BAG a butterfly, splash out on blues, whip up some wallpaper and show a well-turned leg if you want your home to be bang on trend this year.

While that might sound like a surprising recipe for dazzling decor, they're just a few of the ingredients from themes which will feature in the homes collections over the coming months.

The good news is that embracing a look shouldn't mean a complete revamp, unless you have the budget and desire to do just that, because the trends are, in the main, fresh and interesting developments of existing decor interpretations.

So French-style furniture with pretty, carved legs; florals; botanical designs featuring birds and butterflies; colour and wallpapers will continue to star.

If they're already to your taste you may only need to add a few more accessories or a new statement piece to refresh a room and show off your style credentials.

"French elegance is a key trend for spring," predicts Caroline Hodgson, home accessories buying manager for Barker & Stonehouse.

"To create this sophisticated look, combine understated wood with pale linens. Try adding neutral table lamps and multi-panelled mirrors to create a cool ambience."

Our love affair with florals endures, she says, and the new collections will range from vintage-style faded blooms through to watercolour effects and small prints with dainty daisies or camellias.

"Whatever you do, don't miss out on the blues," she advises. "Denim, cobalt and sky blue all blend well and will create a cool and calming atmosphere."

Nostalgia is always heightened when times are tough and continues to inspire present-day designs whether it's vintage style or the fashion for mid-century modern furniture.

"Spring is all about reviving eras, from the 1920s through to the 1940s but with fresh interpretations," says Alice Duggan, head of home buying at Debenhams.

"Designer Matthew Williamson creates a bright and eccentric take on a Forties country manor house style, whilst Julien Macdonald has keyed into 1920s art deco style and teamed it with vivid colour."

Debenhams' own Heirloom collection is an eclectic spin on English style mixing floral, paisley and embroidered fabrics with quirky patterned metal chairs, botanical cushions and eye-catching accessories such as stags' heads and bookends.

Florals feature in all the major interiors collections, but in tune with our growing enthusiasm for colour and pattern they will be even bolder and brighter in 2013.

"This season, the trend for floral vintage pattern will be strong," predicts Josephine Bennett, senior design manager at Laura Ashley.

"Our Palace Garden collection features an unapologetically glamorous design of lush red blooms and teams well with black cabinet furniture, luxuriously upholstered sofas and chairs, and crystal chandeliers and mirrored accessories.

"There's a strong trend for opulence and sophistication and layering of textures in interior."

Decor fluttering with birds, bees and butterflies and designs featuring leaf prints reflect our passion to bring the great outdoors into our rooms, as well as a desire to blur the boundary between home and garden.

"Our Botanist collection draws on our national obsession with gardening and it has a nostalgic element, as well as a feeling of nurture," says Theo Williams, head of the design studio at John Lewis.

"It's about rediscovering the pleasures of life's simple things and reconnecting with nature in the digital age.

"Natural motifs feature with ladybirds, bees and butterflies on pretty pressed glass and enamelware. Blocks of pale colour are accented by pretty florals."

A pared-back, more masculine style featuring earthy tones and contrasts in textures is one of the strongest and most versatile trends for this year.

Interpretations can include industrial style, with a rough hewn unfinished look, or a more streamlined, contemporary approach using wood, stone and distressed leather but softened and warmed by touches of colour from blues to lemon yellows.

"One of our key themes is Naturals, a furniture and accessories story of muted tones," says Sue Roberts, head of design for House of Fraser.

"Simple and sophisticated, this trend of earthy browns and stony grey accessories mixed with walnut and oak furniture has a slight retro feel."

While a neutral palette always appeals as it's easy on the eye and compatible with most decor choices, colour is increasingly making an impression on our homes.

Blues (think denim, cobalt and sky blue), deep greens, muddy pastels and lemony yellows are the top choices from the colour wheel for 2013, with colour specialists Pantone pronouncing that Emerald green will be the star shade.

Amazon greens, fiery oranges, lagoon blues and sensual reds can be picked and paired according to how far an individual wants to go to embrace the dramatic trend.

Delicate detail, elegant period style and a muted colour palette all combine for a feminine-friendly style which is an enduring classic.

"One of our new collections is a range of French-inspired occasional furniture and chairs called Aurelie," says Emma Mann, home and lifestyle design manager at Sainsbury's.

"It features upholstered toile de jouy patterns in calming shades, grey and pale blue. This beautifully elegant furniture collection ushers in a classic French style which we think will be hugely popular this year."

Wallpaper has made a huge comeback over the last couple of years and the choice of designs is greater than ever, ranging from patterns, retro-designs echoing the Fifties or those brilliantly mimicking effects such as stone, brick and wood.

Colours will be soft and inspired by nature, ranging from duck egg and pale green hedgerow to wisteria and crocus.

That trend contrasts sharply with one which walks on the dark side, featuring warm, dense shades, particularly grey through to midnight black, that may be brightened by flashes of blue or red.

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