Trends: the art of understatement

Shops, of course, want you to but things, but they’ve got to tread carefully when it comes to looking all sensitive about our new age of austerity. So they’re tapping in to our desire to go back to basics, and reconnect with things that are natural, handmade, and, so the argument goes, somehow more authentic and resonant. John Lewis has named this trend ‘Puritan’ and it’s about right – a bit austere, simple shapes, free of too much decorative fuss, lots of natural materials (stone, wood, linen, rope), in muted colours such as taupe and washed-out blue. Brands such as Toast have been doing this kind of thing for ages (and Conran for much longer, since all that stripped-pine-French-farmhouse-rustic-chic came in in the ’60s), but now there’s slouchy linen bedlinen, drippily glazed earthenware and rough-hewn wood all over. It’s all very soothing and gentle. Of course, you could go the other way in times of austerity and embrace the trend for eyeball-screaming neon, as I will be. It’s up to you. I can’t deny that these things are very easy on the eye though, and thanks to the subtle colours, really easy to mix together as well:

Clockwise from top left: Zena rattan shade, £24,98, B&Q; Lazy Linen bedlinen, £205 for a set (2xpillowcases, duvet cover, sheet), The Sleep Room; Eve cup and Saucer, £22.50, Toast; Puritan stoneware jug, £30, John Lewis; horn salad servers, £38, Summerill & Bishop; Baltic cushion, £20, Casa Couture by House of Fraser (coming soon!); Leroy stool, £49.99, Zara Home; Carved dish, £29, and salt bowl/spoon, £15, Plümo



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