2016 has been the year of pattern. We have seen it on tiles and on carpets (see the new Liberty collection from Alternative Flooring) and it’s coming to a large piece of furniture near you. This year it’s about using pattern in unexpected ways. So it’s not about cushions and curtains which are the old – safe – ways of bringing interest into a room but about putting it in unexpected places where it has much more impact.
Regular readers will know that I have long advocated the use of patterned tiles in kitchens. When everyone has the same white kitchen units and wooden worktops, patterned tiles will bring in some of your personality and soften all those hard lines. It’s the same in bathrooms, where you can also use wallpaper to great effect.
Now we’re moving away from simply using cushions to spice up a plain sofa and being bolder with our fabric choices. Which brings me to this black and white patterned chair. We have a chair in the bay window that desperately needs recovering and I’m looking for some patterned fabric in which to do it. We have a plain (grey – need you ask) sofa and a dark pink chaise longue. I think the chair needs to be patterned to both lighten the space and bring something interesting and unexpected to the space.
Note also how this chair, from Happy and Co, is a fairly traditional shape but by using a non-traditional cover it looks fresh and modern. If you have an old antique chair that needs recovering, do think about “punking” it up a bit with some unusual material.
Happy and Co is a new discovery for me and, in addition to the great chairs, they also have lots of bedding and table linen. It’s all black and white in different patterns so you can mix and match it all, which is perfect when it comes to pillow cases because frankly, life is too short to be matching bedlinen. If, like us, your sheets are a variety of white then it’s a) a great way to bring in a hint of pattern (if not, in this case, much colour) and b) to save time between washing line and linen cupboard.
But there’s another reason to buy from this company. Two years ago the founder, Gary Elton, set up a farm in Cambodia after looking for ways to create employment for young people – in particular the children of rice growers. That farm now sells chemical-free fruit and vegetables to the community and employs over 40 people.
Now, every time you buy something, 10 per cent of the profit goes back to the farm and, as Gary says: “It’s early days but we hope that cushion by cushion, vegetable by vegetable, we can have a positive effect on the lives of people less fortunate than ourselves.”
And if the thought of that doesn’t make you sleep better on your black and white patterned pillowcases then I don’t know what will. The farm has already helped a former tuk tuk driver qualify as a chef, a young girl, who was looking after her elderly parents, become a teacher and a hotel doorman complete a business degree. He is now the manager of the farm.
Go forth and buy pillow cases people. This is shopping that will really give you a warm glow. I’m wondering if I need someone to accidentally, and irreparably, break my chair so I can have a new one…