New Year, New Hue

New Year, New Hue

Image credit: Coincasa (

If you’re reading this you’ve survived Christmas, well done. As you might be in the midst of shooing away the relatives, packing up all the cardboard or just wondering where the time has gone, we thought we’d give you a nice distraction. In keeping with our current focus on home decor trends, we’ve picked some of 2019’s popular trends, then taken a look at what to expect next year. Yes, 2020 (deep breath!).


This lifestyle and design trend, which celebrates our relationship with nature, took hold in 2018/2019. Plants, wildlife and organic motifs flooded the interiors market, graced our window sills and enlivened our schemes through wallpaper and fabric. Oversized tropical greenery and jungle motifs were prolific, as were the historic and quintessential floral patterns of William Morris & Co. Natural materials such as wood, stone and plant weaves were favoured, as were traditionally crafted and handmade finishes. Deep, luxurious greens dominated colour palettes in home decor and accessories.

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Biophilia 2

This trend is ramping up a gear, particularly in reaction to our pace of life and the predominance of technology. ‘Biophilic design’ incorporates the positive physical and mental effects of biophilia, as well as its environmental and economic benefits. Look out for ‘living walls’ (we’ll be looking into these in more detail next year). The bolder, jungle motifs of 2019 will be toned down slightly to more delicate organic motifs and replications of natural textures in printed furnishings. Earthy and moody greens, and tropical imagery, will still be as popular as ever. 

Natural, sustainable materials remain on trend, particularly rattan and wicker furniture, as well as creative use of found materials. The ‘home as sanctuary’ concept will see soft and soothing textures and decorative finishes (think tassels and fringes!), in muted tones. Natural fibres such as cotton, linen and wool (sheep and alpaca) will feature within the sustainability dialogue.

Organic shapes will extend to accessories such as lighting and furniture. Curvacious furniture and fluid silhouettes will prevail in 2020, moving on from the defined shapes of the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic, popular in recent years. 

Japanese design, particularly its principles of purity and use of natural materials, will feature, as well as beautiful Japanese patterns (our team are very happy about this one!). 


Ward Robinson

Image Credit: Ward Robinson

Letting the outside in

Related to Biophilia, the concept of ‘letting the outside in’ permeated both decor and architectural trends in 2018/19. This included structural solutions to letting light into your home and blending inside and outside, such as bifolds, conservatories and glazed walls. This idea extended to earthy colour schemes, with indoor plants, nature-inspired patterns and natural materials dominating.

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Opening the inside out | Function over formal

Taking space creation and maximising light into 2020, structural glazing will continue to feature. However, 2020’s trends will encourage formal separation of spaces and multifunctional rooms. Open plan living will include absorbing single-use rooms, such as formal dining rooms, into larger, multi-functional spaces or converting them into functional storage spaces.

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Copper Age

Copper accents were popular in 2018/19 alongside more feminine colour palettes (think blush/dusty/Millennial pinks) and textures. Brass, rose gold and mixed metal features were popular as accents throughout maximalist, moody interiors.

Bronze Age

Bronze accents and hardware will take over from copper and brass in 2020. Bronze is a timeless and versatile metal, which will dominate furniture components from doors and windows to kitchen cabinetry and bathroom accessories.

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Cool neutrals, pale monochrome and every shade of grey

Neutral palettes remained cool in 2019, with grey undertones dominating. Grey itself reached its height of popularity and different hues were often layered through wall colour, furniture and accessories. Monochramatic palettes were grey, white or pale neutral. This bought into the beginnings of ‘home as sanctuary’ but risked a lack of personality.

Warm neutrals, bright and bold monochrome, and less grey!

Warmer naturals will predominate in 2020, coordinated with vivid accent colours against a foundation of stark shades of white. Bold, adventurous colours such as cobalt (in keeping with Pantone’s 2020 Colour of the Year, Classic Blue), deep greens again and other rich, earthy tones will feature in both monochrome and multicolour palettes. Both front and internal doors will appear in similarly rich and vivid colours, as well as architrave, skirting and trim.

Lene Bjerre

Image Credit: Lene Bjerre

Feature walls and statement furniture pieces

Walls in bold, statement wallpaper or a standout colour were popular this year, a safe and restrained way of breaking up a more neutral palette with vivid colour and pattern. Similarly, statement upholstered pieces (jewel tones were popular, in velvet or chintzy fabric) were a popular way of adding interest to a space.

Feature frenzy and all out layering

Single-colour spaces will be trending in 2020. This will include a single colour extending from the walls to the ceiling, a uniform base for adding interest with furnishings and accessories. Textural finishes will also blanket spaces. 

Similarly to single-colour paint schemes, bold wallpaper on every wall of a room will feature, as will single-print schemes, where printed fabrics and wallpaper with matching patterns layer a space for a riot of personality.


Lime Lace

Image Credit: Lime Lace

Trends come and go quickly but a lot of time they hang on, subtly evolving into something stronger or paired back. The central theme this year and next is our connection to nature: an important one, in a world overrun with unnatural phenomena. It’s nice to think, as we look ahead to next year, that we’ll have opportunities to step back and slow down a bit. We’re not sure we’ll be trying single-print schemes, but a row of healthy succulents sounds like a good place to start. 

So what was your favourite trend this year and are you already planning a trendy refurb in 2020?

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Biophilic design: space, light and outdoor living

Biophilic design: space, light and outdoor living

Image credit: Home Designing

You may have heard the term ‘Biophilic Design’. Or perhaps ‘bringing the outside in’, an on trend – and perhaps overused – design phrase.

But each expression refers to more than opening the curtains and reviving that pot plant. We’re talking about biophilia, an important concept within residential design and one which has your wellbeing in mind. We’re talking about creating space, introducing light and blending your interior and outdoor spaces.

In this edition of our fortnightly blog, we guide you through the leafy world of Biophilic Design. We look at some accessible home improvements you can make (under Permitted Development) to give you more space and light. And we compare three main door systems falling under biophilic home improvements, so you can decide what’s right for your home.

What is Biophilic Design?

We introduced this architectural and design concept in our most recent blog. It’s founded on our intuitive attraction to nature, its processes and imagery. Biophilic Design also draws on the physical and mental health benefits associated with the natural environment.

That natural light is good for us is well documented. It helps us absorb vitamin D, improves cognitive function and other holistic bodily health benefits including disease prevention, improves our sleep and mental health.

Biophilic Design introduces natural light, and those qualities of nature which improve our experience of the world, into our built environment. Space, access to greenery and views of the outside are all facilitated by Biophilic Design. Connecting your interior space to nature in this way engenders calm, healing, creativity and reduces stress in our fast-paced, urbanised world.

Habitus Living via The Local Project

Image credit: Habitus Living via The Local Project

Applying Biophilic Design to your home (without planning permission)

A variety of accessible home improvement options fall under Permitted Development. Start here and you could be creating space and light in your home – and adding to its value – without formal, lengthy planning permission.

(Check for any special conditions attached to your property, e.g. listed properties, or restrictions within green belt and Areas of Natural Beauty. We’ll be covering this topic in February).

Internal remodelling

If your plans don’t extend the overall footprint of your property then an internal remodel is a great place to start. Use your living space efficiently – and create more – with an open plan living area. If budget allows, try integrating smaller, little used rooms into one blended space. Introducing more light may be as simple as redesigning/restyling your windows and doors.

When designing your remodel , why not think big and consider glazed walls and door systems, giving natural light and unobstructed views. Beautiful all year, glazing comes into its own during Spring and Summer, when doors can remain open and your interior and exterior are completely blended. Al fresco dining anyone?

Anthony Greenwood via Homebuilding & Renovating

Image credit: Anthony Greenwood via Homebuilding & Renovating

Use doors to open up spaces, not close them

If you want doors which merge inside and outside, and allow uninterrupted views of your outdoor space, there are three mainstream options available to you: aluminium bifolds, French doors and sliding patio doors.

Below is a comparison of the three, with some useful points to consider when choosing which door is best for your space.

Aluminium bifold doors

Aluminium bifold doors are a flexible, durable design favourite. Their visually pleasing stacking formation, sleek profile and low threshold marry style with expansive, uninterrupted views.

When open, aluminium bifolds facilitate an entirely open space, with unrestricted access outside and in. With a flush threshold, incorporating both cill and track, inside and outside blend seamlessly.

Flexible configurations allow up to 8 doors, including one traffic door (which operates as a standard hinged door). Doors can stack inside or outside, to the left or right, depending on your available space. You can also opt for a middle opening, with a combination of doors on each side.

When considering aluminium bifold doors, think about your use of space around the door and what, if any, you can lose to stacked bifolds.

Plus Rooms

Image credit: Plus Rooms

French doors

A traditional but timeless look, French doors are a versatile solution for today’s homes. You have flexibility when configuring your French doors. Depending on your use of space your doors can be configured to open inwards or outwards. The ‘master’ or main traffic door can be installed on the left or the right, again depending on how you plan to use your space.

French doors are available in uPVC, aluminium or as composite doors and come in a range of attractive colours. Glass designs and attractive door furniture will tie your doors into your overall interior scheme.

If your aperture permits, opt for fully glazed sidelights to enjoy a larger, unobstructed view and greater sense of space.

As with bifold doors, consider the loss of space when the doors are open and secured, inside or out, and make sure it works for you.


Image credit: Solidor

Sliding patio doors

Sliding patio doors are a popular and accessible choice. Although a familiar look, with the right  execution, sliding doors can transform and even modernise your space.

As the fully glazed door slides along a track, sliding patio doors are a popular space-saving alternative to French doors. As one pane of glass is fixed, the opening for traffic is limited to the sliding half.

uPVC and aluminium frame systems are a low maintenance, durable and thermally efficient solution. uPVC frames are available in a range of colours and finishes, and aluminium can be powder coated to almost any RAL.

Futurist Architect

Image credit: Futurist Architect

Claim back the outside

If you don’t have views or an outdoor space giving you scope to extend, there are other ways of bringing the outside in.

Courtyards and interior gardens

A clever way of introducing natural light, fresh air and a sense of space is by building a courtyard or indoor garden into your remodel. This may be possible when integrating smaller, little used rooms into an open plan living space and is especially attractive when fully glazed.


Second story balconies are a perfect example of claiming back outdoor space to enjoy expansive views. (Check the guidelines around permitted elevations).

Roof lights and lanterns

If extending or remodelling isn’t an option, consider installing roof lights or on a bigger scale, roof lanterns. The sense of connection to the sky engenders a true sense of space and of course, your interior will be flooded with natural light.

For all of these options, please check the guidelines for Permitted Development for any caveat affecting your property, the location of the proposed improvement and any specific materials required:

Barlow & Barlow via House & Garden

Image credit: Barlow & Barlow via House & Garden

Living interiors

If you’re not ready for knocking down walls -and fair enough – you can bring the outside in without costly and disruptive works.

Connect your home with the natural world through furnishings, materials and indoor greenery. The Biophilia trend in interiors really took hold last year and in 2020 is set to evolve into even more nature-focussed and mindful living.

Organic shapes and natural motifs, from delicate florals to bold and outlandish jungle greenery, proliferate across interior textiles, wall coverings and accessories. Sustainability, product origins and physical interactions with natural materials are at the forefront of interior and product design.

Repeating colours and natural materials appearing outside your home within your interior is a creative way of blending the two.

One trend continuing into 2020 is lush, indoor foliage and succulents and ‘living walls’ (we’re excited about this one). Living walls range from large scale, ‘other worldly’ installations to inventive vertical gardens and interior wall fixtures, perfect for homes with little to no outdoor space.

Indoor plants improve air quality and circulation, no matter how small, and connect us with the outdoors at all times of the day. Given several of us have black thumbs, we’re excited about the fighting chance of an indoor garden that succulents give us. We might even try a living wall.

Country Living

Image credit: Country Living

A small point about value

There’s no doubt that extending your home – or remodelling the interior to improve space and introduce light – adds value. This is always good to know, obviously if you’re  planning to sell.

But for this topic we’ve focussed on value of a non-monetary kind, those rewarding qualities which exist outside our doors and we don’t get enough of in our urban spaces.

During these early months of 2020, why not start thinking of changes you can make to your home which enrich your lifestyle in this way. Oh and that bring the outside in.

Check out our range of bifolds, French doors and sliding doors here!

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A better lifestyle: live the dream with open plan and conservatories

A better lifestyle: live the dream with open plan and conservatories

Image credit: Decoratrend
A better lifestyle: a goal that tops many wish lists, particularly at this time of year. (We’ve certainly been staring out the window, wishing we were working from our fantasy beach house).
But for those of us still dreaming about that 3 day work week, sometimes a better lifestyle starts at home. Now we’re the first to admit that home improvements aren’t going to get you a better work life balance, for example. (They’ll probably add to your workload in the short term …). But what they can do is give you space, better means to interact with your family and better access to the outside.

For this post we’re building on those home improvements outlined in our last post, Biophilia. We focus on how you can achieve a better lifestyle through open plan home design, conservatories and advanced conservatory roof technology. Again, these improvements are usually possible within Permitted Development.

David Still via Ideal Home

Image credit: David Still via Ideal Home
Don’t move, improve

The current UK property market is unpredictable and the trend is very much to stay put. But even moderate home improvements – those which impact our use of space and how it makes us feel – mean families can enjoy lifestyle changes otherwise achieved by a house move.

On the financial side, adding or creating attractive, functional spaces – particularly those which facilitate open plan living – can increase the value of your home.

According to Resi, a single-story extension could add up to £40k to your property value and a conservatory, £25k (based on the UK average house price). A wraparound or side extension, up to £50k.

Open plan living areas, particularly kitchens, are at a premium. According to Which?, depending on your project and location an open plan kitchen diner could add 6% to your property value (The Telegraph).

Such considerable increases give you flexibility in the future and positive lifestyle changes in the meantime. They’ll certainly make a dent in that beach house deposit.

Adam Crohill via Rock My Style

Image credit: Adam Crohill via Rock My Style

Open plan: contemporary spaces for contemporary living

Home design has evolved to accommodate modern lifestyles and connectivity with outside spaces. Accordingly, architects and interior designers have revised dated internal layouts, with separate formal rooms, halls and corridors. Current and future trends involve open plan, modern spaces with contemporary needs in mind.

According to research carried out by Resi, over 6 million households in the UK incorporate an open plan living space. Open plan design answers the functional and emotive needs of contemporary living. It provides convenience, space and enhanced sociability, which all contribute to emotional wellbeing. For example, an “LDK” (living room – dining room – kitchen) combines these three functions and facilitates greater social interaction, when nowadays quality family time is so hard-fought. And in more good news, you don’t need to increase your overall footprint to enjoy the benefits.

In terms of layout and functionality there’s one overriding goal: everyone together, sometimes pursuing different interests but in a shared space. Think supervising the kids while you’re cooking, entertaining friends in a breezy kitchen-to-garden spatial flow, or handing out homework tips from the hearth.

Image credit: David Wooley via Real Homes

Image credit: David Wooley via Real Homes

Layout and spacial flow is key, as well as an adaptable design to accommodate zoned areas or private spaces, reserved for specific functions.

When planning your remodel, look at connecting rooms and consider whether their function can be incorporated into the blended whole. The type of walls you plan to remove – partition or supporting – will of course affect the ease and cost of the project. Fewer rooms and blended spaces with uninhibited sight lines create a material and uplifting sense of space and light.

Peter Landers via Home World Design

Image credit: Peter Landers via Home World Design


Image Credit: Decoratrend

Interior decoration plays a key role in open plan living. Repeating colour palettes, finishes and flooring provides a visual connection and enhances the blended, spacial flow. Removing barriers and repeating decorative effects creates through-views, drawing the eye through the space and out.

When designing zoned areas – this approach is often called “broken plan” – consider glazed partitions, a beautiful and adaptable boundary allowing for light and unbroken sight lines. Play around with the decoration so each zone looks and feels distinctive but works as part of the unified whole.

Pere Peris via Planete Deco

Image credit: Pere Peris via Planete Deco


Conservatories are a great way to create space, introduce natural light and views of the outside, within the flexible scope of Permitted Development.

Base work for a conservatory is less involved than building footings for a full extension, and is usually completed in a fraction of the time. You may already have the necessary foundations there. Frame and roof fabrication conveniently takes place off-site and installation is often completed within a working week. Disruption is kept to a minimum and, taking into account labour and materials, conservatories come with a smaller price tag compared to bricks-and-mortar extensions.


Image credit: Ultraframe

As with open plan design, layout and position according to your individual needs is key. Modern conservatories have a flexibility of style and configuration to suit your property. Wide door apertures allow for function doors such as bi-folds, sliding and French doors.

A sensible solution then, considering the natural light, space and seamless access to the outdoors conservatories provide. And one which lends itself perfectly to biophilia and our growing awareness that these things are crucial to our wellbeing.

When decorating, create a blended space by repeating your scheme overall scheme in your conservatory, perhaps with some small variations to create a zoned area.

Ultraframe Bifolds

Image credit: Ultraframe

Conservatory technology and roof replacement

Many conservatory owners find that their once ideal solution is now simply not useable for at least 6 months of the year. If that’s you, you might be avoiding your conservatory completely in winter, or baking cakes in it in summer. It might be a storage area for old exercise equipment, abandoned toys or faded furniture.

Basically, it’s not a year round living space. Most of the time, problems with temperature or noise are caused by the roof. Perhaps underperforming glass or polycarbonate, or frames in need of replacing.

The good news is you don’t have to replace your whole conservatory. Conservatory roof technology has advanced significantly and products such as Guardian Warm Roof and Ultraframe rare an effective means of reclaiming your conservatory.


Image credit: Guardian Roof

High performance glazing or fully insulated, tiled roof options provide a thermal performance which can outperform your home. So if the crazy weather continues, you might be contending with the next arctic blast or roasting summer in the comfort of your conservatory. (Although a roasting summer sounds quite pleasant at the moment …).

Again, these solutions involve minimal disruption. In some cases, particularly with Guardian Warm Roof, installation can take as little as 5 working days.

As with modern conservatories, flexibility of materials and finishes help blend your new conservatory roof/a Guardian roof seamlessly with the interior and exterior of your home,  with internal finishes including  smooth plaster and striking modern lighting solutions.


Image credit: Guardian Roof

We all try to tailor our home and work life balance to support our individual needs. But taking into account the research and commentary – and putting aside material like money and possessions – it’s the qualitative benefits topping the wish list: time with family, space to relax and make your own and access to the outdoors.

Making these changes at home could involve as little as rearranging the furniture, knocking down a stud wall or reclaiming spaces which aren’t making your life better.

Darren Chung via Real Homes

Darren Chung via Real Homes

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    Katie Lee via Real Homes

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  • Yellow Cloud Studio via Homebuilding & Renovating

    Yellow Cloud Studio via Homebuilding & Renovating

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