The shape of things to come.jpg

The shape of things to come


[email protected]

Teresa Azevedo Coutinho runs her own interior design consultancy in Lisbon and found her niche in designing holiday homes for UK and Irish clients. Her company is expanding with the undertaking of international projects and the opening of a new office in Lagos.

WHAT  does the year ahead hold for interior design? Colour, contrast, texture – these are just some of the buzzwords.

Design is undergoing a really exciting period of experimentation. Traditional rules are being thrown out and trends are being fused, sparked by architectural influences.

High-tech is mixing

Larger furnishings create a spectacular look.
Larger furnishings create a spectacular look.

with the past and fashion has definitely entered the building with influence from the runways.

The fun and bright colours of the 1960s and 1970s will also be big and there’s opulence in gold, metallic finishes, reflective surfaces, over scaled lighting and over the top furniture.

I’ve been to trade fairs in Paris and Madrid recently, which provided me with a magnificent source of information and inspiration.

At Intergift in Madrid, some 2,000 companies exhibited in 12 halls, which incorporated two new sectors of textile design for top international companies to display their latest collections and exclusive brand names.

This year, the focus was

Brighten your kitchen with bold colours.
Brighten your kitchen with bold colours.

on innovation and avant-garde elegance.

There was a whole hall with an exhibit entitled Atmosphere, filled with vintage objects, which proved anything goes if it fulfils its functional role and you know how to mix and match.

There was also a Decorative Elements area filled with everything from maritime motifs, lamps, rugs, flowers and sculptures to provide distinct finishing touches.

Maison & Objet in Paris is one of the most influential interior design trade shows attended by buyers worldwide.

This year, the show had more than 3,000 exhibitors covering a wide range of home accessories from furniture, textiles to lighting and stationery.

One of the themes was the use of damask printing on a wide range of goods, together with a strong trend in black and white co-ordinated accessories from bed linens to accent

Get that edgy look with distinctive colours.
Get that edgy look with distinctive colours.


Bold colours and prints were in abundance with an “Ethnic Chic” centre and featured a snapshot of life with holiday home décor from the beaches of Normandy to the hills of Provence.

We are seeing more relaxed layouts, especially in holiday homes, combined bedroom bathrooms with glass and a more architectural approach to furnishings and a rising interest in metal furniture, geometric prints and coloured glassware.


Look for fewer but bigger furnishings to create a spectacular look. It’s an architectural trick to accentuate the space itself.

Oversized pieces can create a very strong visual impact and almost Alice in Wonderland effect.

In her book, Kelly Hoppen, the interior designer known for a strict symmetrical approach says: “I’ve started to use oversized pieces

Wallpaper prints are making a comeback.
Wallpaper prints are making a comeback.

in vivid colours to act as focal points. It adds great interest”.


We’re seeing a new twist to traditional pieces such as the chandelier.

Most people think of shiny brass multi-arms with faux candle sockets and flame-shaped bulbs but designers have started to embrace and develop the chandelier.

More over sized and modern versions are being used to provide visually arresting rooms.

We’re defiantly becoming more aware of textures in everything around us and designers are going for sensory realisation in spaces.

Floors and hard surfaces feel more real. Wood is rougher and oiled or soaped, not lacquered.

Marble, stone and tiles are becoming much more tactile.


Sparkling materials and fabrics are de rigueur this year.

Lustrous, luminous materials and surfaces are everywhere along with precious metal fabrics.

I’ve seen metallic finishes on everything from leather to chain-mail curtains and metallic leaf wall coverings.

There is also a trend of jewellery for your furniture, such as placing a metal cabochon at the top of a pleat or a crystal or pearl button on upholstered pieces, to create a one-of-a-kind signature look to personalise items and bring in unique, distinctive elements.

Going gold

We’ve gone through a period where minimalism was everywhere.

It’s still valid and it’s still out there but we’re seeing a rebirth of decoration.

People are embracing texture, material and detail, and styles are definitely more ornate.

Fur is everywhere.

Everything was silver but gold is back. Now it’s gold hardware on doors, gold finials, and gold in fabrics and on walls.

You can use this in a variety of styles from elegantly understated to over the top lushness, from the sensuous to the streamlined.

Great textured golds and coppers add depth and character rather than the previous fashion of everything chrome.

Be bold

Bold geometric prints are gracing fabrics, wall surfaces and even furniture.

Patent leather, which recently celebrated a comeback on the fashion catwalks, is starting to appear for homes.

Glamour remains the goal with a hint of nostalgia from the 1960s and 1970s and a fresh injection of fun.

Think black-and-white with splashes of orange, bold upholstery prints and velvets in strong, medieval colours.

There’s nothing timid about this new, edgier look with colours such as electric blue and tangerine also being used.

Although black and white will still be big, brightly coloured lacquers will provide strong contrast.

There’s a move towards more colour and more patterns.

In Paris, monochromatic patterns were used as backdrops and contrasted with bright braver vibrant colours.

Pop art is also an influence that adds something reminiscent of Warhol graphics.

Bright yellow is fashionable on the high street this season and will become big in interiors for the first time since the 1970s, starting as an accent and becoming a dominant colour.

For more advice on this year’s trends and colours, consult interior designers with experience.

They can provide you with guidance on the latest styles and can ensure designs suit you, and are practical, comfortable and not too whimsical.

For more information, please contact Teresa Azevedo Coutinho on 262 909 822 or email [email protected]