Late last year experts at IMM Cologne, an exhibition and event business, revealed that minimalist interior design would be hot in 2011. And now we have proof!
According to findings compiled in the book ‘Interior Trends 2011′, ‘Emotional Austerity’ is to be a big trend this year.
As a result of the credit crunch, IMM Cologne believes that people are questioning what it is they need to live well. This is leading to a greater desire for simplistic, formal or severe designs that combine the basic and old with the modern and the high-tech.
The Home Improvement Centre has indeed noticed a growing number of simple yet stylish room designs and accessories cropping up in the interiors world.
Kate Jacobs, home interior stylist for the Guardian, for example, recently created a variety of looks for the kitchen, bedroom and lounge, all devoted to caramel and nude hues. By blending a host of natural colours together, Kate says homes can avoid looking dull but instead be subtle and lavish.
She said: “I love white, but too much of it can be boring, so I like to use it with other neutrals.”
The Daily Mail’s Design File also tipped chic white accessorise as a celebration of the minimalist trend.
Their reporter, Emma Love, said: “Could there be anything more clean and crisp than pure white? It’s fresh, spring-like and a big trend for interiors this season.”
So to get you back to basics, here are some of our favourite items for 2011 inspired by Emotional Austerity.
Top to bottom:
Megan left hand corner unit by Homebase.
Washed Linen Bedlinen, Natural, (£25 standard pillowcase and £220 super kingsize duvet cover) by John Lewis.
Ombra Chair (£125 set of two) by Next.
A competition to find and renovate Britain’s ugliest bathroom is nearly complete.
The contest is being run by Grohe, a bathroom fittings firm, to find the nation’s most unsightly bathroom. The competition’s judges are currently deciding who will win the title and have whittled the shortlist down to five of the best atrocities. The owner of the bathroom deemed to be the worst will be offered a £10,000 first prize to be spent on renovation.
Potential winners include the owner of a brown and beige suite which is over 25-years-old, and a shocking pink design.
Grohe’s official website states: “The bathroom should be an oasis of calm and luxury, where we can escape from the stresses of everyday life. Therefore design and performance of the taps, showers and thermostats are crucial to your showering or bathing experience.”
It’s clear something went very wrong with these five finalists!
Voting closes on Monday, February 28 (today). To view the finalists, visit mydeco.com.
Making improvements to your bathroom or adding an extra facility is one way to improve the market value of your property.
The claim has been made by Rosie Millard within an article for the Daily Telegraph. According to Millard, modern bathroom accessorise and a clean, stylish space can make a home more desirable for potential buyers.
Noel de Keyer, head of houses at Savills, told her that an extra bathroom or living space could increase the value of a home by around five per cent.
The advice by Millard is that anyone looking to invest in a new bathroom suite should opt for all white, as this will reduce the appearance of tidal mark from limescale which is more prominent against colour.
She also states that bathrooms should be kept minimalist as rooms free from clutter create a more relaxing space.
She commented: “Ideally, a bathroom should be a sleek sanctuary.”
For ideas and inspiration, visit the Bathstore at www.bathstore.com
Not only do we all spend a small fortune on cleaning products each year, but we also expose ourselves to (and inhale) an array of chemical concoctions every time we clean our houses! Surface cleaners for the kitchen that are bleach based, which include floor cleaners that are disinfectant based, harsh liquid toilet gels, air fresheners and spray polishes!
All these chemicals can build up in our systems over the years, and manufacturers have no idea what harm they could do!
So, is it possible to clean your house in a more environmentally friendly way? Be kinder to your body, and save money in the process? Stars of Channel Four, ‘How Clean is Your House‘, Kim and Aggie, certainly think so! Fresh from their website, ideas for a more natural way of cleaning.
First off, Bicarbonate of Soda – this is so much more that a baking ingredient. Mix with a little warm water to make a paste, and this will clean everything from fridges to ovens. (Leave the paste on the oven overnight for sparkling clean!)
Clear Vinegar – great for getting stains out! Mix 2 parts of water with one part vinegar and leave overnight. Clean lime scale off bathroom showers and taps by soaking in hot vinegar (wrap kitchen roll around taps), and you can even use a vinegar solution to clean the windows!
Soda Water – fantastic for getting red wine stains out of carpets!
Try unblocking sinks by pouring down some bicarbonate of soda, followed by some clear vinegar. This solution should fizz and bubble up, and give your pipes a good cleaning out! You can get more useful tips from Kim & Aggie’s Cleaning Bible.
NOTE: We are not Kim & Aggie and unfortunately unable to offer cleaning tips.
Tiles – in ceramic, slate, natural stone and a variety of other materials – have become an increasingly popular covering for floors and walls not least because they are hygienic and easy to clean. This means that they can be incorporated as an element of kitchen design, or bathroom design, for example, where they are less likely to harbour allergens than some other floor or wall coverings. Not only that but tiles are available in a wide range of colours and finishes and so can add a touch of elegance to any room.
Ceramic tiles, for example, are no longer restricted to neutral white, cream or grey, as was once the case and are available in brighter, warmer colours in a choice of unglazed, glazed, mosaic and porcelain finishes. Glazing – that is, the application of liquid glaze to the surface of a tile by high pressure spraying or direct pouring – followed by firing in a kiln at a temperature above 1,000°C, creates a hard, water resistant surface.
Mosaic tiles, although essentially manufactured in the same way, are made from pigmented clay, so that the colour extends throughout the tile, making them more resistant to wear and tear. Mosaic tiles are often sold mounted on paper, rather than loose, and although the intricacies of the production process do make them more expensive than some other type of tile, they are, nevertheless, water resistant and highly durable.
Porcelain tiles are a type of ceramic tile, but the use of porcelain clays means that they have a much lower water absorption rate – typically less than 5% – than other ceramic tiles, and, when glazed, are much more durable and hard-wearing. Porcelain tiles can be used to reproduce the look of natural stone at a fraction of the cost.
Your choice of flooring or floor covering – whether it’s part of living room, bedroom, kitchen or even bathroom design – can change how you, and visitors, perceive the size, function and atmosphere of the various spaces within your home. Replacing the flooring in your home need not necessarily be expensive and there are countless cost-effective alternatives to choose from.
Swirly, patterned carpet, for example, is making a comeback although, nowadays, in combination with neutral wall colours to avoid a dated Seventies look. The subtle continuation of a carpet motif – a floral or botanical print for example – in blinds, curtains, etc. can help to provide a unified, contemporary look. If you are on a budget, carpets with foam backing are less expensive – albeit less hard-wearing – than some of the alternatives if you intend to change your floor covering fairly regularly. Off-cuts of carpet can also be bound at the edges to produce inexpensive matching rugs.
Vinyl flooring can be used as an alternative to carpet in high-traffic areas although it can be torn easily, so you do need to be careful if moving furniture around. Its waterproof nature also means that it can be used in bathrooms to give the appearance of mosaic tiles, for example, at a fraction of the cost. If wooden flooring is more to your taste, do remember that scratches in real hardwood, or engineered wood, floors can be difficult to disguise or repair. Once again laminated engineered wood flooring – which often simply clicks together – can provide a cost-effective alternative to real wood, parquet flooring.
There is, of course, nothing to stop you combining different flooring types in a single space with your home to effectively define “zones” within than space. If you have a walkthrough living room and dining room, for example, you might like to carpet the living area but use laminated or real wood flooring to designate the dining area.
For many people the creation of a luxurious, tranquil space in which to escape from the world, if only for a while, is the ultimate aim of their bathroom design. The actual design, of course, depends on the size of your bathroom – or on the size of your house if you are considering a wet room for example, as an ensuite or second bathroom – and your budget but there is any number of designs for you to choose from.
If you are lucky enough to have a large bathroom, or a room suitable for a second bathroom, you might like to choose a true wet room – a fully waterproofed or “tanked” room tiled and with an open shower area – in which underfloor heating is a possibility, if you want to take advantage of green energy. The addition of a wetroom can add up to £10,000 to the value of a property in the best cases, but at the very least will add value and appeal to your home if you want to sell it.
If your space, and your budget, is a little more modest a fitted bathroom can still be a beautiful bathing space. A bath may be the focal point of your bathroom, so whether you opt for a traditional rectangular bath with paneling or a freestanding bath tub, you do need to think about styles and materials to suit your overall design. If space is at a premium, storage needs to be well planned, but bathroom cupboards do not need to be very deep as their contents are generally small and narrow. A wall-mounted towel rail can not only be functional in terms of providing warmth and, of course, holding your towels but can have significant aesthetic value too. Patterned wall tiles are once again en vogue whilst on the floor you might like to consider long porcelain tiles as an alternative to floorboards.