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The shape of things to come - Homestyle trends

Our desire to be closer to nature in the home is the most dominant theme for the interior. Taking inspiration from the natural world, back to nature with a twist of modern is set to be one of the most popular looks of the year. Buzz words such as contrast, texture, organic and individuality will frequently be used as will light, colour, functionality and space.

The vogue for clearing out the clutter, to create a spacious, comfortable abode will continue as will the use of simply-lined furniture. The acceleration of new design technology will be increasingly reflected in the latest ideas and styles in the home. The use of new materials, exciting computer generated patterns, dramatic lighting and practical gadgetry are all going to be big news on the interiors front.

Colour

Bright, optimistic colours that have emblazoned our homes will give way to more subtle, calmer tones, using stronger hues for contrast and accent.

Experts predict neutrals such as grey, beige, cream and caramel will be offset by lacquer red, shocking pink, retro orange and aqua blue.

Neutral colour schemes will be brought alive with blocks and stripes of these powerful colours. For maximum effect, pale coloured walls and furnishings will be splashed with a hint of vibrancy.

Popular colours to look out for are botanical shades such as soft greens and blues, lavender, mushroom and grape.

Shape and Pattern

Sticking with the theme of nature, fluid, organic shapes and patterns are set to have a large presence in the 2002 interior.

Found in furniture, glass, ceramics and metalwork, designs will be progressively combined with strict geometric shapes for added impact. For example, a rectangular, block lamp with a flowing pattern imprinted on its lampshade or a square rug with a curvy design typify the organic/geometric combination.

Florals and animal print designs which have already caught on in the interiors market will continue to grow in popularity as will the use of computer generated patterns that can be imprinted on tiles, wallpaper and fabrics.

Texture and Materials

Contrasting materials and textures both add depth and interest to a room. For walls, opt for paints that are glazed, metallic, reflective or pearlescent and for furnishings choose some of the many varying materials, be it rattan, stone, rubber or concrete.

Metal is growing in popularity. Expanses of steel and aluminium in the kitchen are very 'in' as is glass - particularly frosted glass found in cupboard doors and screens. Following on the theme of nature, stone is increasingly finding its way not only into flooring and fireplaces but also table tops and lamp bases.

Lighting

Lighting, perhaps one of the most exciting areas of design is become increasingly neat and unobtrusive, yet at the same time able to bring an aesthetic element to a room. Lighting to look out for is fibre optic and sculptural lighting.

Room Designs to Watch

The Kitchen

Kitchens, according to a recent report by Mintel, are areas of high fashion, driven largely by the influence of top name celebrity chefs seen on TV. The forthcoming year is therefore set to see a sharp increase in stylish cooking gadgetry and kitchen interiors. The combination of wood and metal will continue to be popular - aluminium replacing the once ever-so-popular stainless steel. Why? Because it doesn't show up the finger marks!

Another design concept that will become increasingly popular for the kitchen is freestanding individually styled kitchen units - very reminiscent of the 1950s but hi-tech.

The Bathroom

Design technology has had a huge impact on the bathroom. Hi-tech baths and showers are increasingly turning what were once known as our calm havens into an energising, invigorating space!

Bathroom fittings are becoming increasingly slimline to save on space, complemented with recessed lighting and blinds. One of the biggest design improvements for the bathroom is the new-look radiators. No longer seen as the eyesore they once were, radiators are being manufactured in various stylish colours, shapes and designs that suit any bathroom.

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