Designers are never shy of borrowing from other cultures to furnish our homes. Recent trends have included everything from Moroccan style to a Japanese aesthetic. One area that has been out of favour for a while however is India, but this spring and summer that is all set to change. The warming, vibrant colours and beautiful decorative detail of Indian design is making a reappearance on the high-street. It’s the perfect trend to add a sultry summer feel to your home even while the skies are still grey. And if you were there for the first time around and the whole idea conjures up images of tatty bedspreads nailed to the ceilings of student bedsits then think again – this time the trend is more old meets new India with delightfully modern results.
Paisley prints are all over the high street this spring, creating an ideal gateway into the Indian trend. This classic fabric is an example of East meeting West as its name comes from the Scottish town in which so much of this fabric was originally woven. No need to fear that this is a look for old hippies only – this time around the colours of the paisley prints are soft and subtle, including pistachio greens and dusty pinks, making them a perfect partner to your pale linen sofa and tastefully neutral walls.
A new book by photographer Henry Wilson has just been released called Floral Patterns of India – and it couldn’t be more timely. It explores the wonderfully rich heritage of floral patterns that have been central to design in India for centuries. The book shows that the odd pattern clash is not to be feared! Borders in one print sit next to murals or another and each layer adds to the depth and drama of the scheme. Here this trend is reflected in the re-emergence of wallpaper friezes and borders. Last seen being painted over by your mum at the end of the 1980s, the wallpaper border is once again in fashion – a great way to add elegant detailing around the top edge of a room, for example, and perfectly at home with the new bolder wall colours that are coming in.
Colour and paper
Hot, spicy colours are the obvious reference point for an India trend, and certainly the warm yellows, oranges and pinks that top the paint-trend lists for 2016 are a great way to achieve this. However the other big colour for 2016 – a rich, bright, jewel-like blue – is also ideal. If you dare go a step bolder then embrace the richness of colour with wallpaper. Wallpaper is key to the story of design in India. At the point at which India came under British rule the traffic of design ideas between India and Europe went both ways, with British companies commissioning wallpaper designs based on authentic Indian patterns, and the well-to-do in India shipping over classic English floral prints for their homes. Today probably the best selection of India-inspired wallpaper is to be found at Osborne & Little, for whom Henry Wilson designed the Sariska collection.
As ususal, you can also add just the slightest touch of this trend to bring a bit of fun and life to any room. As well as florals, motifs associated with India are popping up on cushions, bedlinen and lighting, so you can add a hint of spice with no need to redecorate. Indian elephants are the most obvious example, but other exotic animals, straight from the pages of The Jungle Book, are also perfect for adding a twist to your oh-so-English sitting room.
Complete the look: With flush doors in a dark, exotic hardwood like Zebrano.