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Six Design Flourishes That Will Enhance Your Life in 2018

If your New Year’s resolutions have already fallen flat, turn your attention to your space instead: six of contemporary culture’s foremost designers tell us how

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© India Mahdavi

You can achieve a lot in a year – or so you’d think. This January, like every other, arrived with an outpouring of resolutions, self-imposed rules for improvement tumbling through social media feeds with all the grace of an avalanche. So what next?

Maybe you don’t need to change anything about yourself to find happiness – small changes to the spaces around us have a bigger impact than we think. If we consider ourselves products of our environment then, surely, we must consider our environments and their influence on us too?

Interior designers are united in the belief that a home is much more than the bricks and mortar propping it up. It’s safety, silence, sustenance and intimacy. It’s where we lay our heads, and it should set your soul alight. That doesn’t mean breaking the bank, but rather identifying what brings you comfort and inspiration and introducing elements of those things into your home. In the spirit of alternative resolutions, we asked interior designers to share their favourite life-enhancing design flourishes.

1. Grown your own joy

Get closer to nature with an evergreen investment. Houseplants give you a reason to care. They might demand constant love and attention, but, in return, an urban jungle provides fresher air, a sea of calming green hues and an invigorating but attainable level of responsibility.

Sophie Ashby, founder of Studio Ashby, is a keen advocate of plant-based decor. “Plants are the best way to create a bit of life and soul without spending too much, they are a design essential to me. Palms are pretty indestructible and cheap, so I would start there – just don’t overwater! I also like to think they enhance the oxygen levels in the room and make the air we breathe clearer.”

2. Take Warhol home

Appetites for purchasing art may have been damaged by glass bowl galleries and snooty sales assistants, but don’t let that put you off. The positive impact art can have on mental health is well known and publicised, and with the rise in popularity of art prints, creative stimulation can be yours for a fraction of the cost. 

“A vibrant piece of colourful Pop Art is one of the best ways to brighten up an interior design scheme, even for the most conservative of clients,” says Pellizzoni. “If money were no object, I would probably choose one of Andy Warhol’s screen prints, a large and colourful piece to really make a statement. I particularly love his Diamond Dust Shoes.”

3. Let life imitate art

East London interior designer Rachel Chudley is another art evangelist, invested in a belief that we can exist within our favourite works. “I spend hours in galleries seeking inspiration. My life-enhancing tip is to literally fill your home with art! We enjoy using artworks in projects but by using digital printing, you can actually live inside a work of art. In this entrance hallway, we used a blown-up detail from a Turner painting which we had printed onto linen canvas to give the feeling of walking into a cloud.”

4. Be brave, be bold

It’s 2018, and minimalism is dead. Even self-confessed ‘Queen of Taupe’ Kelly Hoppen has declared colour the way forward. In brief, go big with accessories and don’t be afraid to inject some new hues into soft furnishings and textiles.

“As much as I love calming, neutral tones, I will often use a burst of colour as it is a really effective way of lifting a room. Try adding a colourful piece of home jewellery or banded cushion to your living room and you will be amazed at how it can re-energise the space. A single quirky element makes a charming decoration positioned solo in its own space.”

5. Find your throne

You devoured both series of The Crown in a single weekend and now you’re going to need a throne — as we’ve discussed before, there’s a certain power in where you choose to park your peach. According to interior designer Daniel Hopwood, swivelling armchairs are the way to go. “Swivel chairs are just so useful as they can be cocooned in to watch television, or swung round toward the sofa for a chat. Who can forget the magical moment when Blofeld swings round on a classic G Plan 6250 chair to greet Mr. Bond in You Only Live Twice? Glamour doesn’t get better than that,” says Hopwood.

6. Search for stranger things

In a world of Ikea, look for your India Mahdavi moment. Mass-produced furniture is an essential part of design history – mass production was a key feature of Bauhaus principle, after all – but it doesn’t always encourage us to channel our creativity. Famed for her forward-thinking use of colour and scale, Mahdavi wants us to to break away from convention in 2018, while adding contemporary touches to those worn-in pieces we can’t let go of.

“Highlight old sofas with bright patterned cushions, it gives a whole new life to a room. Don’t be afraid of using bright carpets on the floor, like those from my collection for La Manufacture Cogolin. Add something strange to your house – we want 2018 to be unconventional.”

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