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The key, he says, is to bring the right amount of current trend touches to a neutral backdrop to create a contemporary blank canvas, all ready to be personalised.
Fran, managing director of Liverpool-based Furnish That Room, has recently completed his latest city centre design assignment – Poet’s Place at the north end of Great Homer Street near Everton Park.
Owners Caro Developments enlisted him to fit out a total of 127 apartments – eight two-bed, 76 one-bed and 43 studios – in the seven-storey parkland block, in keeping with its stylish modern living theme.
“We look at what’s current, keeping it fresh, but with a project like Poet’s Place it’s also important to hit every demographic because they will attract a really wide age range,” he explains.
“People living there can go from their 20s, where it could be their first home, up to semi-retirement where someone has sold up and intends to rent for the rest of their lives, somewhere that’s really convenient for the city centre.
“When we look at furnishings, we never make them specific to one age or gender, we always try and hit right in the middle, so a guy could walk in followed by a girl and they’ll like it equally.”
Fran says it’s important not to rely too heavily on trend statements because they could date really quickly.
“If a customer asked us to put 200 mustard sofas in then we’d probably advise against it because you don’t want to commit to something that will date,” he adds.
“More often than not we’ll go for neutral tones, and then in the last 6-12 months we have been getting asked a lot more for flashes of colour, so not so much in your face but just a pop of colour.
“With Poet’s Place we put in all the main furniture items and extras like table and floor lamps, so every apartment is move-in ready, then the tenants can bring the rest and put their own personal stamp on it.”
As the man that developers, landlords and private owners turn to, here are Fran’s 5 top tips for giving your home a summer trend update …
Bold colours are back in and the use of primary colours against a muted palette will give rooms the wow factor. People can do that with furniture like a coloured armchair, or a statement vase, cushions or artwork. Keep your background neutral, wall covering and carpets, but then just have a flash of colour in a very strong primary colour like a blue or green or mustardy yellow to really lift the room.
Instead of a single block colour you can add a heavily patterned cushion or print on curtains or an artwork. A tropical theme was really popular last year and it still is now, plus you get the bonus of lots of colours which you can then pick out to put accent colours on the walls if you want to.
John Lewis has seen a 400% rise in house plant sales and a lot of that is down to people trying to be a bit more harmonious and wanting the inside areas to blend in with the outside. House plants have a calming effect and if you go into a show apartment you can always tell straight away if they’re missing and as soon as you put one in, you put life into the room.
Textured walls were big in 2020 and that has continued into 2021. Whether it’s 3D tiles or heavily textured wallpapers on one feature wall – they do give an instant ‘touch me’ feel when you see them.
Furniture wise, there’s the ‘Japandi’ trend which is a mix of Japanese and Skandi styles. Rattan style indoor furniture is everywhere at the moment, mainly the drawer fronts in a rattan weave with dark wood or light oak casing. That’s right on trend now.
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