Home comforts, traditional design, warm tones and natural
materials are back in vogue. Claire Spreadbury discovers how to work the
happynest trend.

As 2020 continues to feel unsettled, it makes sense that many of us are
hunkering down at home, surrounding ourselves with comfort, taking joy
in the smaller things and conserving our energy. And it’s having an
impact in home design.

It’s a trend that Holly Harper, notonthehighstreet.com’s head of
inspiration and new business, is coining ‘the happynest’.

“It combines the growing consumer desire for natural materials, warming
tones and timeless design,” says Harper. “The rise in the conscious
consumer movement is heavily influencing this shift, with customers keen
to understand the provenance of their purchases, as well as finding
solace in ‘buying better’ and redecorating with longevity in mind.”

Want to harness the look at home and create your own happynest? Three
experts show us how…

Natural materials

This trend is all about embracing nature and bringing the outdoors in,
notes Claire Hornby, head of creative at Barker And Stonehouse. “Whether
you’re looking to add a rustic finish to your home with natural wood and
rattan, or simply want to achieve a sleek modern look with the use of
concrete and metal materials, the use of furnishings and tactile
accessories are a great way to do this,” she says.

“Not only can natural materials be beneficial to your overall wellbeing,
due to the connections they have with nature, they also add a layer of
texture, thanks to the natural variations and pigmentations featured in
each individual piece.”

Harper gives a nod to the dominating rattan trend of 2019, which is
still popular now, but says that it’s evolving, with canework being used
in furniture and lighting, and mixed material rattan pieces for storage
and vases now emerging. “We’ve also seen fresh work emerging with the
use of recycled plastics and jesmonite in particular,” she adds.

Made.com design director Ruth Wassermann says they’ve definitely noticed
that people are connecting more with natural materials and textures, to
bring a sense of calm to their home, and perhaps to counteract their
busy urban lives. “We have seen a resurgent popularity of woven cane,
bamboo and seagrass recently,” she says, “and we envisage the finish of
these becoming more casual and less polished as the summer months roll

Warm tones

Stark white and monochrome magic might look uber-cool, but in times of
comfort, we naturally want to snuggle amidst warmer colours.

“Much in the same way as natural materials are growing in prevalence,
warm, earthy colour palettes are too,” states Wassermann. “A connection
to more organic colours and textures, along with neutrals, can be really
grounding.” Coloured textiles, terracotta, linen and natural timbers are
all set to be big this spring, she notes.

Calming shades of off-white and mauve replace the grey undertones of the
last decade, adds Harper, and they’re complemented by clay shades, with
turmeric yellow and pale pops of cornflour blue as accents.

“If you’re looking to create an inviting and cosy space that is also
balanced, why not opt for cooler tones on your ceilings and walls?”
Hornby suggests. “This will allow the natural light to flow through the
room, and for the space itself to appear bigger. Warmer tones can then
be introduced through your accessories, furniture, lighting and
finishes. Rich hues that are combined with pattern and texture – such as
vintage rugs or brass accents – can instantly help make a room feel
welcoming and have a dramatic impact, instantly creating a focal point.”

Timeless and traditional design

Investment pieces, like textile art and quilts, are expected to become
the key must-have items, predicts Harper, as completely redecorating our
homes becomes a less-regular habit. “Timeless design supported by
individual expression is the new consumer norm,” she says.

Hornby adds: “Some of my favourite pieces within our stores are the ones
that have a story behind them, and often these are collections that have
been handcrafted using traditional artisan techniques.

“The natural beauty of many of these items is something of wonder, from
the intricate detailing of each and every joint, to the one-of-a-kind
finishing of these expertly-crafted pieces. These traditional techniques
often create timeless furniture that can stand the test of time and, in
some ways, transition through trends as time goes on.”

Wassermann agrees that as the world becomes more accessible, we’re
seeing more global influences coming through in interiors trends.
“Perhaps unsurprisingly,” she says, “the most prevalent artisan
technique that we’re seeing this year is woven cane and basketry,
followed closely by hand-painted ceramics from Portugal, and inlaid
resin furniture.”

Home comforts

For all of us however, especially at difficult times, there’s nothing
better than being surrounded by simple home comforts. Notonthehighstreet
have noted searches for indoor pot plants are up by 31% year-on-year,
and while fewer people are stocking up on gin glasses, the number of us
searching for new comforting wine glasses is up by 111%. Wire wall art
and word art is also a new search trend for the online retailer, as many
of us look to surround ourselves by positive and mindful reminders.

“Plants really have the ability to transform a space and instantly make
it feel more welcoming,” says Wassermann.

And of course, incorporating home comforts doesn’t have to mean
sacrificing your design, notes Hornby. “From chunky knitted throws, to
picture walls that tell a story of their own, and furnishings that are
for everyone, these are all ways of making your home just as individual
as you are.

“Your home should be an extension of your personality,” she adds. “For
some, the use of living green through house plants or small indoor trees
are a great way to add another layer of comfort to your space, as this
will not only harmonise your living area, but also inject a sense of
colour into the room.”