Homeowners will be looking for a more sustainable approach to materials and colours inspired by nature, says Henfield interior designer

Great British Life: Henfield interiors expert Emma Vans Agnew predicts that block prints will continue to rise in popularity for 2021. Photo: James FrenchHenfield interiors expert Emma Vans Agnew predicts that block prints will continue to rise in popularity for 2021. Photo: James French (Image: Archant)

As we settle into shorter autumn days and the prospect of a season spent mostly indoors, it is scarcely surprising that thoughts are turning once more to our homes – how we use them and what we put in them.

Sussex Life spoke to Emma Vans Agnew, of F&P Interiors in Henfield, to get her top tips on how to future-proof your home improvements, and how to nail next year’s trends. “With people spending more time at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the increased likelihood of more home-working in the future, people recognise the need to invest more in their interiors and surroundings,” says Emma.

“Lockdown has made people realise that their homes need to be havens for relaxation and enjoyment so when they finish work, they have areas where they can unwind which are really comfortable. We will see an increased investment in domestic entertainment technology, such as a cinema TV and wireless audio products, as people learn to entertain themselves without going out.

“People have started to cook much more at home and so investment in the kitchen and cooking gadgets, such as bread and pasta-makers, will continue apace.”

Great British Life: Block prints will continue to rise in popularity for 2021, predicts Henfield interiors expert Emma Vans Agnew. Photo: GP & J BakerBlock prints will continue to rise in popularity for 2021, predicts Henfield interiors expert Emma Vans Agnew. Photo: GP & J Baker (Image: Archant)

Emma also predicts that the huge resurgence of interest in gardening will continue, with more homeowners investing in design and outdoor furniture to make their green space into an extra room, with more time spent living and dining in the garden – British weather allowing. “We have seen a huge growth in beautiful outdoor fabrics, mainly from the US and European design houses, and customers will want to use these to make their outdoor spaces really comfortable and attractive. Think about large cushions to lie on while reading a book or a banquette cushion for your garden bench. It will make all the difference.”

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Great British Life: Emma Vans Agnew of F&P Interiors, HenfieldEmma Vans Agnew of F&P Interiors, Henfield (Image: Archant)

Perhaps due to the renewed focus on nature brought about by life in lockdown, Emma predicts that green will be one of the most popular colours for interiors next year. “We’re seeing leaf designs in both fabrics and wallpapers. Rich emerald greens, bright - almost turquoise - greens, grass greens - they are all being mixed together to create a striking palette.”

There is a growing demand for sustainability in interiors, echoing the direction the fashion industry has taken in recent years. “Next year I expect to see more decorating using natural fabrics being made from hemp, and recycled fibres,” says Emma. “We already see rugs made of recycled plastic bottles and this trend will continue.”

She also believes that the slower pace of life brought about by the pandemic will bring about a more patient, longer-term approach to decorating the home. “This translates into changing their furnishings less frequently, being led by fashion less, and buying better quality products that will last.” With this in mind, it may be less a case of radical renovations and more fine-tuning and evolving our interiors. “I always tell clients that once we have completed our work, they need to bring their own character into their rooms. By adding art, rugs and cushions you can add your own personal style. Lampshades are a good place to add colour and we are seeing more demand for bespoke fabric lampshades using beautiful fabrics which can be plain or pleated.”

And if you want to make a big splash on a limited budget? “Depending on the size and layout of the home, redecorating your entrance hall can set the tone of the whole place,” says Emma. “This could be a wall of stunning wallpaper, or painting it in a distinctive colour – something uplifting to welcome you home. There has been a huge growth in wall art, which can be printed to the size of your wall and be contemporary or classic. This could be a very creative way to capture your personality.”

Good to know

F&P Interiors celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. It was founded by Emma Vans Agnew who was trained at Colefax and Fowler in London where she worked on design projects for a range of prestigious clients including film stars and the aristocracy.

The company is now based in a converted barn near Henfield complete with a large showroom. The product range has been extended to include bespoke furniture, lighting and rugs and it includes a made-to-measure curtains and soft furnishings service with all the work done in in Sussex.

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