The Block’sÂ Neale Whitaker certainly knows a thing or two about styling a room. We talk to the designer to find out how to elevate a space in 2020.Â
Interior designer and Luxaflex Brand Ambassador Neale Whitaker was a recent attendee at one of the industry’s most notable events, Maison & Objet, Paris.
From big-picture trends shaking up the industry, to new thinking on sustainability, Whitaker shares all the insider tips and trends emerging in the interior design world.
Macro and micro trends
â€śI approach trends as macro and micro,â€ť says Whitaker. â€śMacro are those around for extended periods of time, with no view of going anywhere anytime soon, like sustainability.”
Micro trends can come and go more quickly, he explains. “Bricolage would fall under micro trends, as would other current themes like artisan-made, natural fibres including rattan, jute and wicker, and global-nomad with influences of the Middle East and Asia.â€ť
Make it about you
When it comes to styling, Whitaker’s first piece of advice is to make your home your own, and don’t feel pressure to fit into certain trends.
“When it comes to the home, itâ€™s always good to know what the trends are and why they are, but I do believe your home is all about you.”Â
Start with a feeling
One key question to ask yourself when styling a space is, how does it make you feel?
â€śItâ€™s easy to open a catalogue and simply pick out a theme to replicate, but if your space doesnâ€™t suit that theme, it simply wonâ€™t feel right,” explains Whitaker. “Your home is yours, so make it your own.”
Mix and match
Part of personalising a space is picking the trends and styles you like the most.
“Merge trends, and donâ€™t be afraid to mix and match styles within your room,â€ť says Whitaker.
Neale suggests you go slowly and take confidence in your own taste and style.Â
Know how to work with neutral
Lots of today’s interior design trends are quite neutral, which means they can be easily added into existing decor themes.
“Like the inclusion of a rattan-backed chair, or a group of ceramic vessels, similar in shape or colours,” he says. “My favourite interiors are always the ones that blend different styles, different tones, different periods, different colours.â€ť
Embrace natural light
By maximising natural light, you can open up spaces in new ways. This can instantly elevate a mood and have a big impact on the way a room looks and feels.
â€śThe LuxaflexÂ® LumiShadeÂ® is a great option in terms of a classic window covering, combining the versatility of a vertical blind with the elegant appeal of a soft window furnishing,” he says. “This lets light in whilst balancing style, durability and practicality, he says.â€ť
Add warmth with the right tones
A bright room with lots of light is the perfect starting point to creating warmth in a home, explains Whitaker.Â
Shading with a soft finish can blend to “create a warm light that allows for privacy without compromising on the warmth of the natural outdoor light.”
Use layering for extra comfort
Soft rugs and furnishings can create a wonderful feeling for warmth and elevate a space.
Play around with different decorative items, like art, photographs, mementos and books to add a personal touch.
“The things that tell your story will add depth and turn a house into a home,” says Whitaker.
Get smart about technology
Designing rooms that are future-ready means embracing all the ways technology and design work together, says Whitaker.
â€śThere will be a growing emphasis on sustainability, incorporating products into your home that contribute to energy efficiency and regulate home temperatures,â€ť he says.
Don’t be afraid to break some rules
Whitaker’s final piece of advice is to trust your instincts, even if that means breaking some interior design rules.
“I’m a great believer in creating homes with spirit, soul and individuality, and that, to me, is as important as comfort and functionality,” he says.
“Don’t be afraid to mix things up a little and remember that things you love are more important than things that are on trend.”