For our industry the current economic turmoil is “a very, very good thing”, interior design guru Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen reassured his audience at last week’s Housewares Conference.
By way of explanation, he recalled that while the Changing Rooms makeover television series in which he starred was all about giving rooms a real identity, today’s shows are about making money out of property. And because estate agents recommend that property developers stick with neutral décor, everyone is painting their homes beige – even if they do not like it.
“But the good news is that that isn’t working,” Llewelyn-Bowen said, referring to the slowing property market, “and people are looking at improving rather than moving. The outside world at the moment is very scary, so the home cocoon is increasingly important.
“The big trend for the next 18 months to two years is a market that’s prepared to try new ideas again,” he predicted. “It needs to be backed by a real commitment to ideas that are exciting: we need sexy stuff. People want things that tell a story and reflect a personality.”
He said the market should be telling consumers what they should be doing in their homes. “And the cookshop has to move on and feel a bit more sensual,” he urged. “The kitchen has become the most important room in the house; it’s less about science and more about emotion.”
The new psychology was leading to looks that were more feminine, opulent, indulgent, romantic and not constrained within ideas of “modernity”, he said. People are enjoying pattern again, “and metallic is inescapable. Gold is everywhere – over the next two years tables will start dripping with gold again.
“People want to be a lot more spoilt with what they surround themselves with.”
The Housewares Conference was organised by HousewaresLive.net and Housewares Magazine, whose April issue has the full report.