Spring is the time of year representing renewal

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That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty; violets dim,
But sweeter than the lids of Juno’s eyes,
Or Cytherea’s breath; pale primroses,
That die unmarried, ere they can behold...’ The Winter’s Tale, William Shakespeare

Spring is the time of year representing renewal, mirroring an exciting time of reinvention and revival in the world of interiors. The latter years of the twentieth century celebrated the pared-back hotel and show home-like, modernist interior but now there’s a real ‘anything goes’ attitude to decor. In her book entitled ‘New Decor’ Elizabeth Wilhide argues eloquently “where colour came into the picture at all, it sat uneasily like an intruder; a party guest who had turned up in the wrong clothes.”

A breath of fresh air has been sweeping through, breaking down and subverting many of the traditional rules of interior design. It’s all about pattern currently and decorative details are back in a big way – clever, edgy and often with a contemporary twist. There’s a whole new wave of creative designers and interior decorators bringing back spirit, energy, pleasure and, more importantly, self-expression, into the home. It’s acceptable to layer multiple patterns, one upon another. Carpets, wallpaper and bold fabrics are welcome with open arms and today’s designs often reference the past with restyled patterns.

The worlds of fashion and interiors have always been closely linked and Elizabeth Wilhide asks the question, “Why shouldn’t our homes make us feel as good as our clothes?” New trends in design are pushed from the creative worlds of fashion and art and one of the hottest trends at the moment is the fashion for botanicals and nature. This hankers after the traditional Victorian occupation for botanical drawing. You just have to think of The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady!

We Brits are obsessed with our gardens, but if you’re just after cow parsley and butterfly motifs, think again! Of course the nature palette & tonal shades of green are relaxing and refreshing after the rigours of modern living and work well in a subtle, understated room, but if you’re after a more original and eclectic scheme, companies are offering a more urban and edgy take on the world of flora and fauna. I have to say I’m trying really hard not to speak of ‘shoots of growth,’ ‘seeds of change’, ‘going green’, ‘turning over a new leaf,’ ‘springing into action,’ or any other horticultural cliché!

Botanicals are a fantastically versatile trend that can be incorporated into any existing scheme. There are so many applications of this trend - country cottage garden, natural, bold retro, painterly, modern or vintage floral, tropical, eastern, folksy and sophisticated. All you need is an open mind, a little confidence and a true sense of the personalities within your home.

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I’m reluctant to refer to the ‘new botanicals’ again but there is definitely a fresh take on bold botanicals. Advances in new materials and digital technology have enabled companies such as Liberty to lead the way with its pioneering digitally-printed fabrics in The Botanical Garden capsule collection. Fabrics from the Tana Lawn collection as shown, feature contemporary, abstract versions of the timeless floral print and show how this theme can be both feminine and fierce at the same time.

One of my all-time favourite wallpapers is the iconic ‘Martinique’ banana leaf paper that resides in the Beverley Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. For me it’s evocative of days gone by when the Rat Pack were in town, referencing glamour, confidence and attitude. In the same way, several top designers at the London Design Festival last year presented the Retro Botanical theme – plant inspired patterns with roots from the 1950’s, as seen in the range of fabulous prints from missprint.co.uk.

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Leafy designs specifically and patterns inspired by nature are a growing trend – sorry! Linnaeus by Designers Guild, for example, shows a bold, statement wallpaper of topiary. Take a look at this sophisticated take on the theme on this Drum Lampshade, covered in a botanical silhouette, part of the extensive Clarissa Hulse for Heals range (heals.co.uk). Graham and Green’s ‘Twiggy’ occasional table can give your room a cheeky twist (grahamandgreen.co.uk).

The High Street is also enamoured by this theme. John Lewis’ Home Design Manager, Theo Williams believes their ‘Botanist’ collection “is about rediscovering the pleasure in life’s simple things and reconnecting with nature in the digital age.” Cow parsley wallpaper, meadow cushions and wild herb rugs offer a simple way to inject garden-inspired homewares into your interior, as does House of Fraser’s ‘Organic’ crockery range.

Botanicals are a versatile and more importantly fun way to add accent pattern into a home, alluding to the simple pleasures in life and taking a fresh approach to this trend will harvest rewards. Use the theme sparingly to create focal points in a muted space or take it further and make a bold statement. In a world where people are unable to move house easily, it’s about creating interiors with heart and soul - old and new, classic and contemporary can work well together. The influence of fashion on home design has been positive as it allows homeowners to experiment with bolder ways of styling their homes. We should all strive to be less concerned with ‘taste’ and more concerned with how our homes make us feel.

Spring is about new life. Britain’s creative industries of fashion, music, design and architecture feed the interiors’ world and this, in turn, expounds the latest seasonal trends. These are just there to help us give a nod to the contemporary world occasionally and keep us on our creative toes! So, whether you choose a modest cushion cover or a complete feature wall in full bloom with botanical wallpaper, have a go, it’s time to spring into action and allow the joys of the natural world to creep into your home just a little!