Cosy & stylish ways to transform or update your decor

Creating homely havens that are comforting and inspiring has never felt so important. Gabrielle Fagan asks five experts to share their favourite looks.

With temperature’s dropping and nights drawing in, our homes need to be cosy sanctuaries – but don’t let them get left out in the cold style-wise.

It can be hard to choose from the rich harvest of decor trends and fashions at this time of year though. So, to make it easier, we asked five interiors experts for their favourite looks.

Design gurus at leading interiors destinations, Rockett St George, Barker & Stonehouse, Heal’s, plus Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen all share their insights on transforming rooms and adding those special touches.

Take your pick from maximalism versus moody, Nordic-inspired fab functionality (ideal for hard-working homes), full-fat glamour, contemporary classic, plus pattern and a dollop of British eccentricity…

ABOVE: The Nordic Move On trend with a Rumana 6 Seat Dining Table, £699 |

ABOVE: Dion 3 Seater Sofa, £999 | Tale of two styles
Maximalism and a fresh take on Scandi are vying for our attention, says Ruth Wassermann, Made’s design director.

“We’ve seen a growing popularity for maximalism, especially on Instagram and Pinterest,” she enthuses.  “For our ‘Luxe Maximalist’ trend, we’ve taken a ‘more is more’ approach with our collection, which is inspired by Seventies disco nights and art deco patterns. It’s about creating a boutique hotel feeling at home.”

The mix of architectural references and totem motifs in colourful textiles and statement lighting, she explains, is all brought alive by a palette of rich pink, teal and red, and brass and marble accents for an uber-opulent feeling.

If that’s all too full-on for your taste, there’s an alternative pared-back look which is equally popular – a refresh of simple Scandi style but with a moody, dark palette.

“We’re spending a lot more time in our homes now, and the twilight-inspired ‘Nordic Move On’ trend is more of a calming autumnal approach,” explains Wassermann. “Natural materials, dark finishes and our softest sofa ever come together to create a peaceful space, for those who prefer to keep their interiors more minimal.”

Decor tip: Layer textures – wool, linen, corduroy, velvet – for a cocooning, comforting feel. Use decorative rugs as ‘art work’ for the floor.

ABOVE: Lucy’s home with a combined dining and workspace, featuring green plants paired with wood, marble and a soft colour palette | Catherine Gratwicke/Ryland Peters & Small/PA

Rockett St George: Work the space
With our homes doubling as our offices nowadays, we’re going to become ever more imaginative about transforming them into distinctive spaces, predicts Lucy St George, co-founder of trendy interiors destination, Rockett St George.

“With the kitchen and living room transformed from social spaces into productive home offices or home-schooling spaces, 2020 has proven that our homes need to be more flexible than ever before,” she says. “With this in mind, I think prioritising positivity, function and wellbeing will be a priority for both upcoming trends and future home design.”

Your home’s personality should still shine through, St George insists, and introducing quirky accessories and playful final touches to your home office is a wonderful way to bring the whole of your interior together and create a cohesive scheme. “It’s about blurring the boundaries in our spaces with more imaginative decor and furniture choices, so they become more versatile,” she explains.

Decor tip: Maximise every inch of space with clever, multi function storage, such as bench seating with hidden storage, fold-out workstations and ladder shelves with built-in desks. Another trick to create a more productive and positive home for work or play is to bring the outside in, with plants and beautiful natural textures.

ABOVE: Boone 3-Seater Sofa – Navy, £699 (was £1049); Boone Velvet Chair – Burnt Orange, £429 (was £625), Barker & Stonehouse | Barker & Stonehouse/PA

Barker & Stonehouse: Go for glamour
It’s time to embrace bold colour, voluptuous velvets and charismatic curves says Claire Hornby, head of creative for furniture store group, Barker & Stonehouse.

“The number one design rule of the ‘Glam Boutique’ trend is don’t shy away from impact,” urges Hornby. “This look celebrates a marriage of opulent metallic finishes paired with bold regal shades of blues, burnt oranges and rustic red tones.”

Her advice for nailing the look? “Don’t hold back. Think sumptuous, rich textures, lavish details and luxurious accents that exude opulence. Be decisive about your colour palette,” Hornby adds.

“We’ve sampled an array of strong jewelled tones.” You can currently snap up some bargains at Barker & Stonehouse, such as a Boone 3-Seater Sofa – Navy, £699 (was £1049).

Decor tip: Mix geometric patterns and large-scale furnishings, and then build on that with metallic accessories to create an elegantly executed scheme.

ABOVE: Matera Full Corner Sofa in Nobilis Velvet Rust, from £5,499; Benjamin Uplighter Floor Lamp in Black, £259; Dora, Ebba and Abe Blue Cushions by 1985, £85 each; Une Rug Navy by Linie Design, £629; Cezanne Coffee Table Brown Marble, £799; Side Table, £449; Balance Candle Holder in Macaroon by Ferm Living, £29; Balance Tea Light Holder in Deep Blue by Ferm Living £29, Heal’s | Heal’s/PA

Heal’s: Choose timeless style
Celebrating classic design in a contemporary living area conjures a look that never goes out of fashion, says Elena Paparozzi, furniture buyer at Heal’s.

“This season and beyond, it’s about creating an inviting yet sophisticated space, which gives a contemporary nod to nostalgic design and blends beauty with practicality for a truly timeless appeal,” Paparozzi advises. “The challenges of this year have proven just how important it is to surround yourself with pieces you love, and we’ve seen a much greater appreciation for timeless designs that will be the heirlooms of the future and really do last a lifetime.”

Practicality, style and comfort all lie at the heart of great design, Paparozzi says, and she predicts the emergence of ever more cleverly crafted solutions in response to the new ways we are using our homes.

Decor tip: Look out for bold burnt orange and cobalt blues, blended with deep greens and rich wooden hues, softened by cashmere and tan. Solid oak and walnut furniture pieces with smooth, slim silhouettes, which maximise space and are luxuriously finished with ceramic and marble will be hot favourites.

ABOVE LEFT: Craney Day Wallpaper, from the Laurence LLewelyn-Bowen Signature Collection, £59 per roll from Wallpaper Direct | Wallpaper Direct/PA

ABOVE RIGHT: Copacabana Wallpaper, from the Laurence LLewelyn-Bowen Signature Collection, £59 per roll from Wallpaper Direct | Wallpaper Direct/PA

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen: Play with punchy pattern
Go wild with your own taste, urges flamboyant decor guru and master of the frill and flourish, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. “My big mission, ever since I first appeared on TV’s Changing Rooms 25 years ago, has been to make people understand they can and should do what they want with their homes,” says Llewelyn-Bowen, who’s just announced he will return to Channel 4’s revival of the Nineties home makeovers show.

“I’m thrilled we’re turning our backs on ‘cookie cutter’ decor solutions that we’ve been rather lazily embracing, and actually doing things much more expressively. It means eccentricity may return to British homes. We’re mad as pants – and our homes should reflect that!”

Decor tip: “Pattern’s really, really getting under our skin again now and will be the big story going into 2021,” he forecasts. “Colour makes a big difference to a room, which is lovely, but pattern tells a story. It can take a room to the Orient or to France or New York, and give an added layer and another dimension.”

Words by Gabrielle Fagan, PA

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